Blues-soul entertainer and recording artist Lucky Peterson died yesterday (17) at his home in Dallas, at the age of 55. Cause of death is as yet unknown, but a statement on his social media reveals: “He was at home when he became ill and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but unfortunately did not recover. At this time please respect the family’s privacy, but do keep them in your prayers.”
Peterson was revered for his work on guitar and Hammond B3. Despite his relatively young age, he had a recording career that spanned a remarkable 50 years. He was born Judge Peterson in Buffalo, New York on 13 December 1964. His father, James, was himself a respected blues guitarist and owner of the Governor’s Inn club.
Chart success at six
The child prodigy “Little” Lucky Peterson was spotted by blues great Willie Dixon. At just five, Peterson was signed by the Today label to record his first LP, 1969’s Our Future, produced by Dixon. In 1971, aged six, he had success with the Lucky Peterson Blues Band’s ‘1-2-3-4,’ again overseen by Dixon. Credited to Dixon and Peterson, it was very closely based on James Brown’s ‘Please, Please, Please.’ The single reached No. 40 on the Billboard R&B chart.
In 1972, still a mere eight, he cut another album with his father James, The Father, The Son, The Blues. As a teenager, the younger Peterson performed and recorded with Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Little Milton, Otis Rush, Etta James and others.
Later, in the late 80s and early ’90s, Lucky Peterson recorded for blues label Alligator. He then started a long relationship with Verve, signed to Universal Music Jazz in France. Album releases included 1993’s I’m Ready, the 1996 collaboration with Mavis Staples, Spirituals & Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson, and 1998’s Move.
Peterson then recorded for JSP, Blue Thumb, Dreyfus and, over the last decade, for Jazz Village, who released his most recent album, Just Warming Up!, in 2019. Especially popular in France, he toured there and elsewhere extensively, with his wife Tamara Tramell and his group the Organisation, and had planned live dates this year.