Tribute to Bluesman Jimmy Reed © KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Tribute to Bluesman Jimmy Reed


Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Jimmy Reed (1925-1976) continues to be a huge influence on blues and roots music. The list of Reed tunes that are blues standards is staggering: “Ain’t That Lovin You Baby,” “Big Boss Man,” “Bright Lights Big City,” “Honest I Do” and “Baby What You Want Me to Do” just to name a few.

Austin’s Omar Kent Dykes and Jimmie Vaughan teamed up to pay tribute to the legend with their newest release On the Jimmy Reed Highway. The project began as a solo release for Dykes but when Vaughan came into the studio to record a guitar part “the songs took on their own life,” said Dykes. “I figured Jimmie would come in and play a couple of solos, but he got so excited about it he stayed for the rest.”

Reed heavily influenced both Vaughan and Dykes early in life. “Jimmy Reed was huge in Dallas,” said Vaughan. “I learned how to play him by listening to the radio.” The first song Dykes played on the guitar was a Reed song. “‘Baby What You Want Me to Do’ and ‘Big Boss Man’ were all over Top 40 radio,” said Dykes.

Austin City Limits brings Dykes, Vaughan and other Austin notables together for one of the series’ signature tributes. Tonight the duo is joined by Delbert McClinton, Kim Wilson, Lou Ann Barton, Gary Clark Jr. and blues harp great James Cotton as they honor Reed’s unique sound. “Jimmy Reed’s music is sexy and smooth, and no one’s in a hurry. It’s flat-out cool,” said Vaughan.