Lovie LeePianist Lovie Lee is best known as a member of Muddy Waters‘ band in its final incarnation, and he won that position as a result of many years relentless gigging around the Chicago club scene. Lovie’s big grin, affable stage presence and huge repertoire made him a popular man in his neighbourhood, while he remained almost unknown outside the city. Born Eddie Lee Watson in Chatanooga TN, ‘Lovie’ ( a family name from childhood) was already in his 40s when he moved to Chicago. He was a versatile, self-taught pianist who played in church, in his parents’ restaurant, for vaudeville shows at the local theatre, and at juke-joints, bars and parties around Meridian MS where he was brought up.

Around 1950, Lovie met the teenage harp player Carey Bell in Meridian MS, and ‘adopted’ the young man, the pair moving to Chicago together in the mid-50s to find work on the South-side club scene. Carey quickly made a reputation as a harp player and began recording and touring with some big names, while Lovie worked a day job and played the clubs in his spare time, like he had always done. He had been doing this for over 20 years when Alligator Records asked him to contribute to their Live Chicago Blues series in 1979. As a result of this record and the contacts he made during the sessions, Lovie was invited to join Muddy Waters’ band in 1980 when Pinetop Perkins left. Lovie enjoyed three good years backing the great man and when Muddy died, Lovie went back to playing the clubs, often working with his ‘God-son’ Carey Bell.
Lovie Lee Discography
There is not much choice here, as this is the only album of Lovie’s solo work, recorded at a series of private sessions.

GOOD CANDY

Lovie was never really recognised outside Chicago, even after he recorded a couple of self-released albums in 1984 and 1989, showing his great voice and solid Blues piano technique. These were edited into ‘Good Candy’ which came out on the Earwig label in 1992, and this remains Lovie’s only major release. He passed away in Chicago in 1997, aged 88. Or was he? There is a story that he sent for a copy of his birth certificate when he arrived in Chicago and needed a Musician’s Union card to work. When it arrived showing his date of birth as 1909, he grinned “I was eight years old when I was born!”

Lovie and Carey Bell perform together on a track from ‘Good Candy’;