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Bluesman Lacy Gibson has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 74. The Chicago, Illinois-based guitarist and singer passed away on Monday, April 11th, 2011. He was an in-demand session guitarist who worked with legends like Buddy Guy and Ray Charles and he also tasted success as a member of Son Sealsí band.  He also recorded the acclaimed jazz and blues album Wishing Ring with former brother-in-law Sun-Ra.A big family man, he leaves behind a son, five daughters, 17 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, according to

lacy gibsonSlowly returning to musical action following major surgery, guitarist Lacy Gibson has been an underappreciated figure on the Windy City circuit for decades.

Lacy and his family left North Carolina for Chicago in 1949. It didn't take long for Gibson to grow entranced by the local action -- he learned from veterans Sunnyland Slim and Muddy Waters and picked up pointers from immaculate axemen Lefty Bates, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, and Wayne Bennett. Gibson made a name for himself as a session player in 1963, assuming rhythm guitar duties on sides by Willie Mabon for USA, Billy "The Kid" Emerson for M-Pac!, and Buddy Guy on Chess. Gibson made his vocal debut on the self-penned blues ballad "My Love Is Real" at Chess the same year, though it wasn't released at the time (when it belatedly emerged, it was mistakenly attributed to Guy).

A couple of bargain basement 45s for the remarkably obscure Repeto logo (that's precisely where they were done -- in Lacy Gibson's basement!) preceded Gibson's inconsistent album debut for then-brother-in-law Sun Ra's El Saturn label. Ralph Bass produced an album by Gibson in 1977, but the results weren't issued at the time (Delmark is currently releasing the set domestically).

A stint as Son Seals's rhythm axeman (he's on Seals's Live and Burning LP) provided an entree to Alligator Records, which included four fine sides by Gibson on its second batch of Living Chicago Blues anthologies in 1980. Best of all was a Dick Shurman-produced album for the Dutch Black Magic logo in 1982, Switchy Titchy, that brilliantly spotlighted Gibson's clean fretwork and hearty vocals. After he regained his health in the mid-'90s, Lacy Gibson entered the studio and recorded Crying for My Baby, which was released in 1996.

Biography by Bill Dahl