This week’s column features an article on JOE PRATT by author, writer, educator, record reviewer David Whiteis. Published in the Chicago Reader Nov 1, 2019.         

       We don’t often think of sidemen as comprising a “supergroup,” but there’s really no other way to describe Chicago’s Source One Band. Between them, bassist and bandleader Joe Pratt, lead guitarist Sir Walter Scott, keyboardist Stan Banks, and drummer Lewis “Big Lou” Powell have performed or recorded with a list of greats that starts with Koko Taylor, the Chi-Lites, the Jackson 5, Tyrone Davis, Otis Clay, Denise LaSalle, Johnnie Taylor, Artie “Blues Boy” White, Willie Clayton, and Latimore—and keeps going from there. These days, Source One’s featured vocalists are versatile deep-soul stylists New Orleans Beau and Joe Barr, who are equally adept at wrecking the house and at creating a feel of smoky intimacy when it comes time for lovemaking. But the band is as much of an attraction as the singers: Pratt, who formed the first Source One in the 1980s (when he was White’s bassist), sets the tone with his deep-pocket grooves and affable stage presence; Scott draws on an armamentarium of chordal and rhythmic colorations and expressive, melodically adventurous solo licks developed during five decades as one of Chicago’s first-call session men; Banks, a former Koko Taylor sideman nicknamed “Preacher Man,” adds a churchy emotional fervor; and Powell, who divides his time between his gigs with Source One and his tours with soul-blues legend Latimore, plays with a propulsive funkiness that’s never overwhelming. The overall feel is of a vintage revue—the band is dedicated and professional, yet loose enough to imbue the music with the kind of swaggering ebullience that feels like the epitome of hipness when the groove gets good and the solos lock in. 

– David Whiteis

Books by David Whiteis available from University Of Illinois Press

  • Always The Queen/ The Denise LaSalle Story: READ MORE
  • Blues Legacy/ Tradition & Innovation in Chicago. Photos by Peter M. Hurley: READ MORE
  • Southern Soul-Blues: READ MORE
  • Chicago Blues Portraits And Stories: READ MORE

RIP Sir Walter Scott who passed April 15, 2020. 
Photo taken at ODYSSEY EAST, September 8, 2019.  

– Peter M. Hurley 

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, which led to Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and so on. It continues to this day.