Pookie Young

For our 2nd week of guest columnists, we call upon author, writer, record reviewer, educator David Whiteis once again for his insightful look at POOKIE YOUNG in Living Blues Magazine’s all-bassist issue, # 264. These are excerpts from David’s article:

Pookie Young
David Whiteis

STILL LOVING THE MUSIC
Lil’ Ed Williams exploded onto the national blues scene in 1986 with Roughhousin’ (Alligator), an album that immediately stamped him as a purveyor of rollicking, good-time party blues in the mold of his uncle, the late Chicago slidemaster J.B Hutto. Less recognized at the time, though, and still too often underemphasized by fans and critics extolling the virtues of Ed’s music, was the unerring, skin-tight accompaniment of Ed’s band, the Blues Imperials. Their personnel would change over the next several years, but remaining constant was the propulsive, deep-pocket sureness of Ed’s bassist, his younger brother James “Pookie” Young. The two remain inseparable to this day, and Young’s own story, rich with music and rife with encounters with some of Chicago’s most legendary figures (starting with uncle J.B. himself), deserves to be better known than it is. 

Pookie was born in Chicago on August 10, 1957, and like his brother, he remembers a childhood steeped in music. Their uncle would come in and play for family picnics and get-togethers: the kids, although they weren’t supposed to be underfoot at grown folks’ parties, saw enough to be enraptured early on…  “It was good times, man,” Young exults…”once J.B. realized how serious the boys were about music, he started giving them more advanced lessons-he eventually gave Pookie a bass-and when he wasn’t around, they studied his albums…

…”Just holding the beat, man, that’s one thing that I can remember my uncle told me. He said ‘You can get out there and get funky and fast as you wanna, but if you wanna work, you better stay in the pocket.’ So I learned to be a pocket bass player.”…For a professional, of course, music is a livelihood as well as a calling, and as a member of one of today’s most popular and hardworking road bands, Pookie Young has enjoyed the rare privilege of making a decent living doing what he loves…

…”We’re still loving the music. And loving people that love the music. See, it’s for ourselves and for the people that involve their self with us. When it comes down to it, it’s always there inside of me, and I don’t mind sharing that with anybody.” 

For other articles by David Whiteis WWW.LIVINGBLUES.COM

Books by David Whiteis available from University Of Illinois Press

ALWAYS THE QUEEN/ THE DENISE LASALLE STORY

BLUES LEGACY/ TRADITION & INNOVATION IN CHICAGO. PHOTOS BY PETER M. HURLEY

SOUTHERN SOUL-BLUES

CHICAGO BLUES PORTRAITS AND STORIES

Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials discography and info: WWW.LILEDBLUES.COM

– 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.
VISIT PETER’S WEBSITE HERE.

Lil Ed Williams with Pookie Young — Live from Rosa’s Lounge
Stay Home Again Series 

To tip the band go to: PayPal.me/LilEdWilliams
To tip the venue, go to: PayPal.me/rosaslounge