FAME Review: Various Artists - Chicago Blues: A Living History, The [R]Evolution Continues
Various Artists - Chicago Blues: A Living History, The [R]Evolution Continues

Chicago Blues:
A Living History,
The [R]Evolution Continues

Various Artists

Raisin' Music -- RM1004

Available from Raisin' Music's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This is the second two-disc in a series paying tribute to the men and women who were the creators of what has become known as the Chicago Blues Scene, the raucous music that came up the Mississippi River to escape the social oppression of the deep south. The musicians on this disc played with the pioneers of the music that was brought north from the Mississippi Delta region from its original acoustic roots to plug into the electricity of the city of Chicago, they are the living link from the root to the present. They were instrumental in all the music of today that came from the Blues, Rock and Roll and Pop music. Included on the disc are some special appearances by some of those still living legends: Buddy Guy, James Cotton, and Magic Slim. The songs are arranged in rough chronology that highlights the music from the piano driven country blues that has been electrified, to the classic Chicago Blues that are electric guitar and harmonica driven—the sound that would eventually become Rock and Roll. The oldest song on the disc is John Lee Williamson's She Don't Love Me That Way written in 1941, the latest song written in 1998 is Ronnie Baker Brooks' Make These Blues Survive. Then there is a bonus track from Muddy Waters written in 1977, The Blues Had a Baby (and The Named It Rock and Roll).

At times the notes are a bit confusing about this disc; there is a Living History Blues Band, however it is a rare cut on the disc that they all play together. The band is comprised of some very good players; Billy Flynn on guitar, Matthew Skoller on harmonica, Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith on drums, Felton Crews on bass, and Johnny Iguana on keyboards. They are the basic band and then Ronnie Baker Brooks, Zora Young and Mike Avery augment them at times, while Buddy Guy, James Cotton and Magic Slim are the special guests. However not to get hung up on the basics of the band, it is the music that is important here and it is played with a passion. All of these musicians were raised on the blues, had their early schooling with the blues and they all know how to play the blues; that is what they do and they do it damn well. Listen to tunes as diverse as Chuck Berry's Reelin' and Rockin' and Floyd Jones' Stockyard Blues, the former is a precursor to the branch that would become Rock and Roll, and the latter is a solid example of Electric Chicago Blues. However in both that feel of the song is honest and true and it is evident played by people that were groomed in the Blues.

Track List:

Disc 1Disc 2
  • He's a Jelly Roll Baker (Lonnie Johnson, 1942)
  • I'll Be Up Again Someday (Hudson Whittaker, 1946)
  • She Don't Love Me That Way (John Lee Williamson, 1941)
  • Canary Bird (McKinley Morganfield, 1949)
  • Chicago Bound (Jimmy Rogers, 1954)
  • Stockyard Blues (Floyd Jones, 1947)
  • Diamonds at Your Feet (McKinley Morganfield, 1956)
  • Rocket 88 (Jackie Bretson, 1951)
  • Reelin' and Rockin' (Chuck Berry, 1958)
  • Medley: Mellow Down Easy/Bo Diddley (Elias McDanier/Willie Dixon, 1954/1955)
  • First Time I Met the Blues (E. Montgomery, 1950)
  • Keep A-Drivin' (Chuck Willis, 1958)
  • Easy Baby (Samuel Maghett, 1958)
  • Howlin' for My Baby (Chester Burnette, 1962)
  • My Daily Wish (Robert Lockwood, 1960)
  • Yonder Wall (Elmore Jones, 1965)
  • Be Careful How You Vote (Albert Luandrew, 1980)
  • Somebody Loan Me a Dime (Fenton Robinson, 1967)
  • Got to Leave Chi-Town Lurrie Bell, 1984)
  • Don't Take Advantage of Me (Lonnie Brooks, 1983)
  • Ain't Enough Comin' In (Otis Rush, 1994)
  • Make These Blues Survive (Ronnie Brooks, 1998)
  • The Blues Had a Baby (and They Named It Rock and Roll) (McKinley Morganfield, 1977)

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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