Photo of the Week: Jamiah Rogers Photo and Column by Peter M. Hurley
Jamiah Rogers gets it on and gets down. Seen live, his trio thunders through a set of blazing blues and R&B originals with a passion and flash that goes right through you. Young and old music lovers embrace the guy for his blues roots and cool suits.
“The blues are deep and sacred. It’s the type of music I relate to the most and am able to express myself the best” says Rogers. “When we’re cooking on stage and we are grooving, it feels like a musical high that you would never want to leave alone. When you’re locked you never want to break.”
This photo of “Blues Superman” taken at peak moment is from the Broad St. Blues Fest in Griffith, Indiana / July 1, 2017. It received “Best Festival Image” by University of Chicago’s “Chicago Jazz And Blues: A Photographer’s Perspective” exhibit in 2019, and was published in Living Blues Magazine # 268.
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.For more images click here.
Catch an exclusive Jamiah Rogers performance on Thursday November 5th At Home Chicago Blues Trading 4s at 7:00 PM CST.
The livestream concert also features blues legend Tail Dragger plus Johnny Burgin. RSVP & Share with Friends HERE on Facebook (ticket link coming soon!)
“Mr. Hooker’s Neighborhood” by Marty Weil @ChiBluesHistory
Cover of JLH Modern Recordings 1948-1954
Certain neighborhoods are associated with blues legends: Dallas’ Deep Ellum and Robert Johnson. Lightnin’ Hopkins and Houston’s 3rd Ward. John Lee Hooker’s stomping ground was Black Bottom, a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Detroit.
The main drag in Black Bottom was Hastings Street, where we find Hooker with his guitar on the cover of his album, “The Legendary Modern Recordings.” When he wasn’t literally playing on the streets of Black Bottom, you might’ve caught him performing inside Henry’s Swing Club on Hastings. The famed Hastings Street ran north-south through Black Bottom. At one point, it had been a center of Eastern European Jewish settlement before World War I. By the time John Lee Hooker came to town, The Great Migration had transformed the strip into one of the city’s major African-American communities of black-owned businesses, social institutions, and nightclubs. It was then that it became nationally famous for its music scene.
John Lee Hooker help promote the neighborhood as a blues music mecca when he referenced the area in his classic recording “Boogie Chillin’:
When I first came to town, people, I was walkin’ down Hastings Street
Everybody was talkin’ about the Henry Swing Club
I decided I drop in there that night
When I got there, I say, “Yes, people”
They were really havin’ a ball
John Lee Hooker wasn’t done using his endless boogie to pay homage to his beloved Hastings Street. In 1949, he released “Hastings Street Boogie.” Today, the Detroit neighborhood of Black Bottom and John Lee Hooker are inextricably linked.
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.
The month you feel it’s really autumn. The month you know that change is around the corner.
In October, 1984, I left my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts and came to Chicago to live. The warm comforts of home distancing themselves further and further with every mile as I sat on that 27 hour bus ride. Change was definitely on my horizon and what I sought. I was on my way to begin my self designed apprenticeship as a student of the blues, seeking a position as a rhythm guitarist and maybe occasional vocalist in one of the city’s totally phenomenal bands. Most of my friends and family at home thought I was a little crazy and naive. But I never wavered in my belief that I would achieve my goals. I was 22, very self assured then, and always a dreamer.
The scene was electrifying. Many of the blues most important living legends still resided and performed there. Chicago was saturated with musicians of stellar talent and was charged with colorful personalities. It appealed to me beyond measure. It was an exotic and compelling adventure to a girl from New England. I was ready. Little did I know how much I would learn and transform in so many areas of my life and how the imprint of this would alter my music and inner life forever.
I settled in to a northwest side apartment and went job hunting. Offered a position at a now defunct French bistro downtown as a prep cook. This I knew would be temporary.
Within three weeks of 7 nights per week of live music I found myself sitting in with Lonnie Brooks at BLUES on Halsted Street on a Tuesday night. In my next entry, I will take all of you back to that night in October of 1984.
Stay strong. Keep singing Joanna
Latest “Blues From the Inside Out” Podcast Hosted by Dave Specter, At Home Chicago Blues Musical Director and Guitar Instructor, with Guest Kirk Fletcher