Blues guitarist mourned

The garlic farm Tony Robertson called home will be the site of a memorial gathering for the longtime Kamloops guitarist on the Victoria Day long weekend in May.

Robertson, 62, died in Vancouver on Friday, Dec. 7, while being treated for a blood disease.

Robertson was one of the driving forces behind the Blues Underground Network that called the Blue Grotto home for years.

He worked alongside Keith Guthrie at The Yale in Vancouver and played for years with Long John Baldry.

Local music fans would recognize Robertson from his band The Vaqueros, but he could also be seen on stage with just about any other band in the city.

Robertson recently recorded on a new CD project with the Henry Small Band, even as his health condition worsened.

Rod Duncan was a longtime friend of Robertson, meeting him while the two were in high school and bonding over their shared love of music.

Duncan, in fact, said he once fired Robertson from a band when his friend wanted to be lead singer.

“I said ‘Look, man, your voice just isn’t strong enough to sing lead. You need to play that guitar’,” Duncan said.

“We were as close as brothers,” he said. “We’ve been close forever. When I got the message at 7:40 — ‘He’s gone’ — I sat there and wanted to text someone, but couldn’t see through the tears.”

The Fan Club in Vancouver will hold a memorial benefit on Thursday, Dec. 27, at 6 p.m., but local musicians plan to celebrate their friend on the May long weekend.

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