Born on a cotton plantation in Jamaica, Eddie Kirkland got his start in the music business at the age of 12 as part of the Sugar Girl’s Medicine Show. After a short stint with the show, Eddie landed in Indiana, moved on to New Orleans where he frequently appeared with the Louisiana Six, and finally settled in Detroit. Eddie worked at the Ford Motors plant in Detroit and played small clubs and house parties on the side. It was at one of these house parties that Eddie met John Lee Hooker—an event that had profound effects on both of their careers.
For seven years, Eddie Kirkland and John Lee Hooker toured and made many recordings together. Eddie fondly remembers one recording session for Chess Records when “Muddy, Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers was listening in that studio on the balcony.” The guitar stylings of Eddie Kirkland had a powerful impact on many guitarists.
In 1962, Eddie recorded one of the most powerful records in blues history. “It’s The Blues Man” has been in highest demand among collectors for years and was reissued by Fantasy Records in 1987. During the rest of the decade, Eddie recorded now and then with John Lee Hooker but his most important work during the sixties was for the famous Stax Records, recording a hit on their subsidiary Volt Records (recently reissued by Atlantic Records) and touring with Otis Redding for three years. Eddie was fronting his band by this time and has continued to do so ever since.
Eddie had numerous critically acclaimed releases during the seventies and eighties but always seemed to be recording for the right label at the wrong time, or vice-versa. The man who had enjoyed as full a career as anyone could hope for, respected as one of the very best in two genres—:blues and soul, a man fully capable of dipping into funk, rock and country blues, finally came to the conclusion that any success he was to enjoy had to be of his own making. Eddie set out to touring, bringing himself directly to the people. During the last six years, Eddie has performed in virtually every major metropolitan area in North America and Europe as well as smaller towns from Blue Hill, Maine, to Missoula, Montana, always leaving a lasting impression on his audience. He has built an amazing base of support solely on the strength of his live performances.
Today, Eddie is finally where he wants to be. He enjoys a full touring schedule that has him on the road up to 48 weeks each year, eagerly anticipating the success of his new release Lonely Streets. Like Eddie’s live performances, this record dips into a lot of bags, from straight-ahead blues to soul influenced rock ‘n roll, but each tune is imbued with that characteristic Kirkland sound.