“Bright light, big city, gone to my baby’s head I tried to tell the woman, But she don’t believe a word I said” – Jimmy Reed
June 2, 2021 Volume 2, Issue 26
Chicago is Coming Back to Life… Brother John Kattke Teaches “Bright Lights, Big City”
As Chicago’s music venues open up, and the lights are back on…we want to take you back to 1961 to enjoy this Jimmy Reed classic “Bright Lights, Big City.” It’s one of the 16 songs you can learn with Chicago Blues Masters, whether you play blues piano, guitar or bass.
Brother John Kattke Teaches “Bright Lights Big City”
“Bright Lights, Big City” by Jimmy Reed
Jimmy Reed, whose given name was Mathis when he was born in Mississippi in 1925, wrote catchy songs that appealed to many people. He came to Chicago in 1943. After World War II, he worked for a bit in a meat-packing plant in Indiana, but thankfully his bonafide talents came to the forefront and he was an established musician in the 1950s. A fun fact is that his wife Mary, also known as “Mama Reed” was a background singer on many of his hits including “Big Boss Man.”
Reed’s songs have been recorded by The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and Elvis Presley, to name a few.
Chicago Blues Network’s Musical Director and Guitar Instructor Dave Specter shows you the ropes of “Big Boss Man” in the video below:
Dave Specter: “Big Boss Man” Blues Guitar Lesson
Be sure to tell a keyboard, guitar or bass player you know!
The “At Home Chicago Blues” lesson package is $23.95/month and includes access to 45+ videos and weekly LIVE Zoom meetings with your instructor, and fellow students.
Pete’s Pics “Blues in Action” by Peter M. Hurley
Photo by Peter M. Hurley
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.”
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.
Learn about Chicago Blues books by David Whiteis:
“Revealing portraits of selected local artists and slice-of-life vignettes drawn from the city’s pubs and lounges, this text encapsulates the sound and spirit of the blues as it is lived today. The author draws on years of his observations and interviews to paint a full picture of the Chicago blues world.” – Amazon.com
Watch Pookie Young at Chicago’s own Rosa’s Lounge:
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
The simple, groovy rhythms in the above video show Chicago Blues and the importance of the beat. Take a listen and see if you don’t feel the groove.
Then, start learning to play Blues with the “At Home Chicago Blues” program for just $23.95/month. Study with Joanna Connor, Dave Specter, Johnny Burgin, Billy Flynn, Harlan Terson or Brother John Kattke!
“Blues from the Inside Out” Dave Specter Interviews Jorma Kaukonen
From the vault…Jorma Kaukonen joins Dave on the podcast from Fur Peace Ranch sharing great stories from his amazing career. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame guitarist takes us on his journey from the early days of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna through his solo career, sharing stories and anecdotes about friends and players from John Hammond to Jimi Hendrix, Mike Bloomfield to Jerry Garcia.
You can also watch the Dave Specter and Jorma Kaukonen interview in the video below:
Jorma Kaukonen was one of the many amazing players featured on Specter’s “Blues from the Inside Out” album, on Delmark Records. Take a listen in the video below:
“Blues from The Inside Out” Album
Making Social Impact & Building Community Firehouse Community Arts Center’s Vital Work
If you watched Chicago Blues Network’s Trading 4s Concerts throughout the pandemic lockdown, you likely met Pastor Phil Jackson, CEO and Founder of The Firehouse Community Arts Center in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood.
The center’s vital work was featured in an article in Block Club Chicago.
Photo Credit: Pascal Sabino / Block Club (Image Source) Pastor Phil Jackson at the Firehouse Community Arts Center
“Firehouse Community Arts Center is organizing hyper-local groups to reclaim blocks and get young people off the streets. “The more presence, the more power for impact. It’s about opening a conversation that can spark that level of hope.” – BlockClubChicago.org
To support the work of The Firehouse Community Arts Center, check out the store at Chicago Blues Network and know a portion of proceeds go directly to the center! Click here to shop at the store.
To donate directly to the Firehouse Community Arts Center, click here.