Friday, May 27, 2016


Here, for your listening pleasure, is our fifth and final non-definitive (but no less essential for it) 1950s Blues in Chicago playlist. This round picks up where the previous post from 1954 left off and will eventually bring us to the end of the fifties and just beyond. Leading off is Robert Lockwood and his 1955 take on the “Sweet Home Chicago” theme, popularized in the 1930s by his “stepfather” Robert Johnson. We’ve also got a couple of tough Parrot/Chess numbers by J. B. Lenoir. 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 and Muddy Waters were sporting a tough new sound, and Memphis Slim, formerly fronting a sax-led guitarless band, was now using Matt Murphy to great effect.

Robert Jr. & His Combo • Aw Aw • 1955

Robert Lockwood Jr., vocal/guitar; Ernest Cotton, tenor sax; Sunnyland Slim, piano; poss. Alfred Elkins, bass; 
Alfred Wallace, drums. Chicago, c. May 1955

Label image: George Paulus, courtesy of The Red Saunders Research Foundation

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