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The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: Bob C. ()
Date: December 29, 2011 15:20

They buried Hubert Sumlin two weeks ago at Washington Memory Gardens Cemetery in Homewood, laying to rest the man whose ferocious guitar riffs galvanized Howlin' Wolf's classic recordings of the 1950s and '60s.
Just before Sumlin's casket was lowered into the ground, young Chicago blues artist Shemekia Copeland stood at his graveside and sang "Life's a Rainbow," her arms outstretched to the coffin. Barely 30 people showed up at the funeral — which was paid for by Sumlin admirers Mick Jagger and Keith Richards — bidding silent farewell to a bluesman who left Chicago years ago, dying in New Jersey at age 80.
As the wind blew across the cemetery grounds, Chicago blues musician Todd Park Mohr stepped near the casket and chanted a song of his own. It honored a man who helped define Chicago blues a couple generations ago, at long-forgotten clubs such as Silvio's, on the West Side:
Howard Reich

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Fly away from here, Mr. Sumlin.

The ground in New Jersey has gone cold. ...

When you ever gonna learn,

Chicago always gonna be your home.

Drive away from this evil world, Mr. Sumlin.

Drive that old car back to Silvio's.

But Sumlin wasn't the only Chicago blues master who left us in this dark year for the music.
David "Honeyboy" Edwards, the last of the original Mississippi Delta bluesmen, died in August at age 96, having performed tirelessly as singer-guitarist until a few months earlier. His death cut our last direct link to blues pioneer Robert Johnson and the other creators of the genre who had played with Edwards in his youth.
Pinetop Perkins, who brought the art of rambunctious blues piano playing to a pinnacle, died in March at age 97, his capacity to make the keys rumble and a band holler virtually undiminished until his last days. If blues piano-playing had a patron saint, it was Perkins, who performed his miracles in Southern roadhouses and Chicago saloons, and in February became the oldest person to win a Grammy Award, for "Joined at the Hip: Pinetop Perkins and Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith."
Smith died this year, too, in September at age 75, his drum work immortalized on Muddy Waters' treasured recordings of the 1960s and '70s, Smith's rhythms also powering Pinetop Perkins' bands during the last years of both their lives.
All these men — Sumlin, Edwards, Perkins and Smith — picked cotton under the scorching sun of the Mississippi Delta early in the previous century, in the aftermath of slavery. Their music gave voice to that era and brought it to Chicago, where they invented an urbanized blues that would become inextricably bound with this city but now is heard here less and less.
From this point forth, the blues must struggle on without them.
The road to oblivion

No musical genre goes away entirely. The devout still sing Gregorian chant — among the oldest known written scores — in select cathedrals. Guillaume de Machaut's 14th century motets turn up in performances of early music groups. Operettas by Franz Lehar, folk songs of Appalachia and even disco hits of the Bee Gees enjoy an afterlife in remote corners of our musical culture.
Ever since notes could be etched on paper, no beloved music has gone completely silent, especially since recorded technology emerged in the late 19th century. But some genres have become so peripheral to American lives as to be reduced to historical footnotes. Studied by academics, performed by die-hards and applauded by connoisseurs, they're forgotten by nearly everyone else.
This is where Chicago blues is headed. A once visceral, urgent, profoundly complex music that told the story of a people — and, in so doing, ricocheted around the world — is slipping from public embrace in its primary home, Chicago, and beyond. Nearly banished from radio and TV, practically absent from the popular press and rarely heard in schools, real Chicago blues must be sought out, and only the most intrepid listeners find it.
The idiom that gave us the ferocious vocals of Muddy Waters and the rumbling chants of Howlin' Wolf now subsists in a few South and West Side joints and emerges strangely reconfigured in more commercial outposts downtown and on the North Side.

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: StonesTod ()
Date: December 29, 2011 15:52

the chicago blues idiom lives on just fine...

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: Chris Fountain ()
Date: December 29, 2011 15:59

Don't forget the late great Big Twist:





Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: Naturalust ()
Date: December 29, 2011 16:01

RIP Mr. Sumlin, RIP Mr. Smith, RIP Mr. Perkins, RIP Mr. Edwards

I'm with StonesTod on this one, the Chicago Blues is alive and well in my soul. I personally have been so influenced by guys like Muddy Waters that you couldn't pry the Chicago Blues out of me with a jackhammer. I'm sure I'm not alone either. peace.

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: Turner ()
Date: December 29, 2011 16:13

Not at all...



Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: Edith Grove ()
Date: December 29, 2011 16:21

Anyone know if Mick or Keith actually attended Sumlin's funeral ?


Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: BroomWagon ()
Date: December 29, 2011 16:27

Actually, there are a number of those kinds of artists I think, they just may not be the original masters. [en.wikipedia.org]

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: 1cdog ()
Date: December 29, 2011 17:37

*** I missed Honeyboy Edwards passing away.

I saw him in 2004 in Dallas at Clapton's guitar festival. Honeyboy played a solo set inside a venue there at the fairgrounds in Dallas one night. It was well attended by it was on a side stage - all standing. Looked over my shoulder and EC had walked in and was enjoying the show himself. Even in 2004 the guy was amazing.

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: StonesTod ()
Date: December 29, 2011 17:48

Quote
BroomWagon
Actually, there are a number of those kinds of artists I think, they just may not be the original masters. [en.wikipedia.org]

as long as there is a chicago and there is the blues there will be chicago blues...or something.

sumlin was a relatively minor player in the field...his passing hardly signifies the end of anything significant...

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: dewlover ()
Date: December 29, 2011 19:45

I've seen him live on numerous occasions, and chatted w/him, and altho he was a sweet and gentle man, and a wonderful guitar player, his style was subtle, and it was more about what he didn't play, than what he did play...I certainly would not describe his playing as "ferocious"...R.I.P. Hubie !!!

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: Lien ()
Date: January 22, 2012 14:35

Hubert Sumlin Memorial Concert Planned For 24 February In NYC

A memorial concert honoring the great bluesman Hubert Sumlin is planned for 24 February 2012 at New York's famed Apollo Theater. Sumlin died at age 80 on 4 December. Some of those joining together to honor the legendary guitarist include Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr., Keb Mo, Doyle Bramhall, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dr. John, Levon Helm, Shemekia Copeland, Steve Jordan, Willie Weeks, Ivan Neville and more. Surprise guests are likely. Stay tuned for more information including ticket on sale details. Tickets are expected to go on sale soon. Lineup subject to change.

[www.whereseric.com]

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: Harm ()
Date: January 22, 2012 20:40

Quote
Lien
Hubert Sumlin Memorial Concert Planned For 24 February In NYC

A memorial concert honoring the great bluesman Hubert Sumlin is planned for 24 February 2012 at New York's famed Apollo Theater. Sumlin died at age 80 on 4 December. Some of those joining together to honor the legendary guitarist include Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr., Keb Mo, Doyle Bramhall, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dr. John, Levon Helm, Shemekia Copeland, Steve Jordan, Willie Weeks, Ivan Neville and more. Surprise guests are likely. Stay tuned for more information including ticket on sale details. Tickets are expected to go on sale soon. Lineup subject to change.

[www.whereseric.com]
Beam me up to New York please

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Date: January 22, 2012 20:46

Quote
Edith Grove
Anyone know if Mick or Keith actually attended Sumlin's funeral ?

I think Keith paid for his funeral but not attended.

Could be wrong though.

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: TheDailyBuzzherd ()
Date: January 22, 2012 20:50

Let's put it this way: How heavy did those blues cats pave the road
with their work? Plenty heavy, I'd say. So it ain't goin' away. Oh,
it'll fall in and out of fashion as will anything, but it's here
to stay. Relax now.

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Date: January 22, 2012 20:56

No end in sight...




Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: whitem8 ()
Date: January 23, 2012 06:13

As long as there is a Chicago there will be Chicago Blues. The Chicago blue scene still thrives. I am looking forward to the Chicago Blues Fest this summer. Dancing and drinking in Grant park off the lake is a wonderful experience.

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: mtaylor ()
Date: January 23, 2012 13:18

Buddy Guy still alive!

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: jbowman2 ()
Date: January 23, 2012 19:51

I was lucky enough to see Buddy Guy live this weekend. The mayor was there, so he did an extra long, 2-hour set. He does a residency at his club here in Chicago every January, and its AMAZING. (There are still tix available for some days if anyone is interested).

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Date: January 26, 2012 16:20

End?

Meanwhile,

By Mark Guarino | Reuters – Sun, Jan 22, 2012

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Music that went silent nearly 40 years ago on an historic stretch of Chicago's celebrated Michigan Avenue is poised to return, thanks to an unlikely mix of rock stars, politicians and real estate developers.
Chicago has rezoned Motor Row -- near Chess Studios, the famed "home of the electric blues" -- as a live entertainment district, set to open in early 2013.
The building stock is "quite remarkable," says developer Pam Gleichman, CEO of Landmark America, Illinois, the company spearheading the project.
"This historic location gave birth to all this wonderful music that we listen to today. Chicago is astounding for playing a role in all that history."
Early in the last century, Motor Row was one of the nation's showroom districts for the nascent automotive industry. The buildings themselves were used as marketing tools as they featured large glass storefronts, generous spaces and exotic ornamentation.
Music bloomed nearby -- just north of Motor Row was Record Row, the center of Chicago's recording industry between the late 1940s and the mid-1970s, once second only to New York City. Record labels Vee-Jay, Chess, Wonderful and King all operated studios along the strip, which mainly housed large record distributorships.
Landmark recordings by Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley and others were made there. The Rolling Stones recorded an early EP at Chess and titled one of the songs, "2120 South Michigan Avenue" - the building's address - in its honor.
The dozens of labels that operated on Record Row produced a wide range of genres, said Chicago music historian Robert Pruter.
"It was jazz, it was blues, it was R&B, it was soul, it was gospel and, in some places, it was country and western," Pruter said. "It was a flourishing area."
Today, all the auto showrooms but one are shuttered and no remnants of Record Row remain except Chess Studios, which is operated by a non-profit and is only open intermittingly for tours.
Gleichman said the district will incorporate both the automotive and music narratives and the live music component will feature a variety of music, not just blues.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel started the process by green-lighting a new $50 million L train stop adjacent to the site, Gleichman said.
At least five buildings will be used for live entertainment and restaurant venues as well as a hotel. A former Buick dealership will feature a 9,500-square-foot restaurant with a live entertainment stage and adjoining outdoor space. Running the restaurant is Grant DePorter, which runs the Harry Caray chain of steakhouses.
Partnering on the music end is Cheap Trick, the Midwest rock band that started its career in nearby Rockford, Illinois. The band will operate an Internet radio station from the building, which will also serve as a museum curating the band's nearly 40-year history, including memorabilia and Rick Nielson's vast collection of guitars.
The band plans to approach the venue with no limits, which means either establishing a regular residency or staging special events with special guests.
"Ultimately, if they could play there and not play anywhere else, that would be ideal," said band manager Dave Frey. "It will be like their sandbox."
Alderman Bob Fioretti sponsored an ordinance forcing all new development in the district to be commercial, not residential. The city also plans to widen sidewalks and make streetscapes friendlier for increased foot traffic and outdoor dining.
Fioretti said that despite the Cheap Trick connection, he hopes the district will incorporate the city's deeper blues music past.
"It's easy for the political folks to forget the history. We are the home of the blues and it's something we need to revive," he said.
The revival is a long time coming, say music historians who complain Chicago has done little to acknowledge the many blues, jazz and gospel greats who made their best work here.
"Chicago doesn't really celebrate its musical heritage except for the lakefront festivals," said Bruce Iglauer, president and founder of Alligator Records, the Chicago-based blues music label.
Iglauer said New Orleans, Nashville, Austin and Memphis have capitalized on their unique musical heritages to erect museums, statues, parks and business districts to cultivate a cultural identity that boosts tourism.
"There were visionaries in those cities who could see music as a tourist attraction. That never happened in Chicago. It would be wonderful if it invested in the image of Chicago as a music city on a national level," he said.
Chicago blues star Buddy Guy said he has fond memories of getting his start at Chess soon after he moved to Chicago in 1957. He recalled the first time he saw the Rolling Stones, who came into the middle of one of his sessions.
"I had never saw white guys with hair that long. I said 'what the hell is this?' That was the Rolling Stones and they were trying to get started in Chicago," Guy said.
Guy has called on the city to advocate for a blues museum that would honor the Southern musicians who created and popularized electrified blues in this city.
"Now they call Austin, Texas the live music capital of the world," he said. "But it belongs here."

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: StonesTod ()
Date: January 26, 2012 16:44

Quote
steel driving hammer
"Now they call Austin, Texas the live music capital of the world," he said. "But it belongs here."

too bad, buddy. we're keeping it.

Re: The end of Chicago Blues?
Posted by: dewlover ()
Date: January 26, 2012 20:17

Silly Question

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