Your Complete Guide to the Chicago Blues Scene

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Chicago Blues Guide HOT shows
Chris CainJuly 25: Chris Cain, Debbie Davies at Buddy Guy's Legends, Chgo

CLICK for more HOT shows and Early Warnings!

Dave Specter, Message in Blue CDJuly-August 2014

Win 3 hot new CDs from Blind Raccoon and CBG by: Dave Specter, Johnny Drummer & Vaneese Thomas.

Johnny WinterR.I.P. Johnny Winter
Feb. 23, 1944 - July 16, 2014

Texas blues legend Johnny Winter died in a hotel room outside of Zurich, Switzerland at age 70. He was a devotee of Muddy Waters and produced several of his albums.
photo: Jennifer Noble
Nick CharlesR.I.P. Nick Charles
(a.k.a. Sherman Shelby)

Blues bassist for Howlin' Wolf, Billy Branch, Muddy Waters, Valerie Wellington and many more passed, away on July 1, 2014.

Services: Gatlings Chapel
10133 S. Halsted, Chicago
Tel: 773-881-4111

July 10: Visitation, All Star Blues Jam for Nick, 4-9 p.m.
July 11: Visitation 11-11:30 am, funeral service at 11:30 - 12:30
Dave Specter verticleFEATURE: Interview with Dave Specter

Specter spent his youth learning and performing with blues legends. His new Delmark CD features one of them, Otis Clay. "Spec" recalls the lessons he learned from teachers Hubert Sumlin, Sam Lay and more.
Tom MarkerFEATURE: Interview with Tom Marker

WXRT DJ and Blues Breakers host has been keeping the blues alive since 1984. Tom explains how the blues bug first bit him and recalls legends he's met over the years.
Bobby Rush kicksFEATURE: Interview with Bobby Rush

The ever youthful soul-blues legend tells the truth about his life in show biz along with tall tales about preachin', sellin' cotton, playin' the chit'lin' circuit, Chicken Heads, other heads, shady record deals and the list goes on...
Bobby Rush small photoFEATURE: Bobby Rush's Grammy nod: A victory for The Blues

Muddy Waters tunesmith Terry Abrahamson celebrates Bobby's Grammy nomination with a nostalgic remembrance of "Chicken Heads". PART 1
Mavis StaplesFEATURE: Black History Month 2014 and Beyond

Highlights for historical books, photography, theater, recordings, symposiums, preservation and more.

Mavis Staples: photo Jennifer Noble
Sax player with Mississippi vanFEATURE: Black History Month

Maxwell Street: Birthplace of Chicago Blues -- photo essay.
Byther Smith & Larry GarnerLIVE REVIEW: 19th Annual Lucerne Blues Festival 2013, Switzerland

The spectacular Swiss mountain town hosted world class blues talent, including many Chicagoans. See our review and photos of sets by Byther Smith (photo), Chicago Blues Allstars, Johnny Rawls, James Harman, the Blues Broads, Bobby Rush, Rick Estrin, Johnny Sansone & more!
Lonnie BrooksLIVE REVIEW: Lonnie Brooks 80th Birthday Bash at House of Blues

It's hard to believe the youthful bluesman is now 80. An all-star lineup turned out to celebrate with hosts Ronnie & Wayne Baker Brooks.
Susan TedeschiLIVE REVIEW: Sin City Soul & Blues Revival, Las Vegas

Four stages, 200 musicians, three days and 1500 blues fans lit up the Riveria Casino for the inaugural fest with an incredible lineup of talent including Tedeschi Trucks Band, Los Lonely Boys, Henry Gray, Curtis Salgado, Lil' Ed, Tommy Castro and many more. Our staff was there to cover it for you!
Chicago Slim wails guitar smallFEATURE: The Blues Doctor is in! Good guys wear black.

Dr. Dan Ivankovich, a.k.a. Chicago Slim, mends bones in the city's poorest 'hoods by day and plays the blues at night.
Edgar WinterLIVE REVIEW: Rock n Blues Fest 2013

Edgar Winter (photo), Rick Derringer, Canned Heat, Pat Travers and Ten Years After rocked the Arcada Theater in St. Charles for a night to remember. All of these veteran blues rockers proved to be "Still Alive And Well."
Sterling Plumpp book coverFEATURE: Book Review of Sterling Plumpp's Home/Bass

Esteemed Chicago poet, Sterling Plumpp, has authored a new book of poems inspired by, and dedicated to, his late friend bluesman Willie Kent.

Otis ClayLIVE REVIEW: Chicago Blues Festival 2013

The largest free blues festival in the world celebrated its 30th anniversary with some welcome surprises. This year's theme celebrated the journey of the blues as it rolled up the river to Chicago.

Irma Thomas, Bobby Rush, Earnest Guitar Roy, The Bar-Kays, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Otis Clay,  Shirley Johnson, Jimmy Johnson and an all-star cast with James Cotton and more!
Otis Clay / photo: Jennifer Noble
Mud Morganfield by JennFEATURE: Interview with Big Bill Morganfield

Blues is in the blood of this multi-talented award-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist who happens to be the son of Muddy Waters.
Frank BangFEATURE: Interview with Frank Bang

The ex-Buddy Guy guitarist left music for a time. Now Frank "Bang" Blinkal is back like a force of nature.
Donald KinseyFEATURE: Interview with Donald Kinsey

From Gary to Jamaica and back, musician Donald Kinsey keeps the music moving forward. The celebrated artist talks about his family band, Big Daddy, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Albert King and more.
Harvey MandelLIVE REVIEW: Chicago Blues Reunion 2013 at The Vic

Nick Gravenites, Barry Goldberg, Harvey Mandel, Corky Siegel – these Chicago blues alumnae don’t get together very often. When you add ex-Chicagoans Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop and Sam Lay, it is a very special homecoming indeed. Add to the mix special guests Eric Burdon, Shemekia Copeland, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Lonnie Brooks and you have a historic night.
Joanne Shaw Taylor live shotFEATURE: Interview with Joanne Shaw Taylor

British blues-rock artist Joanne Shaw Taylor is currently touring as part of Ruf Records Blues Caravan Tour.

The multi-talented young lady talks about her dream career so far, with more to come.
Liz Mandeville with frattoireFEATURE: Interview with Liz Mandeville

Renaissance woman Liz Mandeville was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame and will appear at Chicago Blues Fest 2013, plus the Chicago Women in Blues show June 7.
Pierre LacocqueFEATURE: Interview with Mississippi Heat's Pierre Lacocque

Miss. Heat founder and harp player Lacocque isn't your typical blues man. He's lived all over the world, but never felt at home until he discovered the blues in Chicago. The band celebrates its 20th anniversary with a new CD on Delmark, and sets at Blues Fest 2013 and Delmark's annual Blues Brunch.
Buddy & Hopkins comic headshot FEATURE: Welcome Buddy and Hopkins!

The further misadventures of Buddy and  Hopkins are featured regularly on our website, thanks to talented artist Jason Nocera. Click on the photo to find out what kind of trouble they get into this month.
James CottonLIVE REVIEW: James Cotton at The Mayne Stage

The blues harmonica master extraordinaire isn't quite as visible as he used to be. When he does play a show, it's guaranteed to be an event!
Magic Slim old photoLIVE REVIEW: A Night For Magic -- A Tribute to Magic Slim

It was a magical night at the Mayne Stage for one of the finest blues all-star lineups in recent memory, all playing to honor the late Morris "Magic Slim" Holt.
Alvin Lee smallFEATURE: Poetry by George Kalamaras

Our resident blues poet  pays homage to the recently departed guitar great Alvin Lee
James Cotton smallLIVE REVIEW:  Blues at The Crossroads Tribute to Muddy Waters & Howlin’ Wolf

The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jody Williams, James Cotton, Bob Margolin & Tinsley Ellis served up some hot blues on a cold night at the Tivoli Theater
Irma ThomasLIVE REVIEW: 18th Annual Lucerne Blues Festival 2012, Switzerland

Picturesque Lucerne was the spectacular setting for this world class Swiss Blues Festival. We have a review & photos of the fest's weekend, which included sets by: Irma Thomas (photo), Charlie Musselwhite, the Chicago Blues Revue, Barbara Carr, Guitar Shorty, Sista Monica & more.
Belly of the Blues book cover
FEATURE: Book Review
Terry Abrahamson's In the Belly of the Blues

 The author's life changing musical journey into “The Belly of The Blues” is chronicled through his iconic B&W photos and his written memoirs in this very enjoyable hardback.
The Congregation small FEATURE: Interview The Congregation's Gina Bloom
 "Right Now Everything" seems to be happening for Chicago's hottest bluesy garage soul band
Muddy & Stones Checkerboard DVDDVD/CD REVIEW:
Muddy Waters &

The Rolling Stones
Checkerboard Lounge -- Live Chicago 1981

More than a mere souvenir of this historic summit, this release stands up musically, proving that the Stones could more than hold their own with Chicago's king of the blues on his gritty home turf.
Buddy Guy book cover small FEATURE: Book Review of Buddy Guy's Autobiography, When I Left Home, My Story

 Buddy's life is a true rags to riches tale of how a poor sharecropper's son left his loved ones behind in Louisiana in search of a better life in Chicago. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams to become a world renowned guitar legend and more.

Delmark 55th DVDREVIEWS:

CDs: Junior Wells, James Cotton, Mud Morganfield, Dave Specter, Pinetop Perkins, Dave Weld, Charlie Musselwhite, Holmes Bros., Nick Moss, Janiva Magness, Cash Box Kings, Big James, Buckwheat Zydeco, John Nemeth, Buddy Guy, Magic Slim & more.

DVDs: JJ Grey & Mofro, Tail Dragger, Delmark's 55th Anniversary, Maxwell Street, Son Seals, Jimmy Burns & more.

LIVE BLUES:  Stevie Wonder, Etta James, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Pinetop Perkins, Joss Stone, Ryan Shaw, Mavis Staples, Booker T & the MGs, John Nemeth, more.

J.B. RitchieFEATURE: Interview with J.B. Ritchie

 J.B. Ritchie has been playing the blues for nearly five decades. His wild ride of a life story would make a great screenplay.

John Mayall LIVE REVIEW: John Mayall at Mayne Stage

The legendary British Bluesbreaker brought down the house, backed by a Chicago rhythm section and a Texas guitar ace.
Harvey Mandel LIVE REVIEW: Canned Heat boogies on at S.P.A.C.E.
 Harvey Mandel (photo), Fito de la Parra, Larry Taylor and Dale Spalding, plus special guests, brought a bit of Woodstock (minus the brown acid), played all their hits, plus deep cuts, and jammed into the night for a devoted crowd in Evanston.
Lonnie Brooks small FEATURE: Interview with Lonnie Brooks

 Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010, Lonnie Brooks is an international blues star. In Part 1 of a lengthy interview, he reminisces about his childhood in Louisiana and details a recent  recording session with his sons Ronnie and Wayne in Nashville.
Lee Ritenour small LIVE REVIEW: Lee Ritenour at The Mayne Stage

 The versatile virtuoso guitarist, along with his ace band, played to a packed house of devotees. It was a breathtaking show filled with  musical surprises that defied boundaries.
Mud MorganfieldLIVE REVIEW: Mud Morganfield CD release party at Legends

Celebrating his new CD, Son of the Seventh Son, Muddy's eldest son was joined by Bob Corritore, Rick Kreher, Kenny Smith, E.G. McDaniel, Harmonica Hinds, Barrelhouse Chuck,  Deitra Farr, Katherine Davis and the Chicago Blues Angels for a night of pure blues fun.
Howard Levy FEATURE: Interview with Howard Levy

 Evanston's resident harmonica genius, along with bandmates Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, celebrate their recent Grammy win and hit the road for a major tour. Levy reflects on his past projects with stars like Dolly Parton and Paul Simon, and looks to the future.
Big Llou Johnson FEATURE: Interview with Big Llou Johnson

 "Bringing sexy back to the blues"

 The voice of B.B. King's Bluesville radio network releases his debut blues CD.
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