Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category


Author: Pete Welding

Source: Downbeat. – Vol. 43 (1976): no 9, p. 19-20


“Howlin’ Wolf, the powerful Mississippi born singer who was one of the major shapers of the electrically amplified modern blues style that has been so dominant an influence on all popular music since his time, died January 10, 1976. of complications arising from a kidney disease for which he was being treated. At the time of his death he was 65 and had been active as a blues performer for more than four decades, first as an itinerant singer-guitarist at simple back country entertainments in his native Mississippi and Arkansas, and fromthe late 1940s as a recording artist, radio performer, and leader of one of the first electric blues ensembles to achieve national prominence.”



Author: Malcolm Nixon

Source: Jazz News, March 15, 1961, p. 8


“GEORGE WEBB of  Jazzshows tells the story of travelling in the West of England with the Acker Bilk Band, all done up with fancy waistcoats, and wearing straw boaters; being near lunch time they got the bus to pull up at a pleasant looking country inn, and everyone poured out straight for the bar for food and a drink.”


Author: Chris Smith
Source: Juke Blues n45, Autumn 1999, p. 62-67


“Sharing his memories of the two Sonny Boy Williamsons with the readers of ‘Living Blues’, Willie Dixon couldn’t resist supplying a tidy conclusion to Rice Miller’s life: ‘And here’s something: the same day Sonny Boy died, his citizenship came through in London, England.’ It didn’t, but Dixon’s desire to have all the loose ends accounted for says something about Sonny Boy Williamson. It’s because he was a great musician and lyricist that we deem it important to establish the true facts of his life and times as far as possible. Sonny Boy was an enigmatic, ornery character, who was unwilling to be interviewed about his life, but happy to improvise on it when he was relaxed and had a few drinks in him. That doesn’t mean he only peddled fantasy and fabrication; some quite surprising assertions turn out to be probably true. Bill Donoghue’s ongoing research towards a biography seems likely to resolve a number of puzzles, but it’s a fair bet that plenty will remain. Sonny Boy would have liked that; spreading a little confusion was his way of asserting control over his identity. As he once sang, mastering the language by mangling it: There’s a whole lots of peoples is talking, but a mighty few peoples know.”



Author: Alexis Korner
Source: The Jazz Review, November 1959, vol. 2, number 10

Article on Muddy Waters, written by Alexis Korner. Read it HERE


Photo by Studs Terkel

Author: Studs Terkel
Source: The Jazz Review, Volume One, Number Two December, 1958, pp 28-29


Article by Studs Terkel, oral historian, radio host and writer, on Big Bill Broonzy in the second number of the Jazz Review, December, 1958. Read it HERE

Liner notes to:  LP “His Story – Big Bill Broonzy Interviewed by Studs Terkel”, Folkways,FW03586, 1957: HERE



Author: Neil Slaven
Source: R&B Monthly, 22 Nov.1965 p. 2-3


“Until October 11th of this year, Walter Horton was one of the cherished ‘names’ of blues discographers and collectors. His work, mainly as an accompanist, is treated with awe and excitement. With Sonny Boy gone, previously the only one to equal him on the harmonica, Horton must surely be the champion of the blues harp. His staggering instrumental “Easy”, on Sun 180, points to this fact, as do his accompaniments to such singers as Johnny Shines, Willie Nix, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers and Tampa Red. It is paradoxical that the man who produces such virile music should in his appearance look
so physically broken. Life has not used Walter Horton well during his 47 years, but he is proud of what he has accomplished in that time, and this proudly defiant manner is echoed by his unique mastery of the harmonica.”



Author:  Alan Balfour

Source: document transmitted by A. Balfour to my attention


“Otis Spann first recorded with Muddy Waters in 1953. If we discount an isolated 1949  Johnny Jones session this was Muddy’s first recording with a pianist since his Chess debut with Sunnyland Slim in 1947. The 23-year-old Otis Spann was to hold down the  piano stool in Waters’ equally lucky band in a fruitful and unique collaboration that lasted for the next seventeen years.

Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, where he was born on March 21, 1930 to Frank  Houston Spann and Josephine Erby, Otis Spann was of a younger generation than fellow pianists Sunnyland Slim, Roosevelt Sykes or Memphis Slim, but his early musical tutelage was very similar. In Spann’s case, he was inspired to play the piano at the age of eight by a local pianist, Friday Ford: “I think he was a genius and down to the present time before he died he taught me all I know. He used to take me and put me across his knee and tell me ‘The reason you right here at the piano, ’cause I’m trying to make you play,’ but I couldn’t ’cause I was too young and my fingers wasn’t developed”,1 he affectionately recalled in 1960.”