“Everything comes out in blues music: joy, pain, struggle. Blues is affirmation with absolute elegance.” – Wynton Marsalis
October 21, 2020 Volume 1, Issue 24
Photo of the Week Peter M. Hurley
Violinist, songwriter, performer and recording artist extraordinaire, Anne Harris is a photographer’s dream. Statuesque and lithe, she instills every performance with hypnotic instrumental virtuosity while summoning the depths of the blues in dance and gesture, transporting us into her firelight of an ancient campground in some ancestral trance.
Anne has succeeded in re-installing the fiddle as an important blues instrument. “Classically trained, I was always drawn to a huge variety of music, and Blues music opened up another chamber in my heart,” says Ms. Harris. “When I play my fiddle I am simultaneously reaching my hands both forward and backwards through time while reaching towards a future built on the hopes and dreams we collectively weave together.”
My photo above was taken at one of her last performances with the Otis Taylor Band, on a beautiful summer’s eve in June of 2018. Anne was in especially fine form at the Pritzker Pavillion bringing her unique Blues power to the stage.
A new and beautiful photo of Anne performing for a Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s broadcast will be featured in the upcoming 2021 calendar to be announced in an upcoming issue of bBluesNote.
For info on Anne Harris‘s brilliant CDs, seehttp://www.anneharris.com/
– Peter M. Hurley 10/21/2020
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. pmh1951.wixsite.com/blueportraits
Upcoming Blues Concerts At Home Chicago Blues Trading 4s
TRADING 4s with Tail Dragger, Johnny Burgin and Jamiah Rogers will be Livestreamed on
Thursday November 5th 7:00 PM CST
Mark your calendars for 11/5 and stay tuned for ticket link ($5) which benefits artists and The Firehouse Community Arts Center in Lawndale. Trading 4s is Hosted by Dave Specter, At Home Chicago BluesMusical Director and Guitar Instructor, who also interviews the artists and provides a guitar lesson at the beginning of the show, which shows you a song from the upcoming set. Catch it at 6:45 PM.
“America’s Native Music Thrives in Europe“ by Marty Weil @ChiBluesHistory
Willie Dixon, Memphis Slim, and SBWII at Airport
Blues artists have been revered in Europe since Chicago bluesman Big Bill Broonzy made the first blues sojourn to Amsterdam in 1953. Broonzy’s historic trip paved the way for a flood of blues musicians during what ultimately became known as the 1960s Blues Revival.
It was Willie Dixon who was bitten by the European travel bug in 1960. During the 60s and 70s, he ventured frequently to the Continent for a series of concerts featuring a who’s who of blues players. On the first such trip, Willie was accompanied by pianist extraordinaire Memphis Slim. Later, Willie returned with Muddy Water, Sonny Boy Williams, and others. The great Howlin’ Wolf also made notable trips to Europe. The visits by the blues royalty of Chicago made an incalculable impression on a slew of future blues-inspired rock musicians, including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, and Ringo Starr, to name a few.
The impression blues artists made in Europe has reverberated through the decades. In 1996, for instance, Notodden, Norway, and Clarksville, Mississippi, became sister cities. Cultural exchanges between the two cities have included performances by Norwegian blues artists at Clarksdale’s annual blues festival, while traditional Delta blues artists have traveled to perform in Notodden.
Notable blues artists like Champion Jack Dupree felt so welcome in Europe that they relocated there permanently. Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim, and Eddie Boyd all lived for a time on the Continent to escape racial turmoil at home. With outstanding blues artists based throughout Europe, the idiom became far more accessible and popular. A flourishing European fan base was established and maintained to this day. Recently, when bluesman Lucky Peterson passed away in France, there was an outpouring of grief and remembrance in the country.
Marty Weil is the editor of@CHIBLUESHISTORYon Twitter. Marty is a blues researcher, educator, and social media influencer.
“Heart of the Blues” by Joanna Connor
Joanna Connor is a weekly contributor to bBluesNote with her column “Heart of the Blues.” Joannais a Guitar Instructor with At Home Chicago Blues. To learn more about Joanna visit her website or watch her videos. To take lessons with Joanna, click here.
There was a concert this weekend on a lot that was the former site of The Checkerboard Lounge.
To call this site holy blues ground would not be an exaggeration. The music that emitted from that spot is still floating amongst the cosmos and in the hearts and minds of those privileged to have been there in person during its lifespan. 43rd and King Drive on the Southside of Chicago was a bit rough , a bit brutal, a bit dangerous and the metal bars on the one window, and the metal security gate on the narrow front door bore witness. But to me that was part of its heavy, earthy charm.
The Rolling Stones made many a pilgrimage throughout the years to this blues Mecca. In 1981 Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, backed by a stellar band including Ray “Killer” Allison on drums (RIH, and he was absolute thunder on that drum throne) and John Primer on rhythm guitar. Many of you have seen this video capturing just some of the magic that was available to audiences and musicians alike 365 days a year, (Click here for video: https://youtu.be/Mbao_laqF8E — or play the vide in the player below).
Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones – “Baby Please Don’t Go” (Live At Checkerboard Lounge)
I first went there on my 19th birthday. I saw Otis Clay with legendary Gospel guitarist Chris Johnson. An older man with a permanent scowl and an attitude sat at the narrow entry way Collecting the cover charge and did not check me for an ID. Around the corner, under a classic neon bar sign and the aforementioned barred window, sat the heavyweights of Chicago blues, smoking, swearing and playing cards- Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and the Meyers Brothers.
It was a funky joint with a long bar, being tended by the girlfriend of the co-owner who was next to her, and she was your quintessential tough lady with a heart of gold, and the co-owner/ manager LC Thurman, was looking very much like the character later played by Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction. The floor was worn white tile, a few posters lined the faded walls, the ceiling was low, several pillars stood in the way of sight lines. The stage was about a foot off the ground, covered in worn carpet, and a single naked light bulb hung from the ceiling in the middle of the stage. Other luminaries were hanging out, drinking pints that were for sale at the bar- Lefty Dizz, Johnny Dollar, Carlos Johnson, Zora Young.
The crowd was a mix of University of Chicago students and neighborhood people, dressed to the nines. I was spellbound. I knew this Massachusetts girl had to move to this city. I did just that three years later and would be a part of the house band every weekend at this hallowed place. But these stories will be told another time. This tavern became my blues university.
Until next time, be well, and remember as John Lee Hooker penned” Blues Is A Healer”
Latest “No Border Blues” Podcast with Johnny Burgin and Stephanie Tice
Take a blues journey with No Border Blues! This new video podcast, sponsored by The Chicago Blues Network, talks with notable international blues artists about how and why they got the blues. It shines a spotlight into the hidden blues scenes — “mesmerized clusters” — of serious blues music and fans in places you might not expect. Delmark recording artist Johnny Burgin and producer Stephanie Tice are happy to present exclusive musical performances and intriguing cross-cultural exchanges with some artists you should know about.
In this episode we are chatting with band leader Lorenzo Albai, the singer and harp player for Jesus On a Tortilla, from the little town of Saronna, near Milan, Italy. For eleven years they have been playing their brand of hard-core, retro, 40s and 50s Chicago blues in France, Poland, Switzerland and their native Lombardia.
No Border Blues Episode Three: Lorenzo Albai
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