Home » Jazz Musicians » Randall "Big Daddy" Webster

Randall "Big Daddy" Webster

Randall “Big Daddy” Webster's Bluesography

Growing up in Wheaton, Illinois (also home to Jim and John Belushi), he snuck into the Windy City’s most notorious Blues clubs. They soaked in the music of Muddy Waters, Otis Span, Junior Wells, Big Joe Turner, and other Blues legends holding school on stage. Webster would often jump the “L” (elevated train) to Maxwell Street where itinerant Bluesmen plied their trade on the corner. Webster’s first guitar, a Harmony Stratatone, came from Duke’s pawnshop north of the old market. He scavenged record bins for vintage vinyl from his new Blues heroes. But eventually Chicago Top-40 radio on WLS and WCFL stole his ears.

The teenage Webster learned how to run a P.A. system, frequently working for area Blues bands in the very clubs he once snuck into as a child. During one sound check with Otis Rush, the band suddenly stopped mid-song only to hear Webster belting out a verse of “I've Got My Mojo Working.” They chuckled loudly, and then Rush said, “Not bad for a skinny white kid!” The Blues flame was lit again and Webster never looked back musically.

Webster polished his vocal skills in the late 1970’s singing jingles for Chicago area radio stations, and sitting in with most any Blues band that would have him. Wrapping his four-octave tenor voice around tunes, Webster frequently was called the “Pavarotti of Blues.” His vocal acrobatics and expressive singing style wrenched every bit of emotion out of each tune.

Read more


Critic's Quotes

“After years of playing rhythm guitar to the Jacksonville Jazz Festival's flashy lead, George's Music Springing the Blues appears ready to step into the spotlight for a solo. …Yesterday's festivities drew an estimated 20,000 people to performances by artists including Fruteland Jackson and Big Daddy & Red Hot Java. …Big Daddy had them dancing on the beach!” - Nick Marino (Florida) Times-Union 4/02

(Big Daddy & Red Hot Java’s) Firebrewed got me burning! Exciting, soulful, sexy, deep, undulating Blues with a kick... that's what Big Daddy & Red Hot Java delivers with it's Firebrewed CD

Read more

Robert Cray
guitar, electric
Willie Dixon
bass, acoustic
Bettye LaVette
voice / vocals
Joe Cocker
voice / vocals
Keb' Mo'


Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.