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Lefty Dizz biography

Lefty Dizz, 56, a Chicago blues guitarist, was noted for his sound, his way of playing the guitar (upside down) and his “Dizz Bizz” manner of snaking his way through an audience. His real name was Walter Williams.

A resident of the Burnham Park neighborhood, he died Tuesday in Lakeside Veterans Hospital.

“Lefty was brilliant,” Ralph Metcalfe, a friend, said. “The tones he achieved as well as the total fabric of his work were way ahead of their time. He was deeply rooted in the blues and yet was possessed of a diversity in the way he could also play R & B and rock that was extraordinary. This man was an ocean of emotion. I’ve seen him hypnotize and mesmerize people like no one else.”

He was left-handed but played a right-handed guitar, holding the instrument upside down.

Three of his uncles played guitar and taught it to him as a teenager. After a stint in the Air Force, he joined Earl Hooker and Lacey Gibson and played with Sonny Thompson’s Road Band. In the 1960s, he toured the U.S., Africa and Pacific Rim nations with Junior Wells.

In 1964, he moved to Chicago where he had been popular ever since. He had played most of the top blues spots and benefits as well as the Chicago Blues Festival.

His recordings include: “Bad Avenue”; “Somebody Stole My Christmas”; “Ain’t It Nice to Be Loved That Way”; and “Funny Actin’ Woman.”

Chicago blues players-including Buddy Guy, The Kinsey Report, Big Time Sarah, Junior Wells, Eddy Clearwater and Sugar Blue-put on a benefit a year ago to help pay his medical bills. His cancer was in remission early this summer and he traveled abroad in the meantime.

Survivors include a brother, Roosevelt; and two sisters, Yvette and Rozlyn.

Lefty Dizz photo gallery

Lefty Dizz