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“When [Robert] Johnson started singing, he seemed like a guy who could have sprung from the head of Zeus in full armor.” ― Bob Dylan
January 20, 2021 Volume 2, Issue 6
Blues Concerts and Community… If you enjoy blues concerts, why not play blues too?
We’ve all missed the magic of live shows. That’s why we’ve made special efforts to bring you Trading 4s online concerts with Chicago Blues Masters throughout 2020. Trading 4s feature faculty from At Home Chicago Blues, the online Chicago Blues lessons program.
Now, with a new year and a new beginning, we invite you to learn to play blues yourself. Don’t just watch, play along! Learn with Chicago Blues Masters. Get started here.
Here’s one of our most memorable concerts, with three sets of Blues music featuring Delmark recording artists Jimmy Johnson, Dave Specter and Johnny Burgin along with Billy Branch, John Primer, Rick Kreher and Brother John Kattke.
Trading 4s: Chicago Blues Masters in Concert!
Join a community of like-minded musicians of all levels and ages. Enjoy the supportive, fun environment with LIVE group Zoom meetings with fellow students and the Instructor. Plus, view 45+ custom video tutorials on your own schedule.
This online lesson package with Chicago Blues Masters is $23.95/month, and it helps support your favorite Blues Artsts, as well as make a social impact. 20% goes to The Firehouse Community Arts Center in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood, and the Blues Foundation’s COVID-19 Blues Musicians Emergency Relief Fund.
Chicago Blues Network connects you with Chicago Blues Masters. The At Home Chicago Bluesprogram offers a flight of top Instructors: Johnny Burgin, Joanna Connor, Billy Flynn, Brother John Kattke, Dave Specter and Harlan Terson. If you need help selecting an Instructor or have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trouble So Hard: The Blues and Politics by Marty Weil @ChiBluesHistory
Shot on James Meredith
For many blues musicians, shifts in the political winds caused them significant troubles. The content of the songs they wrote highlight the struggles of working-class Southerners exacerbated by the legacies of slavery and the cotton economy of the South as well as the development of Jim Crow. Many of the early blues artists lived through the Great Migration and the Civil Rights movement–gaining tremendous personal insight into the struggles of everyday life in the United States.
During the 1920s, the blues boom enabled African-Americans to take pride in their ancestry while elevating their status in American society. However, taking pride in creating the first music form developed in the United States was not enough for avant-garde blues artists like J.B. Lenoir. In 1954, long before anti-establishment protest songs became nominally acceptable, Lenoir released his outspoken “Eisenhower Blues.” The song was considered so controversial that political pressure forced it to be removed from shelves and retitled as the less inflammatory “Tax Paying Blues.” (It’s since been reissued as Eisenhower Blues.)
In 1966, Lenior recorded, “Shot on James Meredith,” a song about the killing of James Meredith at the hand of Mississippi police. I’ve often turned to blues songs like “Shot on James Meredith” and “Eisenhower Blues” for insight into the thoughts and experiences of African Americans in the past. There are many more great examples waiting to be listened to and considered.
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
I was going to say “he needs no introduction” and leave it at that. But I couldn’t resist including this excerpt from his autobiography When I Left Home/ My Story.
Buddy Guy on first “playing” guitar: “…There was a man named Henry Smith who had talent. Daddy called him Coot and made sure he came over every Christmas with his two-string guitar… You best believe I studied Coot. I saw how him and that guitar were connected. It was his woman, his baby, his friend… He made it cry and he made it laugh. He had it telling stories I never heard before. He made me wanna get one. When Mama bought her first set of screens for our windows I saw my chance. The screens were a blessing. They protected us from those Louisiana skeeters that were big enough to carry us out of the room……seemed like the screens were made from guitar strings. At least that’s how I saw it… I’d take down a screen and pull out a couple wires from the top… string ’em between two cans and pretend it was a guitar. I saw how different degrees of tightness gave it different sounds.”…* Humble beginnings of a blues guitarist genius.
Photo taken @ Buddy Guy’s Legends / January 4, 2018
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.
Grab Your Guitar! Get the goods and learn Blues in this free video tutorial Billy Flynn Teaches “All Your Love I Miss Lovin'” (Otis Rush)
Billy Flynn: “All Your Love I Miss Lovin'” Guitar Lesson
What People Are Saying…
“[Billy Flynn is] one of my favorite Chicago guitarists.” – AK Sourdough on YouTube
“Already signed up and learning Key to the Highway!” – Adrienne P. on Facebook
“Johnny’s killing floor lesson is fantastic! Perfect. Great job explaining everything about how to play it. Great commentary on the bass line and how to do it right and the way a lot of people play it. Home run!” – Erik Z. on Facebook
Blues Music Podcasts “Blues From the Inside Out” Hosted by Dave Specter, Musical Director of Chicago Blues Network
Dave Specter Interviews Dick Shurman
Grammy winning producer, writer and blues historian Dick Shurman takes us on his fascinating blues journey starting in Chicago in the late 1960s, sharing great stories from his many decades on the blues scene, producing acclaimed albums from artists such as Albert Collins, Fenton Robinson, Johnny Winter, Jody Williams, Lurrie Bell and many more.