Blues Video

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!

Chicago blues guitarist Jimmy ‘Fast Fingers’ Dawkins dead at 76

Fast Fingers on Delmark Records is a Classic Chicago Blues Album

Fast Fingers on Delmark Records is a Classic Chicago Blues Album

The blues world lost another superstar on April 10th, 2013 when Jimmy Dawkins passed away at the age of 76. A few obituary links and a video are included below. Jimmy Dawkins was a monster guitar player who helped define the West Side sound along with other greats like Magic Sam and Otis Rush.

Read the Obituary From the Chicago Sun Times Here

Read the Obituary From the Huffington Post Here

From Vern’s Lounge – Chicago 2005. Jimmy Dawkins on guitar along with Lurrie Bell (guitar), Tail Dragger (Vocals), Billy Branch (Harmonica), Bob Stroger (Bass), and Kenny Smith (drums)

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

Son Seals – On My Knees (from 80’s TV Show)

Longtime TCBX fans and even casual listeners know how much we truly loved Son Seals. The Bad Axe was a true bluesman and Cornbread and I spent countless incredible nights at clubs around Chicagoland and the Burbs watching Son and his band tear it up. Son almost always featured multiple horn players in his bands during that time period and it was great. Personally I would love to see more blues bands use horns today but unfortunately the economics of leading a band doesn’t always allow for those luxuries. Son was the complete package though, he grew up living behind his father’s Juke Joint and was exposed to all kinds of blues and musicians at an early age. I came across this video today from an 80’s era TV show and enjoyed it because it featured Son in a more traditional blues band setup without the horns. I know Snapper Mitchum is the bass player in this video but like the poster I am not sure of the other members. Can any blues fans name them?

Over the years we have had a chance to do many recordings with Son Seals and did dozens of interviews with him including one memorable remote broadcast where Son decided to stop by and sit in with us for most of the show spinning blues and telling stories. We’ll get some of those interviews up on the site soon but for now enjoy this look back at a Titan of Chicago Blues and one of my own personal favorites…the legendary Bad Axe….Son Seals.

Freddie King live in Europe 1973-74

I still remember the first time I stumbled on a live version of Freddie King’s classic Goin’ Down….it was a late night and I was doing a 6 month stint in Telluride, CO and broadcasting TCBX on KOTO FM. I was previewing some tracks from an album and when he kicked into Goin’ Down it was like my jaw hit the floor. The stinging guitar, the emotion he puts into it, the intensity….it’s all there. Needless to say I played the track on the air almost immediately and from then on I started listening to all the Freddie King I could find. He was an incredible performer and a guy that left this world too soon like so many of the other blues greats.

I found this video of Freddie and thought it was a nice look at him and offered the rare chance to see a whole performance. Imagine what it must have been like sitting there in those front row tables enjoying dinner and a cocktail or 7 while Freddie King tore it up 10 feet away. Wow! If you had a chance to see Freddie King live feel free to share your stories. If you haven’t heard him before he is absolutely required listening when it comes to the blues.


Howlin’ Wolf – Legend of Chicago Blues

Born Chester Burnett he performed under the name Howlin’ Wolf and for many he defined the sound of Classic Postwar Chicago Blues. Along with Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Little Walter among others the Wolf helped lead the charge and brought blues to the forefront of music. Personally, from the second I heard Howlin’ Wolf sing his first lyric I was hooked….instantaneously and for life. So many great songs and legendary stories about his live performances. I like this video because it captures his sense of humor and shows him having fun with the camera and the viewers. Vintage stuff from a true titan of Chicago Blues History. To learn more about Howlin’ Wolf and his life story you can visit the official website here

Would love to see some Howlin’ Wolf stories posted in the comments if anyone has anything they would like to share.