Roy Gaines was born on 1934 in Waskom, Texas and brought up in Houston. There was music in the family, as his older brother Grady played sax as a session musician for Don Robey‘s Peacock Records, and later joined Little Richard‘s band The Upsetters. Roy started out playing piano, but switched to guitar because he was a big fan of local man T-Bone Walker and his phrasing has never strayed too far from his hero’s groundbreaking single-string style. After a very long spell as a session musician, Roy stirred into action in the 80s, acting in the film ‘The Color Purple’, and his solo ‘Gainlining’ album sold well, but it was a decade later that he picked up a whole new career as a frontman with a long string of albums.
In the early 50s, Roy relocated to Los Angeles, where he joined Roy Milton‘s Solid Senders, a busy touring band that played Jump-Blues around the West-coast dancehalls. He also picked up studio work backing artists of the calibre of Big Mama Thornton and Junior Parker, and played with his old friend T-Bone.
Roy shows his style on ‘Too Many Miles Between Us’;
In 1966, Roy became a long standing member of Ray Charles‘ backing band, and also toured with several Soul and Motown acts, who liked his ability to add a tasteful guitar lick to just about any song, so Roy spent many years on the road and in the studio as a sideman. In 1982, Roy struck out on his own, recording his ‘Gainelining’ album for the Red Lightnin’ label.