Pianist 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.
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!”