Monday, May 08, 2006

Various Artists - Chicago Ain't Nothin' But a Blues Band (Delmark 1972, 1999)

I'm partial to this record because it has one of my all time favorite album covers. The look on the kid's face is just priceless. The music isn't half bad either, as it is a collection of blues and blues-rock from the Delmark archives. Pianist Sunnyland Slim contributes some killer tracks like "Recession Blues" and the jumping "Everything's Gonna Be All Right" while there are some rare early tracks from Eddie "The Chief" Clearwater while he was going through a serious Chuck Berry phase.

In fact, much of the collection comes from the intersection of early rock 'n' roll, r&b and blues, a pivotal time where talent was as important as style and blues still had a chance to be a hit. It's fascinating to hear the veterans like Slim and Henry Gray (another Chicago piano pounder that had a long and productive career) giving way to the young guard of the time, artists like Clearwater who were paving the way for r&b to morph into rock 'n' roll. This was a great example of how potent the Chicago blues and r&b scene was in fifties and sixties, when the city was seemingly awash in great music.

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