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FEATURE:  Book Review

In The Belly of the Blues:

Chicago to Boston to L.A. 1969 to 1983. A Memoir

A book by Terry Abrahamson 

Belly of the Blues book cover

By Linda Cain

Like most American teenagers growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Terry Abrahamson discovered Chicago blues by way of the British invasion bands: Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Jeff Beck, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Animals, etc.

Little did the Chicago teen realize that he was living right in the mecca of the blues.  Or that one day he would became great blues buddies with musical titans like Muddy Waters and get to witness the Stones up close as they jammed with Mud at the intimate Quiet Knight club in 1979.

Terry Abrahamson’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 book. The coffee table hardback features glorious images of the artists in their prime, including: Muddy Waters (and The Stones sitting in with him), Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, Hound Dog Taylor, Big Walter Horton, Blind Jim Brewer, Freddie King and B.B. King along with the illustrious sideman Hubert Sumlin, Eddie Shaw, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins, Otis Spann and more. The author’s photos are part of the permanent collection of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library.

            It wasn’t until young Terry attended a show by Howlin’ Wolf at the Quiet Knight in 1968 that he discovered the roots of rock’n’roll. The heroes of his British rock idols became his new idols, and every week the blues convert could be seen in clubs intently watching Chicago’s blues greats and chatting with them backstage or in the men’s room.

Muddy Waters & Terry Abrahamson
Muddy Waters & the author

Even in young adulthood, Terry couldn’t shake the blues.

He went on to college and moved around the country, becoming a blues concert promoter and agent as well as a songwriter for Muddy Waters, The Chambers Brothers, George Thorogood, Clarence Clemons and Joan Jett.

Belly contains mostly photos and not a great deal of text; yet Terry’s succinct writing skills make every word count and it’s a fascinating, often humorous, quick read.

To quote the author, as written on the dust jacket: “Most of the musicians on these pages are gone and we won’t see their kind again. But they should be remembered and celebrated. They’re part of American history, and bricks in the foundation of Rock and Roll. We can’t fill their shoes, but we can dance in their big, big footprints.”

For more info or to buy the book, visit:

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