Matt's Notes

Matt on drums circa 1956

Matt's Notes

Matt Lucas has been playing the Blues since he was a kid and RocknRoll since it was invented. Growing up in the Missouri farming community of Poplar Bluff he heard Blues his entire life. Matt spent years on the Blues Highway - with stops at Memphis, St Louis, Chicago, and like so many others he moved on to Canada to try his luck there.

The following stories are exerts from Matt's letters. We hope you enjoy reading about the Blues and the Birth of RocknRoll as seen through the eyes of Matt Lucas.

Colored Water

When I was a little kid just old enough to start reading I remember my mom & dad took me to the Memphis zoo and on the way we stopped for gas. I had to go to the bathroom and I saw a sign that said "colored only" and a water fountain that said "colored water only" I thought wow!, I never had no colored water, I wonder what color it is. I went over to get a drink of that colored water and the service station man said "son, that's colored water, you don't want that".

I took a drink of it and went into the colored washroom. I remember how disappointed I was that the colored bathroom was the same color of all the other gas station bathrooms that I'd been in and the water was clear just like all the other water I'd been drinking. My eyes were just starting to open about being born in the south. My mom & daddy took me to church every week and I started singing all those church songs. My dad had a movie theatre in Poplar Bluff MO and there was a row of seats roped off in the balcony for the colored folks. The blacks had a movie theatre of their own that the whites didn't go to. It was the Roxy on South Broadway. I couldn't figure out why no whites wouldn't go to the Roxy because it had the same movies.

Dear Mom and Dad

One day while my folks were gone somewhere, I was going through some of their personal papers in a cigar box and found my adoption papers. I cried and cried. I asked them about it and they said they chose me as their little boy as my real folks didn't want me. It took me a long time in life to realize how much my adoptive parents really did love me. I think that one of the first songs I ever wrote was... MOM & DAD Dear Mom & Dad, whoever you may be I wonder, do you wonder what became of me

I wonder if you loved each other when I was born that day Or did you just take me to the orphanage and look the other way

You must have been sad, cause I was born with the blues I hope your minute of pleasure was worth the misery I go through

Dear Mom & Dad-Whoever you may be I wonder, do you wonder what happened to your little bastard boy-me?


When I was growing up in Poplar Bluff Missouri.....I remember all the ganster movies, all the MGM musicals, and the Sat matinees....always cowboys. Once in awhile, a live act would work the theatre circuit. The first act I was on stage with was the famous cowboy, Tom Mix. I was so little I don't remember much about Tom, but I can sure remember his horse Tony and his Cord car. He as killed shortly after in an Arizona car crash.

The cowboy, Tex Ritter, came in once to do a show and we had to prop him up in a chair he was so drunk. I lived on Maude St. All the colored lived in what was called the holler. I was in a lot of trouble with the girls. I wanted to get out of that town so bad and go to the city. I would lay awake nights, and listen to the big bands from Chicago and New Orleans on the radio. I didn't want to be Bing Crosby or Hank Williams, I wanted to be Gene Krupa or Max Roach!--I wanted to be a Hide-Beater, A Drummer Man!

Rock N Roll

This is a picture of Harold Kudlets and me taken in January 2000 in Canada. Harold was the first agent to bring rock & roll into Canada ie: Conway Twitty when he was Harold Jenkins and the Rockhousers, Billy Lee Riley and the Little Green Men, Ronnie Hawkins, Ray Smith, Narvel Felts and me. I don't know how many of us would have stayed in the music business without Harold.
He's in his 80's now but sharp as a tack. Most recently, he managed Levon Helm and The Band. He's really a big part of the history of Rock & Roll and the Blues.

Rock & Roll in Arkansas

The early days of rock & roll were really exciting when I was working all those dives in Piggott, Pocahontas, Paragould, Blytheville, Truman and Lepanto, etc. There was not a crazier bunch of fist fighting, hard drinkers and wild women anywhere. Although Jonesboro was dry, Truman was really jumpin with most of my buddies from Memphis working over there a lot. People like Charlie Rich, Roy Orbison, Bill Black, Narvel Felts, etc. We never knew if we would have to fight our way into the club or out of it. My friend, Charlie Musselwhite was talking to me not long ago about how rough the Starlight in Lepanto was. Conway Twitty was Harold Jenkins and the Rockhousers and Ronnie Hawkins came around to hear Narvel Felts and I and said he was gonna start a band. Arkansas was fun!

Lou Hobbs TV Show

This is a picture taken in mid September, 1999 in Missouri while I was filming the Lou Hobbs TV show. Lou is on the left, I'm center and Bob Black....who's played with everybody from Lash LaRue to John Wayne.

Back With The blues

Yes, I wrote all my songs on that "Back With The Blues" album. With the exception of Wine, Wine, Wine. I love the 12 bar blues more than anything else and I like to make up my songs about what has happened to me in my life. I don't have to sing any one else's blues as I know well, I will never run out of my own. I think my song "THE MUSICIANS BLUES" pretty much sums it up, it starts- My pants are hangin on the door knob and where I hang my pants is my home.

*editors note - Many of these notes were written in response to questions we asked Matt about his life's work. All photos and text are copyright Matt Lucas and may not be reused without permission.

More Matt's Notes

Matt's Notes on the 2001 Viva Las Vegas Show