Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Born in Grenada, Mississippi on May 16, 1932, Big George spent his teenage years near Clarksdale, Mississippi, before settling in St. Louis, Missouri, in the 1950s. While living in the Clarkdale area, he did back-breaking fieldwork, boxed on weekends, and played the blues. He remembers hanging out at house parties in the Delta where folks like Memphis Minnie would show up. Even today, he still has relatives in the Clarksdale area, including his blues-playing nephew James "Super Chikan" Johnson and brother-in-law Big Jack Johnson.
In St. Louis, Big George owned a series of blues clubs in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, including Club Caravan (formerly the Early Bird Lounge) – where his wife at the time was killed by stray bullets from a drunk's pistol – and New Club Caravan. Later, Big George & the Houserockers was the house band at Climmie's Western Inn for 12 years. During his career, Big George has played shows with blues legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed and many others. Garrick Feldman of the Arkansas Leader has said Big George is "about as good a harmonica player as any of the blues greats, and he knew and played with most of them." At various times, he's had fellow Mississippians Willie Foster, Big Bad Smitty, Terry "Big T" Williams, Jimbo Mathus and Bill Abel back him at shows, but most often, you'll find him with one of the best "unknown guitar players" in the biz: Mr. Riley Coatie.
Besides his 6-string skills, this native of the Arkansas Delta is also known for his amazing family blues band. Coatie taught his children Tekora, Latasha and Riley Jr. to play in the old classic style that Big George Brock loves. May 12, 2006 — exactly one year and five days after he recorded his Club Caravan album — Big George Brock returned to a Mississippi studio to lay down tracks for a much anticipated follow-up CD. In those 370 days, a lot happened in Brock's world. In August 2005, he took part in Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Native Sons concert film project (since re-named Mississippi Bluesmen). In October, Steven Seagal tapped Brock to blow harp on the actor-musician's all-star blues album, Mojo Priest. In November, the Blues Foundation announced Brock's "Comeback of the Year" Blues Music Award nomination — a designation soon followed by several "year end" top CD lists and even a Living Blues Award nomination. By January 2006, Brock's own story in words and music had been captured on film by director Damien Blaylock and, on May 8, 2006, was released nationally on the DVD Hard Times.