Robert "Barbecue Bob" Hicks

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Biography

Robert "Barbecue Bob" Hicks was born 11 September, 1902, in Walnut Grove, Walton Co., Georgia. Bob started playing six string guitar in his early teens after learning it from his brother, Charley Hicks (11 March 1900 - 28 September 1963), moving on to his signature twelve string after moving to Atlanta in 1923-24, also in his brother's footsteps.

In Atlanta he found employment at Titwell's Barbecue from where it is most likely he picked up his pseudonym. Bob made his recording debut for Columbia in Atlanta in March 1927, which must have been successful in the opinion of his producers as further sessions for Columbia included sides recorded in a purpose built studio in New York City.

Bob's recording during this period also included sides recorded with his brother Charley. Bob recorded regularly from 1927 until his death only four years later. Bob also recorded as the Georgia Cotton Pickers with Curley Weaver playing second guitar and Buddy Moss on harp again for Columbia in Atlanta in 1931.

Bob's style was his own employing almost exclusively open tunings in open A/G ("Spanish"), and occasionally open D/E ("Vestapol"), using a fingerstyle and bottleneck technique. Like all bluesmen he used a few melodies that he then re-arranged to suit a new vocal arrangement.

Bob died of "consumption" (pneumonia) on 21 October, 1931, in Lithonia, Georgia, and was buried near to his home.


Discography

Of his 68 recorded sides, all but three survive.

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Joel Snow
Created February 18, 1997
Revised February 18, 1997