Tribute by Lucky Bill
No prizes for guessing that the centre of Chicago Blues is Chicago, which snuggles up to the shores of the fresh water Lake Michigan in the state of Illinois. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting this city on a number of occasions and would commend it to anyone looking for great food, art and science and, of course, great music.
Chicago is a big city and has altered over the years in many ways. According to Wikipedia ‘The name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, known to botanists as Allium tricoccum, from the Miami-Illinois language.’
Believe me, as long as you stay downtown near to the Navy Pier you won’t get much trouble but if you venture further afield you are on your own!
Back to the music...
AGAIN, According to our friends in Wikipedia: The Chicago blues is a form of blues music indigenous to Chicago, Illinois. Chicago blues is a type of urban blues. Urban blues evolved from classic blues following the Great Migration, or the Great Northern Drive, which was both forced and voluntary at times, of African-Americans from the southern United States to the industrial cities of the north, such as Chicago.
Who are the great Chicago Bluesmen and Women?
There are many – here is a small selection for your delectation – just for the first few in the phone book.
Alberta Adams who lived from 1917 to December 2014 came from Detroit (another industrial city nearby). I can’t find any live footage of Alberta but check out this running collage of her images to dig deep into her soulful singing ‘Blues mood’
Buddy Guy who was born in 1936 is still hanging in there and is still with us. He has been a huge influence on many contemporary musicians including Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin and Keith Richard from the Rolling Stones. See him here in full flight playing ‘Damn right, I’ve got the blues’
Big Bill Broonzy ‘…Broonzy copyrighted more than 300 songs during his lifetime, including both adaptations of traditional folk songs and original blues songs. As a blues composer, he was unique in writing songs that reflected his rural-to-urban experiences’ according to Wikipedia. Here he is in 1957
Karen Carroll See and hear her deep bluesy and jazzy voice as she sings ‘On a clear day’ only a few years ago. Karen was born in Chicago in 1958 and was on stage from a very early age and has performed with Albert King and Alvin Lee.
Well, I did say I would give you the ABC and I haven’t even mentioned Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley … the list goes on and on and is being continually being renewed as new people come on the scene and keep the traditions alive.
I’ll finish for now with a recording of Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Smoke Stack Lightning’ to get you in the mood for the next CBBLUES.COM event!
Keep it Real,