A highly influential blues slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk, adapted and refined his technique on the instrument to accompany his mournful vocal style. Elmore James, Muddy Waters, and Earl Hooker are direct musical offspring, and yet, despite his close ties to greatness, Nighthawk spent his musical life in relative obscurity.
Born Robert Lee McCollum on Nov. 30, 1909, in Helena, Arkansas, Robert was raised on a farm. An older musician, harp player Eddie Jones, taught fourteen-year- old Robert to play harmonica circa 1923. During the 1920s, McCullum began the rambling that became his trademark. He ranged across the Delta playing with Will Shade of the Memphis Jug Band in Memphis, and working the Black Cat Drug Store in Hollandale, Mississippi, with William Warren. He played juke joints and fish fries in between.