132

Various: Chicago, The Blues, Today!

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
If you're looking to own a single blues compilation, Chicago The Blues Today! isn't a bad choice. Recorded in 1965 as three separate albums, this music introduced legions of white rock fans to the electric blues, a genre that was largely unknown outside the ghetto neighborhoods of Chicago's South Side. Vanguard has gathered the three recordings in a single low-priced collection and added some excellent remembrances by writer Ed Ward and the albums' producer Sam Charters.

Truth is, these three discs saved electric blues from possible extinction. Back in the early '60s, most people viewed the blues as a revivalist offshoot of acoustic folk music. Preconceptions even forced Muddy Waters, one of the pioneers of electric blues guitar, to often go acoustic when he played outside Chicago. Chicago The Blues Today! showed the world that blues music could be just as contemporary as R&B, pop or rock, and every bit as soulful.

With the possible exception of Waters' pianist Otis Spann, most of these performers were unknown outside Chicago when these recordings were made. The popularity of these three records helped to kick start many careers. There's so much great music here: Junior Wells' ultra-tight band (with Buddy Guy) supporting his swaggering, James Brown-like vocals and fiery harp; Otis Rush's nasty guitar on "I Can't Quit You Baby," a song that was later copped note for note by Led Zeppelin; Otis Spann's incendiary boogie piano; Johnny Young's bluesy mandolin; James (then Jimmy) Cotton's raucous harp playing; and equally great music from J.B. Hutto, Homesick James, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton and Charlie Musselwhite.

If my endorsement isn't enough to sway you, know that Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt and many other blues-oriented rockers were heavily influenced by this collection. It's a must-have for any fan of the blues.

| Record Label: Vanguard Records | Style: Blues


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp" CD/LP/Track Review The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Unspoken" CD/LP/Track Review Unspoken
by Andrew Luhn
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Revelation" CD/LP/Track Review Revelation
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Reunion
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Wonders" CD/LP/Track Review Wonders
by Mark F. Turner
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "Nihil Novi" CD/LP/Track Review Nihil Novi
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!