Lee Gates
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Lee Gates

Hillsborough, North Carolina, United States

Hillsborough, North Carolina, United States
Band Blues


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Lee Gates and the Alabama Cotton Kings
(Music Maker, 2004)

Black Lucy's Deuce (Music Maker, 2006)



Lee Gates was born in Mississippi and moved to Milwaukee as a teenager where he has been playing his brand of down home blues for the past 50 years. Blues legend Albert Collins is his first cousin and you can hear the family influence in Lee's fluid guitar style and tone.

In 1959 Lee migrated to Milwaukee where he found work performing with the house band at Wilson's Club at 10th and Center Streets for 15 years straight. It is not until 1974 that he met his legendary cousin Albert Collins.

"My daddy's brother had a lot of kids out there in Texas. I never met them a s a child, but we all knew of each other. When Albert came to Milwaukee I showed him around and we did some gigs together. Every time he came to town we would go out and eat supper together, he was a good friend to me."

In October of 2003 Lee called me up and announced that he was coming to Hillsborough. I asked him what for and Lee replied, "To make a CD."

I asked Lee if he wouldn't mind going down to Alabama to record. Two days later Lee caught a Greyhound to Huntsville, he missed a layover in Nashville and got in early the next morning and went straight to the studio with Ardie Dean. Lee proclaimed the record done in three hours and was soon on a bus heading back home.

One must rejoice in the "happening" of this CD, especially the glorious tone of Lee's guitar. After performing for 52 years, I have a feeling that Lee is just beginning his recording career.

-Tim Duffy, Music Maker Relief Foundation