Blues Singer/Guitarist Lester `Big Daddy' Kinsey Dies at 74

Lester "Big Daddy" Kinsey, a blues singer-guitarist known for his croaky voice, has died. He was 74.

Kinsey died Tuesday at The Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus of prostate cancer.

"As a person and as a musician, I think there are none any better," B.B. King once said of Kinsey. "There's only one -- as far as I'm concerned -- 'Big Daddy' Kinsey."

Born near Pleasant Grove, Miss., Kinsey once recalled how he, as a boy, sneaked out with a friend to see the legendary Muddy Waters performing at a farmhouse.

"We just stood around out in the dark and peeped through the cracks," Kinsey said. "That's when the blues bug hit me."

Kinsey and his sons, Kenneth, Donald and Ralph, became known as "Big Daddy" Kinsey and his Fabulous Sons.

"We were playing clubs as early as age 12," Donald Kinsey said.

"I think my dad will be remembered mostly as a great leader of musicians," Kenneth Kinsey said. "He was a great organizer in terms of trying to get the best out of guys."

The sons now form the Gary-based Kinsey Report, a nationally established act that records for Alligator Records, a Chicago blues label. The Kinsey Report has toured with big names like the Allman Brothers Band.

In the early '90s, the elder Kinsey experienced one of his career highlights with the issuance of "I Am the Blues," a major-label release on Polygram. The album boasted a host of blues standouts who chose to back up Kinsey, including Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Sugar Blue and Pinetop Perkins.

Funeral arrangements were pending Wednesday.