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Beverly 'Guitar' Watkins


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Beverly ‘Guitar’ Watkins (born c. 1940, Atlanta, Georgia) is an American black female blues guitarist. Sandra Pointer-Jones writes, “Beverly Watkins is a pyrotechnic guitar maven whose searing, ballistic attacks on the guitar have become allegorical tales within the blues community.” George Varga, reviewing her debut CD, observed that Watkins “sings and plays with enough poise and verve to make musicians half her age or younger consider alternative means of employment.”

“My style is real Lightnin’ Hopkins lowdown blues. I call it hard classic blues, stompin’ blues, railroad smokin’ blues.” – Beverly “Guitar” Watkins. If you’ve never seen a blues lady who can play her guitar behind her head, belt out songs and roll over to sweet gospel, you’ve never been in the house when Beverly “Guitar” Watkins was on stage.

As the years add up, musicians can get a bit softer, toning down the show and settling into a deep steady sound. For Beverly ‘Guitar’ Watkins that’s a back door she is not taking. Watkins set fire to the stage with Piano Red in the 1950’s and 1960’s, worked with James Brown, B.B. King and Ray Charles, kept the heat going in Atlanta blues clubs for decades, and she is not about to give up her striding, acrobatic style just because she’s marched past 70.

It’s not exactly clear when the ‘Guitar’ got added to her name, but Watkins knows exactly how that instrument got into her hands.

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