Veteran bluesman Lucky Peterson dies at 55

He was a blues wunderkind, beginning his career at just five years old.

lucky peterson

Photo: James Fraher / Redferns

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Veteran blues musician Lucky Peterson – born Judge Kenneth Peterson – has died at the age of 55. News of the bluesman’s death was confirmed in a statement on his Facebook page, which reported that Peterson was hospitalised after falling critically ill. No cause of death has yet been announced. The full post is below:

It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Lucky Peterson on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 2:25 PM CST in Dallas,…

Posted by Lucky Peterson on Sunday, May 17, 2020

Peterson first came to prominence as a blues organ wunderkind – performing on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and What’s My Line? at just five years old.

He would eventually go on to become equally revered as a vocalist and guitar player, performing with the likes of BB King and jazz band leader Wynton Marsalis, who once called Peterson “the living embodiment of the blues”, during their performance at the Winspear Opera House in 2013.

Peterson was born and raised around blues music. His father, James Peterson, was a blues singer and owner of the Governor’s Inn House of Blues, iin Buffalo, New York. The likes of Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Muddy Waters and Koko Taylor are reported to have performed regularly at the nightclub.

His love affair with the organ began when Bill Doggett brought his B-3 Organ into the nightclub for a performance. A three-year old Peterson would attempt to secretly investigate the instrument after hours. “My daddy heard the alarm and came down there with his gun and he saw me trying to get to that B-3 organ.” Peterson told Living Blues Magazine, “I was just attracted to that thing!”

Another strong, early influence on Peterson was Willie Dixon, writer of the legendary blues standard, Hoochie Coochie Man. Dixon would take the five-year old Peterson’s under his wing, and produce his first album, Our Future.

Over his five decade career, Lucky Peterson released over 30 albums. the most recent was 2019’s 50 – Just warming up!.

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