Barkin' Bill Smith (August 18, 1928 –
April 24, 2000) was an American Chicago blues and electric blues singer and
songwriter. Although he was born in Cleveland, Mississippi, Smith spent his
latter years in Chicago.
Smith was raised in Mississippi, but later relocated to East St. Louis,
Detroit and finally Chicago. He obtained his stage name from Homesick James
in 1958, after the pair had worked together. Smith sang in front of various
blues bands around Chicago for many years, having been initially influenced
by Joe Williams, Jimmy Witherspoon and
Brook Benton. He finally made his recording debut in 1991, providing the
vocals on Dave Specter's first album, Bluebird Blues. His connection with
Delmark Records then continued when they issued Smith's own solo debut,
Gotcha!, in 1994. Gotcha! featured guitar work by Steve Freund.
In his latter years declining health restricted his live appearances.
Smith died in April 2000 in Chicago, from pancreatic cancer, at the age of