“My mother always told me, even if a song has been done a thousand times, you can still bring something of your own to it. I’d like to think I did that.” – Etta James
July 14, 2021 Volume 2, Issue 32
You Can Play the Classics: “My Babe” Make Your Place a Place to Play Chicago Blues with “At Home Chicago Blues” Lessons
First released in 1955, it was written by the great American songwriter Willie Dixon especially for Little Walter. “My Babe” went on to be a #1 single. It was one of the highlights in both artists’ careers. Take a listen to the groove:
Little Walter – “My Babe”
This song is part of the set list you can learn with us. Chicago Blues Network is an inclusive, social impact organization building community around the art form of Chicago Blues. We connect enthusiasts and professionals alike to Chicago Blues Masters. Plus, a portion of proceeds of “At Home Chicago Blues” lessons goes to making a difference in the Chicago community. Sign up here.
Want to try a sample? Let’s get started with “My Babe” from the Chicago Blues Network set list. Joanna Connor, Chicago Blues Master and Guitar Instructor, leads the way:
Joanna Connor “My Babe” Lesson: Part 1
“I felt Little Walter had the feeling for this “My Babe” song…He fought it for two long years and I wasn’t going to give the song to nobody but him. He said many times he just didn’t like it but, by 1955, the Chess people had gained confidence enough in me that they felt if I wanted him to do it, it must be his type of thing. The minute he did it, BOOM! she went right to the top of the charts.” – Willie Dixon
Joanna Connor “My Babe” Lesson: Part 2–The Chords
You can choose from a top flight of Instructors: Joanna Connor, Dave Specter, Johnny Burgin, Billy Flynn, Harlan Terson (Bass), and Brother John Kattke (Keys). Lessons are $23.95/month and include over 40 video lessons, plus LIVE weekly Zoom meeting with Instructors and fellow students.
This is your chance to learn Blues from Chicago Blues Masters!
Here’s the one-and-only MARY LANE, winner of JUS’ BLUES MUSIC FOUNDATION’S 2021’s KOKO TAYLOR “QUEEN OF THE BLUES” AWARD for Preserving Traditional Blues Heritage. Mary’s profile below is excerpted from Melissa Cook’s NPR article of March 16, 2019:
When blues legend Buddy Guy calls you the real deal, that’s no small compliment. Recently, Guy bestowed that honor on Mary Lane. After years of flying under the national radar, Lane has released a new album and is getting a well-deserved burst of recognition.
The 83-year-old singer began performing as a kid on the street corners of Clarendon, Ark. before making her way north to Chicago as part of the Great Migration. There, Lane developed a local following playing in clubs, alongside members of the blues pantheon including Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Magic Sam and Junior Wells. Along the way, she recorded just one album more than 20 years ago. Now, Lane is back with a new collection called Travelin’ Woman, out now.
Lane remembers her earliest days performing in Arkansas, where she would sing for the workers in the cotton fields. “I used to go to the field and all the people were out there picking cotton and everything. I’d always be behind. I’d be back there just singing and everybody say, ‘Come and sing, Mary. Go on and sing.’ And I kept on doing it for years and years as I came up.”
That experience gave Lane the confidence as a teenager to perform with legendary bluesman Robert Nighthawk. “I went on over and grabbed the mic and from then on, I was out there, I was up there with him every weekend.”
Lane’s talent and drive took her from the countryside of Arkansas to the city of Chicago in 1957, where she became known in the city for her showmanship, her spontaneous songwriting — “I just sing what I feel” — and working solely off the inspiration blues music gives her.
“The music got to be right. You know, I gotta feel it,” Lane says. “A lot of musicians out here, they play and they sound good. But you got to have that feel for the blues.”
Lane was the subject of the documentary I Can Only Be Mary Lane and released Travelin’ Woman under the new Women of The Blues record label as the label’s first artist. Lane is taking the recent accolades in stride. “Until I can’t do it no more, I’ll be out here,” she says. “I still got it.”
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 a 6th grade dance party discovery 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.
Mary Lane, Brother John Kattke Trading 4s (Clip)
In the video above, see a short clip of Mary Lane at a Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s concert.
Blues Tomorrow Night, Thursday 7/15!
Thursday July 15 – Tom Holland & The Shuffle Kings Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights, IL, at 7:30 PM MORE INFO
Thursday July 15 – Guy King w/ Sarah Marie Young North Shore Center of the Performing Arts in Skokie, IL, at 7:30 PM MORE INFO
These are just a few of the great shows happening. For more events, enjoy the calendar curated by the folks at Chicago Blues Guide.com.
Guy King and Ivy Ford at Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s Concert
In the video above, see this Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s concert featuring Guy King, as well as Ivy Ford, in exclusive performances.
For more concerts and lessons, subscribe to our YouTube channel:
“Blues From the Inside Out” Podcast Dave Specter Interviews Jimmie Vaughan
Featuring top names in blues, soul, jazz and roots music with a unique, artist-to-artist interview perspective along with live studio performances. Hosted by Dave Specter: Delmark recording artist, Chicago Blues Master and Musical Director of Chicago Blues Network.
In this episode…Texas blues legend Jimmie Vaughan shares stories from his early playing days in Dallas to playing in the house band at Antone’s in Austin, hearing Lightning Hopkins, Muddy Waters, working in the studio with Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, his current studio/live rig and his long time love for Fender Stratocaters.