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Living Chicago Blues 2
Various Artists
Living Chicago Blues 2
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Living Chicago Blues 2
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Alligator Records
Release Date: 7/12/1991
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Chicago Blues, Contemporary Blues, Electric Blues, Modern Blues, Piano Blues, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime, By Decade, 1970s
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 014551770220, 014551770213, 014551770244

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CD Reviews

These four collections dominate
Tim Holek | 05/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

Living Chicago Blues Vol. II
Alligator ALCD 7702

Nowhere has blues been so transformed as in Chicago. To this day, gritty, electric blues fills its night air. Alligator's Living Chicago Blues series was created to record and bring attention to the city's overlooked or undiscovered talent. The hope was blues would "not be resigned to mere history". In Jim O'Neal's excellent liner notes, originally written in 1978, it is interesting to observe how little some things have changed. He writes, "The powerful recording conglomerates show little interest in blues".

As a minimum, each volume features four artists with session players as historically rich as the recordings themselves. The Grammy nominated Volume II contains two of the best guitarists and two of the best pianists. Three of these authentic artists still record and perform regularly even though they are senior citizens. Talk about Living Chicago Blues! It's hard to imagine that at the time of these recordings, none of these read deal musicians were big names in the blues.

Lonnie Brooks has been on the scene for half a century. His incisive bands have been a breeding ground for the next generation of blues greats. It's hard to believe "Don't Answer The Door" was recorded in '78, since the song still sounds contemporary. It features Brooks' deep blues grooves, booming vocals, and cutting guitar. "Two Headed Man" has become a staple as has the signature guitar solo Brooks performs on it. Magic Slim received his nickname from his mentor, guitar great Magic Sam. Slim moved to Chicago in the '60s, and by '72 he had replaced Hound Dog Taylor at a prominent South Side blues club. At the time of this recording Magic Slim was the essence of Chicago blues guitar, and he still is in 2005. On "Stranded On The Highway", he and his Teardrops perform as if they were born and raised with each other. When Slim plays a vibrato solo on "Spider In My Stew", it strikes a chord in your soul.

The departed Johnny "Big Moose" Walker was a Korea veteran, and Earl Hooker was his closest music partner. "Would You, Baby?" features classic Chicago blues piano performed like few before or after Walker. His dominant vocals rein mighty on "Worry, Worry". Like all the classic ballparks that are now gone, they don't play or record blues guitar like Louis Myers performs on "Cry, Cry Darling". Acclaimed pianist Pinetop Perkins is best known for his days spent with Muddy Waters. When it comes to piano, the nonchalant gentleman may easily be considered the pussycat of the blues. Not surprisingly, many Waters alumni recorded with Perkins on these sessions. Within seconds, he flies up and down the keyboards, while singing like an alley cat on "Take It Easy, Baby". His proficient piano and Sammy Lawhorn's legendary guitar cannot be challenged on "Blues After Hours".

There are four volumes in the Living Chicago Blues series. Originally issued in the late '70s on six LPs, every song in the collection has been put onto four CDs, each lasting over an hour long. Until a more modern series of recordings is made, these four collections dominate as the most current reflection of Chicago blues. Get any of them as fast as you can. If you've never been to a Chicago blues bar, any of these CDs will let you know what you are missing.

--- Tim Holek