“A guy will promise you the world and give you nothin’, and that’s the blues.” – Otis Rush
February 10, 2021 Volume 2, Issue 10
Dave Specter Blues Brilliance “In the Dark” The stage was dark…then we heard…the power of Blues!
In The Dark with Dave Specter
Dave Specter, Musical Director and Guitar Instructor with Chicago Blues Network, takes center stage here in this video, filmed in Chicago’s beautiful Thalia Hall venue in the Pilsen neighborhood. The song Specter is playing is “Alley Walk” a track from his 9th studio LP Spectified. To take lessons with Dave Specter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The video series “In the Dark” is presented by FRET12 an outlet which promotes the craft of guitar. If you love guitar too, or know someone who does, get started with learning Blues Guitar from Chicago Blues Masters.
In Chicago, before Muddy Waters, before Howlin’ Wolf, in the days before of rock-n-roll, there was Big Bill Broonzy.
The first King of the Chicago Blues, Big Bill recorded more than 350 compositions. Broonzy’s hallmark as a tune-smith were his well-wrought lyrics that cut to the truth of the important matters of living. At the benediction at the 2009 inauguration ceremony of President Obama, for example, the civil rights leader, Joseph E. Lowery, paraphrased Big Bill’s song, “Black, Brown, and White Blues,” which articulated the egregiousness of Jim Crow laws.
Broonzy’s legacy extends to all corners of the globe. He was instrumental in bringing the blues to Europe. Broonzy was the first major blues artist to tour the continent, and his visits there paved the way for later blues artists to perform and settle there. Several notable bluesmen, including Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim, and Eddie Boyd, made their home abroad to avoid racial discrimination in the U.S. While in Europe, Big Bill starred in the critically acclaimed short film, “Low Light and Blue Smoke.”
Low Light & Blue Smoke (1956) – Featuring Big Bill Broonzy
Less than a year before his death, long after Midnight on May 7, 1957, the famed author and radio host, Studs Terkel, asked Big Bill Broonzy to define the blues for listeners of WFMT Radio in Chicago. Bill replied, “Blues is a natural fact. It’s something a fellow lives. If you don’t live it, you don’t have it.
Big Bill Broonzy passed the Chicago blues’ crown to Muddy Waters on August 14, 1958. Pallbearer Waters–leading the mourners–carried Bill to his final resting place at Lincoln Cemetary in Blue Island.
Marty Weil is the editor of@CHIBLUESHISTORYon Twitter. Marty is a blues researcher, educator, and social media influencer.
Pete’s Pics “Blues in Action” by Peter M. Hurley
JIMMY BURNS is a man of the people and the people love it. Jimmy is not only a featured artist at blues festivals around the world, when home he holds down a hosting spot at Buddy Guy’s Legends every other Monday night.
As one of the most constant performers on the Chicago scene, Jimmy Burns describes hittin’ the note when performing live: “It makes you feel so good because we’re seldom satisfied with the way things go. As a musician I’m constantly striving for a great performance.” On record he can be heard hittin’ it on no less than five Delmark Records cds since 2015 including his signature Leaving Here Walking, and 2020 cd The Chicago Sessions produced by Denmark label Krudtmejer Productions.
Photo taken at Little Walter Tribute @Buddy Guy’s Legends, May 1, 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 and continues to this day. Visit Peter’s Website here.
Make Music with Chicago Blues Network Video Lesson Series with Chicago Blues Masters This Week: Johnny Burgin
Chicago West Side Blues Master Eddie C. Campbell Guitar Lesson with Johnny Burgin
Back in 1994, everyone I knew was abuzz with excitement when the word got out that Eddie C. was coming back to Chicago after living in Europe for ten years. The first few notes I heard Eddie play explained why–his clean, reverb-soaked sound crackled with energy and was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. I went to hear him at every opportunity– we gradually became friends, shared the stage occasionally and had many conversations which were eye-opening to me. I even interviewed him for The Grey City Journal newspaper ahead of his performance at the University of Chicago Folk Festival. Eddie C. Campbell’s style is a modernization of the Magic Sam style into something fresh and new. I’ll go through some trademark Eddie C-isms and talk about the way he plays a shuffle, his versions of classics like “All Your Love”, “Cheaper to Keep Her”, and “19 Years Old”, and just a few of his many great originals such as “Busted” and “Cool Little Mama”. We all miss you Eddie C.
Chicago Blues Network is a great place to learn the blues, and I’m proud to be on their faculty. Sign up and enjoy weekly zoom group classes where everyone gets a chance to play and constructive feedback. Lessons help you build your confidence as a player, become better at improvising, and grow your blues vocabulary.