Blues Birthday

Happy 45th Anniversary Kingston Mines – 2548 N. Halsted Chicago, IL

This weekend Kingston Mines celebrates their 45th Anniversary. An incredible accomplishment made even more amazing when you consider it has been owned and operated by Doc Pellegrino and his family the entire time. Kingston Mines has long been associated with the two bands and two stages setup….again, this is really unlike any other blues club out there and the fact that they feature two bands every night when many clubs are cutting live music out of their schedules is another tribute to Doc’s love for the blues. I personally began working with Doc and Kingston Mines in 1996 and have been a huge fan and supporter of the club since then. Over the years we broadcast Hundreds of live shows and spent thousands of hours watching and listening to some of the greatest musicians in the world.

If you haven’t been there before make it a point to stop in and check the place out. So much history and so many great performers have gone through those doors. And in addition to the great music that has been played on it’s stages, the club also was the original home to the musical Grease in the 60’s and was the spot where a young John Belushi and Dan Akroyd spent many nights watching, sitting in and honing their musical chops, and pulling together the inspiration for the the characters who would eventually become Jake and Elwood Blues….The Blues Brothers.

Check out their website for more info or check here to see the latest schedule information for Chicago’s Oldest and Largest Blues Club – Kingston Mines.


Happy Birthday Hound Dog Taylor

Hound Dog Taylor
Born on this date in 1915 in Natchez, Mississippi Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor moved to Chicago in 1942. While he had been playing guitar for more than 20 years it wasn’t until 1957 that he became a full-time musician. He was known for his electrified slide guitar reminiscent of Elmore James and his undeniable boogie beats that kept the crowd grooving. While popular in the local club scene Hound Dog remained relatively unknown until 1970 when he played a part in what would eventually become one of the most famous and influential record labels in the history of the blues….Alligator Records. The following excerpt is taken from Wikipedia.

Hound Dog TaylorAfter hearing Taylor with his band, the HouseRockers (Brewer Phillips on second guitar and Ted Harvey on drums) in 1970 at Florence’s Lounge on Chicago’s South Side, Bruce Iglauer – at the time a shipping clerk for Delmark Records – tried to get him signed by his employer. Having no success getting Delmark to sign Taylor, Iglauer formed a small record label with a $2500 inheritance and recorded Taylor’s debut album, Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers, on his fledgling Alligator Records in 1971. It was the first release on Alligator, now a major blues label. It was recorded in a studio in just two nights. Iglauer began managing and booking the band, which toured nationwide and performed with Muddy Waters and Big Mama Thornton. The band became particularly popular in the Boston area, where Taylor inspired a young protégé named George Thorogood. A live album Live At Joe’s Place documented a Boston appearance from 1972.

Their second release, Natural Boogie, was recorded in late 1973, and led to greater acclaim and touring. In 1975, Taylor and his band toured Australia and New Zealand with Freddie King and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. His third Alligator album, Beware of the Dog, was recorded live in 1974 but was only released after his death. More posthumous releases occurred as well, including Genuine Houserocking Music and Release the Hound, on the Alligator label as well as some bootleg live recordings.
Taylor died of lung cancer in 1975, and was buried in Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.

Like many blues musicians before and after him Hound Dog Taylor enjoyed his fame and popularity late in life and while his star burned brightly he didn’t live long enough to fully enjoy it or his impact on the blues. It is a testament to the man and his music that nearly 40 years after his death his music still makes you want to get and dance along with the boogie beats whether you are in a juke joint or your living room. From the corner on Maxwell street, to the clubs of Chicago, or Blues Festivals (like the video below from Ann Arbor 1973) you always knew what you were going to get from Hound Dog Taylor. Raw, electric, funky, driving blues that was dripping emotion….No matter what tune (or whether it was in tune) you could feel Hound Dog’s heart and soul with every note. Happy Birthday Hound Dog – Enjoy!

Happy 100th Birthday Muddy Waters

Muddy+Waters+PNGMuddy Waters would have turned 100 today, a good time to take a few minutes to look back at the music of one of the legends who helped define Chicago Blues. It’s hard to really put a handle on just how important Muddy was to the blues. Back in the 50’s and 60’s when Chicago was really hopping with blues you could see Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter and so many others at the clubs scattered across the cities South and West sides. Muddy was influential for so many blues artists but also was revered by the British invasion musicians who often came to Chicago just to seek out and watch Muddy play. A couple of videos that should be required viewing….the first is a classic from the Newport Festival.

and then a longer video from Soundstage. This was a show that was broadcast on July 18th, 1974. Just check out this track list and list of musicians and then enjoy the video below. Happy 100th Muddy!

“Blow Wind Blow/Introduction” (4.12)
“Welcome and talk about the blues” (all)
“Intro by Nick Gravenites/Long Distance Call” (10.41)
“Messin’ With The Kid” (3.47)
“10 Long Years” (6.03)
“Mannish Boy” (6.20)
“Wang Dang Doodle” (3.12)
“Walkin’ Thru The Park” (4.20)
“Hoochie Coochie Man” (5.09)
“Sugar Sweet” (4.20)
“Got My Mojo Working” (6.16)

Muddy Waters, vocals, guitar 1-3,6,9,11
Michael Bloomfield, guitar 1-11
Dr. John, vocals 10, piano 1,2,5-11
Phil Guy, guitar 7-9
Willie Dixon, vocals 7,9,11
Koko Taylor, vocals 2,7,11
Buddy Miles, drums 2,6-11
Johnny Winter, vocals 2,8, guitar 6-11
Junior Wells, hca 3-6,8-11, vocals 2,4,5
Nick Gravenites, vocals 2,4, intro 3
Muddy Waters’ Band (probably):
Al Radford, bass 1,3-11
Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, drums 1,-3-5
“Pine Top” Perkins, piano 1,3,4,11