Thursday, August 02, 2012

Chicago Blues – The Fifties – part 3

Here, for your listening pleasure, is our third and final 1950s Chicago blues playlist, picking up where the previous post left off c.1954 and bringing us up to the end of the fifties and just beyond. Eddie Taylor’s debut single for Vee-Jay, the tough “Bad Boy” with Jimmy Reed on harmonica, starts things rolling, followed by Muddy Waters at the apex of his Chicago “big band” period with “I’m Ready,” featuring a soaring Little Walter harp solo (the original record label credits “Muddy Waters & His Guitar” even though those semi-solo days are long past and he now has the support of Jimmy Rogers and a full rhythm section); “Dissatisfied” features the great SBW on amplified harmonica, a rarity for him. By the mid- to late-fifties, the South and West sides of Chicago were beginning to usher in the modern blues guitar sound pioneered by B. B. King, with young turks like Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, and others leading the foray. Even Elmore James was sporting a tough new sound and Memphis Slim, formerly fronting a sax-led band, was using Matt Murphy on guitar to great effect.

Photo: Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson, Chicago, c.1953 by Big Bill Broonzy/Yannick Bruynoghe Collection. From Living Blues No. 55, Winter 1982/83. 

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