by Red Cell
While not a household blues name, Robert Nighthawk remains one of history’s most influential and important bluesmen. He bridged the gap between Delta and Chicago styles, taking his slide cues from Tampa Red and played in standard tuning, unusual for a bluesman. He began rambling at an early age, taking his guitar with him, and it is this unsettled (and occasionally illegal) behavior that earned him a reputation as a troublemaker. He recorded in the 30s an 40s under many names and did not adopt Robert Nighthawk until his first highly successful side, “Prowling Night Hawk.” In the 60s he could be found performing on the famous Maxwell Street. He died in 1967 of heart failure and lies in an unmarked grave in Helena’s Magnolia Cemetery. In total, he recorded 50 sides and one live LP. To read a much more detailed account of his life, click here.