Blues musician;

Born: July 2, 1958; Died April 2, 2013.

George Ross Watt, popularly known as Big George, who has died aged 54, was a blues guitarist and singer who took a sound forged in the bars of Glasgow to the home of the blues in America and toured his music across the world without ever fully receiving the recognition that his talent and his band, Big George and the Business, deserved.

At the Montreal Blues Festival in 1992, Big George and the Business sat above blues stars including Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry's legendary pianist Johnny Johnson, Buddy Guy and Robert Jnr Lockwood on the festival's posters and t-shirts. And although Big George knew this was only because his band's name was longer than the others, he was able tell friends back home that Johnson, former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor and Guy's rhythm section accompanied him on one of his own songs as they jammed at an after-hours session.

This incident was at the centre of a typical Big George scrape. When the police arrived at the Hard Rock Café that night, looking to put a stop to the noise, they were informed that the musicians were taking part in a video shoot and the party was allowed to continue.

Big George was born within the sound of Glasgow's shipyards and engineering works and took up the guitar in his early teens, inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Paul Kossoff of Free but especially by his big hero, Cork-born bluesman Rory Gallagher. Nothing would stop him practising and trying to emulate Gallagher – pals arriving at his door to ask him if he wanted to play football were told he was too busy with his guitar – and his devotion to Gallagher was such that for his mother's birthday one year, he could think of nothing for her present other than taking her to see his hero.

His mother loved the gig and when Big George started playing in local bands such as Backwater and the Glasgow Blues Legends, his mother and his auntie Betty would show up in front of the stage to encourage – or occasionally heckle him. In return, Big George called them the Blues Mothers and they became a familiar sight at venues including Burns Howff and the Halt Bar.

Big George had talent beyond the local player level, however. This was recognised by fellow Glaswegian Jimmy Dewar, who had played bass with Stone the Crows and featured as the gritty, soulful singer and bass guitarist in the world-conquering Robin Trower Band of the 1970s. Big George and Dewar hooked up and played together for four years until illness forced Dewar to retire.

Undaunted, Big George established Big George and the Business and began earning a reputation that took them across Europe and Scandinavia, and as the band's former roadie, Richie Devlin, recalled, found them creating their own Spinal Tap moments. On one occasion the band played a gig at the special unit in Barlinnie and a documentary depicted Big George helping an inmate with a song that, arranged for the Business, featured on one of the band's albums.

In 1993 Big George and the Business appeared in Peter MacDougall's television play Down Among the Big Boys, which starred Billy Connolly, for which McDougall apparently insisted that the BBC pay Big George, who didn't have a bank account, in cash rather than the usual cheque.

As well as playing the blues, which made Big George and the Business the natural support band for Buddy Guy's triumphant appearance in Glasgow in 1992 (Guy's band remembered the Business from their encounter in Montreal earlier that year), Big George had wide interests in music, art, films and literature. He was a big fan of singer-guitarist Richard Thompson and he recorded with former Marillion frontman Fish, among many other collaborations. He was particularly pleased to be made an honorary member of the Mohawk tribe on one of many tours of Canada that followed the band's success at the aforementioned Montreal Blues Festival.

In 2008, Big George and the Business came to an unscheduled stop when Big George suffered a stroke. He was still trying to play his way back to top form when, in January this year, he was rescued by a neighbour from a fire in his house in Knightswood. He spent weeks in intensive care and lost all his material possessions, although his many friends rallied round and he was said to be regaining the Big George spirit that made him such a popular and much loved figure, not just with music fans but with neighbours and everyone who knew him. Big George is survived by his wife, Carolynn and his daughter, Natasha, and will be remembered for the passion of his singing and guitar playing and the enthusiasm and good times he shared with everyone who came into contact with him.