Roy Rogers first fell for the blues as a teen in the '60s listening to master guitarists John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson.
Twenty years later, he was playing with and producing records for Hooker.
"Now, I've become like family and he's a good friend," says Rogers. "I wrote a song on 'Slidewinder' called 'Down the Mississippi' that said, 'When I was young, how was I to know that I'd be playing with legends of the Blues?' "
Well, he must have sensed it. Rogers decided by about the age of 13 that he wanted to be a blues guitarist, and "the blues became my voice," he says.
In high school in Northern California, Rogers played with a blues band. When he reached his twenties, he hooked up with harmonica player David Burgin and the acoustic duo played in clubs in the Bay Area, recorded the blues album "A Foot in the Door" (Waterhouse) and performed on the soundtrack for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
In 1980, Rogers founded his current group, the Delta Rhythm Kings, and they began touring on the West Coast. Eight years ago, Rogers was invited to join Hooker's Coast to Coast Blues band, and he worked for four years as a featured guitarist.
His instrument of expertise is the slide guitar -- also called the dobro -- which is held horizontally on the lap. Rogers is known as a Delta player, which, he says, "means I play with open tuning. I tune the guitar to an open chord, which is Mississippi style" -- even though he didn't get to Mississippi until he was an adult, touring with Hooker. They played together in the cotton fields.
Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings are performing at the Bayou tomorrow night at 9. Tickets are $5 and available at TicketCenter and PhoneCharge at 432-0200. For information, call 333-2897.