Photo by: Peter M. Hurley

Mike Wheeler; flash with substance. Mix scorching steel strings with a gospel throat and you're getting close.A warm presence who sings like a soul angel but plays with devilish chops when cutting loose. Sweet blues, ...raw funk, and a guitar sound from an electric playground of soul and r&b.
The Mike Wheeler Band is one of Chicago's finest late period blues practitioners and will be for decades to come. Tight and right, virtuosos all.
As a sideman, Wheeler has paid his dues. He has learned from the best and the torch has been passed by blues masters before him. It will not be extinguished on his watch.

Photo taken at Rosa's Lounge during a closed streamed set on August 4, 2020. The band was on fire.

-PETER HURLEY 12/2/2020

About: Mr. Hurley is a contributing photographer and writer for Living Blues Magazine and the staff photographer for Chicago Blues Network. His recent book Blues Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Chicago, in collaboration with Blues historian and author David Whiteis, showcases his work in the field. His passion for blues music began with the Chess Studios’ sound of Bo Diddley and continues to this day.

Billy Flynn teaches "Just A Little Bit" by Roscoe Gordon, made famous by Magic Slim. Learn 16 Chicago Blues Standards from the Grammy-Award winning #chicagoblues Master, plus weekly live Zoom sessions with Billy, $23.95/month, perfect gift this month, ...

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At Home Chicago Blues – Chicago Blues Network

Dave Specter and Brother John play/teach Allen Toussaint's On Your Way Down, recorded by The Meters and by Little Feat, among others,

Remember, this is really a lesson more than a performance, but, since we have had several requests already to be able to ...send some love, here is the tip jar link to show your appreciation, and thank you!

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Dave Specter and Brother John Kattke play, teach, Allen Toussaint"s On Your Way Down

Chicago Blues Masters Dave Specter and Brother John Kattke perform the Allen Toussaint classic, On Your Way Down and then discuss what each is trying...

We teach #chicagoblues based on a 16 song set list, which you can view and listen to at any time from our website,

You will study and learn each of these songs, and how they inspire or are inspired by so many other #chicagoblues songs, from the ...perspective of six different Chicago Blues masters. Sign up today

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SET LIST – Chicago Blues Network

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Launching Now! Song and Lesson, bBlues Note Volume 1, Issue 31 -

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Launching Now! Song and Lesson, bBlues Note Volume 1, Issue 31

For your learning pleasure:
Three lessons of Big Bill Broonzy's Key To The Highway from Chicago Blues Network At Home Chicago Blues

Joanna Connor in D,

Johnny Burgin in G,

Brother John Kattke in A, ...

Which one is your favorite? Do you take nuggets from all three #chicagoblues masters? Sign up now for lessons on 16 Chicago Blues standards by 6 different Chicago Blues Masters,

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Johnny Burgin teaches Big Bill Broonzy's Key To The Highway

This Week's Article: "The Dangerous Nickname Game"
by Marty Weil @ChiBluesHistory

Peetie Wheatstraw was known as "The Devil's Son-in-Law" and "The High Sheriff of Hell," nicknames he helped cultivate from the stage where he would tell tales of ...selling his soul to the devil and other not-so-nice behaviors. Of course, the nicknameless bluesman Robert Johnson is today more famous than Wheatstraw for his supposed dealings at the crossroads. Almost 100 years later, Johnson's legacy is clouded by ridiculous devil tales, which were, as likely as not, lifted directly from Wheatstraw's stage antics.

Johnson, relatively unknown during his lifetime, intended to excite small crowds in barrooms or on dusty city streets with his "devil-at-the-crossroads story." During his lifetime, he couldn't have known the permanent damage he was doing to his legacy. How could he have known of his unnatural death at 27? Or that his small catalog of songs would become the revered template for electric blues and rock-n-roll? Considering one in 10,000 men in the Delta shared the name Robert Johnson, it's incredible that Johnson is more closely associated with Beelzebub than the man who cultivated two devilish nicknames for himself.

Ironically, Robert "Jr." Lockwood, the only bluesman to have been taught to play directly by Robert Johnson, suffered professionally as a result of his nickname, which was designed to tie him to Johnson by blood. At the tender age of 15, Lockwood was already playing professionally at parties in Helena, Arkansas. In Helena, he often played with Robert Johnson, Sony Boy Williamson II, and Johnny Shines. On one occasion, he played on one side of the Sunflower River while Robert Johnson played on the other, with the people of Clarksdale, Mississippi, milling about the bridge, reportedly unable to tell which guitarist was the real Robert Johnson.

Lockwood relished the idea of being mistaken for the great Delta bluesman and took on the nickname Robert Jr. However, the association grew tiresome when Lockwood re-emerged during the Blues Revival of the 1960s. During the heady days of the Blues Revival, he grew weary of the attention he received because of his misleading nickname, as it connoted his being Robert Johnson's stepson, a fact that he rightly knew overshadowed his own achievements as an outstanding bluesman. His solution? He placed the Jr. after his given name, thus becoming Robert Lockwood Jr.

Marty Weil is the editor of @CHIBLUESHISTORY on Twitter. Marty is a blues researcher, educator, and social media influencer. He is a contributor to bBluesNote the Chicago Blues Network weekly newsletter.
To sign up for the weekly e-newsletter bBlues Notes, just click right here:

Inspired by the blues? We connect you with Chicago Blues Masters to learn how to play the blues in the Chicago style, and introduce new listeners to Blues with concerts - even in a pandemic! Enjoy At Home Chicago Blues Trading 4s. This episode featured Ivy Ford and Guy King:

Stay inspired and take lessons with At Home Chicago Blues, sign up here:
Questions? just email!

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Guy King and Ivy Ford. Trading 4s - September 3, 2020

Ivy Ford and Guy King perform live.

This is Johnny Burgin, instructor with The Chicago Blues Network, with a short lesson for you: Help Me/Green Onions

For twenty plus years I've gigged, toured and recorded with many of the Chicago blues greats, as well as pursued my own touring and ...recording career as a leader. Now it's my turn to pass on what I can by teaching the great works from legendary Chicago blues artists. A detailed look at Chicago blues classics, song by song, teaches students universal principles for rhythm playing, ensemble playing and solo-ing no matter what their skill or experience level. For complete info, check out

I hope you enjoy this sample lesson of Sonny Boy Williamson's Help Me. Based on "Green Onions" by Booker T and the MGs, this is Chicago-ized to the extreme!
I go through the song from the group up: first the bass lines, then playing the chords with expression and a groove, and finally how to create your own solo that tells a story, with a beginning, middle and end. Thank you!

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Johnny Burgin teaches Help Me with some Green Onions for Chicago Blues Network

Chicago Blues Master Johnny Burgin takes you through the bass line of Help Me, in F. Then, he moves to "little" chords and accents to give the song...

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