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Robert Belfour Proves You Can Change Horses Midstream

Flickr - Creative Commons
Robert Belfour in May, 2007.

Sometimes life gets in the way of singing about life. Not every Blues artist starts a lifelong career as a teenager. Mississippi Hill Country Blues style player and singer Robert Belfour spent years in construction before making a change in careers.

Born in Red Banks, Mississippi, in 1940 Robert Belfour started playing guitar at a young age. He first learned from his father, but went on to be tutored by North Mississippi Hill Country Blues legends Otha Turner, R. L. Burnside, and Junior Kimbrough.

As a result, Belfour’s guitar playing is punctuated by strong percussive work and mostly different tunings than those used by most mainstream guitarists.

Unfortunately, Belfour lost his father when he was 13 and had to set about helping his mother support the family. Music was relegated to his free time distraction. In 1959 at age 19 Belfour gained a new responsibility when he married. He moved his new family to Memphis, Tennessee, where he set out on a 35 year stint in the construction industry.

Belfour became serious about the Blues in the 1980s and set about playing on Beale Street, recording for the first time in 1994 when a number of his songs were included on the compilation album, The Spirit Lives On, Deep South Country Blues and Spirituals in the 1990s.

Those songs brought Robert to the attention of Fat Possum Records which released his first album called What's Wrong with You, which came out in 2000. His music was featured on the soundtrack for the 2001 movie Big Bad Love and the album Pushin' My Luck, was released in 2003.

Robert Belfour is delightfully true to the traditions of Mississippi Hill Country Blues, while still having a good deal of his own direction. You can enjoy a contribution Belfour made to the Big Bad Love soundtrack this week on The Nine O’clock Blues.

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