Big Daddy Kinsey played a range of Blues that told of his Delta roots and the Golden Age of Chicago Blues, and with the wider influences of his sons in The Kinsey Report, included funky rock and reggae in an act that appealed to Blues fans all over the world.
Lester Kinsey of Pleasant Grove Mississippi was born in 1927 just east of the Delta, and picked up his harp and guitar skills as a youth just listening to the music around him. In 1944 he moved to Gary Indiana to work in the steel mills, but as soon as he was of age, he was drafted.
When he returned to Gary, he got a job then got married and had two sons, Ralph and Donald, and played his Blues at weekends, sometimes singing and playing with local bands. A third son, Kenneth arrived in 1963 and Lester had bred himself a backing band! He appeared with Donald first, billing the kid as BB King Jr. in tribute to his biggest influence, then Big Daddy and his Fabulous Sons when Ralph joined on drums. During the 70s, Big Daddy pursued his Blues agenda while his sons expanded their musical horizons. Donald got a fine schooling in reggae when he toured and recorded with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, two of the genre’s biggest stars, and the boys had a Blues-rock trio called White Lightnin’. When Kenneth proved to be a decent bass player, they teamed up again with Big Daddy as The Kinsey Report, with family friend Ron Prince on harp. The boys were Big Daddy’s backing band on his debut album ‘Bad Situation’ in 1985 but had a career of their own, with the albums ‘Edge of the City’ and ‘Midnight Drive’ combining Blues, reggae, rock and soul in their repertoire, and they released three more albums in the 90s. Big Daddy, meanwhile, recorded probably his best album, ‘Can’t Let Go’ in 1990, again using his boys as a backing band as he played his up-front Chicago style Blues in the manner of Muddy Waters
in front of a hard-rock band.
Big Daddy Kinsey Discography
This album catches Big Daddy and his boys in their prime.
CAN’T LET GO
The follow-up live album ‘I Am the Blues’ with help from Buddy Guy
, James Cotton
and Pinetop Perkins
was a more traditional offering. Big Daddy was by now an established name on the club and Festival circuit, but he recorded only one more album, ‘Ramblin’ Man’ in 1995 before prostate cancer caught up with him in 2001.
Big Daddy in his prime. Wouldn’t you like to have casually dropped into the bar THAT particular night?