“[Blues is] part of the make-up of modern music. You can’t turn your back on the blues.” — Ronnie Wood
September 15, 2021 Volume 2, Issue 38
Saturday September 18th 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM Celebrate Chicago Blues in Downtown Chicago FREE Outdoor Concert: Chicago In Tune – Blues
In place of this year’s Chicago Blues Festival, Chicago is hosting a free outdoor public concert Saturday September 18th in Millenium Park, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM. The event is a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Alligator Records with Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Nick Moss Band, Cash Box Kings with special guests, Shemekia Copeland, Billy Branch and Wayne Baker Brooks.
Nick Moss and Billy Branch (in above photos by Peter M. Hurley) are some of the Chicago Blues Masters, performing Saturday, who have also graced the stage of Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s concerts. Even if you can’t make the concert on Saturday September 18th, you can watch Chicago Blues Masters perform anytime on Chicago Blues Network’s Youtube Channel: click here.
Read on for more incredible performers you can see on September 18th…
Raconteur, Muddy Waters’ Grammy Award winning songwriter, and In The Belly Of The Blues author TERRY ABRAHAMSON guests as today’s columnist. Terry profiles brilliant blues vocalist OSCAR WILSON, co-front man of CASH BOX KINGS along with harpist and vocalist Joe Nosek. The band will appear as closers at Sept. 18th’s Chicago In Tune – Blues concert at Millenium Park. More info below:
You hear the thunder a little after midnight. Around 43rd and Wells. Lightning doesn’t cue it and rain won’t pass through it, because this thunder is a phenomenon not of meteorology, but of beateorology. And it’s really not thunder at all. What you’re hearing, Live from Heaven, is the Elgin movement toe-tappin’ of a giant: Bobby Blue Bland, leanin’ on the Lord’s jukebox with a pocketful of dimes for the only song he needs to hear. “Farther on Down the Road,” conjured, caressed and transmogrified by Oscar Wilson, who Alligator Records’ Bruce Iglauer, a guy who should know, says that The Nightcats’ Rick Estrin, a guy who should know, says is “the best living Chicago Blues singer.”
“The best?” Maybe. Probably. What defies debate is this: in the pantheon of living Chicago Blues singers, Oscar Wilson is definitely the richest.
Oscar’s lifelong acquisition of Blues experience is, in fact, longer than lifelong, fated for fatherless fetushood two months before exiting a placenta that must’ve felt like the honeymoon suite at The Drake compared to his allotment of personal space in the second floor six room more-bodies-than-beds flat at 4349 South Wells. The front room, the used-to-be-a-porch off the kitchen; you squeezed in between your sibs and your cousins anywhere that a blown-out pilot light wouldn’t kill you. “I never got to be a baby because there was always another baby under me.”
Long before Oscar heard B.B.King’s “Ghetto Woman,” he knew the story. It al-ways makes him cry. “My mother would butcher a hog on the kitchen floor.” Sau-sage. Bacon. Chitlins. Soap. Yeah, soap. Not quite a “Calgon, take me away” childhood. Nor was it a “Schwinn, take me away” childhood. “I wanted a bike. I put it together from parts. The day I finished putting it together, a big boy took it.”
Sure, a lotta kids from 43rd have those stories and heard the same Blues pouring out of the car windows and tavern doors. “But it didn’t hit them like it hit me;” maybe because their mothers didn’t have Elmore James and Junior Wells and Honey Boy Edwards (“Us kids had to show respect; call him “Mr. Honey Man!”) and Mac Simmons and Big Smokey Smothers over to the apartment, playing music on a regular basis. Or maybe because they didn’t have that Jimmy Rogers/Bobby Bland thing in their voices that makes a pitching change announcement sound like whoopee talk, and sends the women home hiding what can’t be put in with the regular wash.
He has processed these riches through the Rufus Thomas/Pop Staples/Sam Cooke WVON filter of his youth, cloaked himself in the battered beauty of his roots and been taken to the prom by Blues masters Bob Corritore, Shemekia Copeland, Joel Patterson, Derrick Procell, and the Cash Box Kings the all-star band he fronts with Joe Nosek who reminds us that Mr. 43rd is also “a top-notch songwriter,” a gift he’ll inevitably focus on the pay disparity between the Bluesicians who look like Oscar Wilson and the ones who don’t.
Oscar is proud of it all and proud of what he has yet to reveal – Blues and otherwise – from the vault of his lush and enrapturing soul. And all he asks, as you groove to the wonders of that trove of treasures, is that you set aside one last roll of dimes for Bobby Blue Bland.
Saturday, September 18, 5:30–8:30 PM Chicago In Tune – Blues A celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Alligator Records with Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling, Cash Box Kings with special guests, Shemekia Copeland, Billy Branch and Wayne Baker Brooks
A Chicago Blues Hall of Fame inductee, Terry’s music has been recorded by Muddy Waters, Prince, George Thorogood, Joan Jett, Clarence Clemons, John Lee Hooker, Long Tall Deb & Colin John, the Chambers Brothers, Jan James & Craig Calvert, Bob Margolin, Johnny Winter, James Cotton, Big Llou Johnson and Patti Parks. With Derrick Procell, Terry has written music recorded by Eddie Shaw, Oscar Wilson, Nellie “Tiger” Travis, Joseph “Mojo” Morganfield & Shemekia Copeland, whose recording of “In the Blood of the Blues” won two Blues Music Awards.
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.
Read more “Pete’s Pics / Blues in Action” articles: click here.
Making a Social Impact Chicago Blues Network Contributes to Blues Foundation’s HART Fund to support Blues Musicians
Chicago Blues Network donates to the Blues Foundation’s HART Fund for direct medical support of Blues Musicians.
In the video below, learn more about how the HART fund actively helps many Blues Musicians with outreach, grants, and health screenings. To donate directly, click here.
HART Fund Interview with Dr. Janice Johnston
“If you really want to keep the Blues alive, you’ve got to keep them healthy, and you’ve got to keep them out there writing, touring and playing, and I can’t think of a better way to do that.” – Dr. Janice Johnston
When a student signs up for ‘At Home Chicago Blues’ Online Blues Lessons, 20% of proceeds is donated to the HART fund. Make a difference in your playing, and make a difference for Blues Musicians. Get started today.
“Blues from the Inside Out” Dave Specter Interviews Nick Moss
Nick Moss Band is one of the acts performing this Saturday September 18th at Millenium Park for Chicago In Tune – Blues. Below you can watch the interview with Chicago Blues Network Musical Director and Guitar Instructor, and Host for “Blues From the Inside Out” Podcast Dave Specter, and Nick Moss. Nick shares stories from his celebrated career, taking us from the South and West Sides of Chicago to his songwriting, studio work, guitar playing and lessons learned from some legendary bluesmen.
Dave Specter’s Blues From The Inside Out podcast interview with Nick Moss
Listen to more interviews on Dave Specter’s “Blues From the Inside Out” podcast: click here.
To take online Blues Guitar lessons with Dave Specter, click here.
Chicago Blues Documentary Nearly 50 years ago…take a journey to 1972
You won’t want to miss this chance to hear the lives of Blues Artists in their own words. Fresh out of the social changes of the 1960s, Blues is brimming with life, struggle and groove in this remarkable era. Get an inside look at artists including Muddy Waters, Johnnie Lewis, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, J.B. Hutto, Junior Wells, and Floyd Jones.
Chicago Blues Documentary (1972)
Chicago Blues Documentary (1972) (Soundtrack only)
Learn to play the songs by some of the amazing artists in this documentary with our Chicago Blues Network faculty. Today, you can learn 16 classic Chicago Blues songs with Chicago Blues Masters including Dave Specter, Billy Flynn, Joanna Connor, Johnny Burgin, Brother John Kattke and Harlan Terson.
Online lessons with these Chicago Blues Masters are $23.95/month and include access to 40+ video lessons, and weekly LIVE Zoom meetings with the Instructor of your choice.