Chicago's Maxwell Street Market
wasn't just a market: it was a stage that played host to many an exuberantly ragged
, hard grinding
blues performance. It was lively
. You could get there on The Happy Bus
. And of course, one of the greatest musicals in the history of American cinema paid homage to the street, as the setting for a fabulous performance by John Lee Hooker of his iconic "Boom Boom
". (Note: See mouseovers for link descriptions.)
There have been several documentaries made on the subject of Maxwell Street. Here's a little info on one called Maxwell Street Blues
There's a bit of interesting information here and there at this site, And This Is Maxwell Street
, though it's mostly designed to advertise the CD of the same name. This CD, by the way, features the music from the 1964 Maxwell Street film documentary, called And This Is Free
. The Robert Nighthawk clip in this FPP (linked to under hard grinding
) is from this film, which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to have been rereleased on DVD. This page
has some info on the film and capsule bios on the musicians seen in the film and/or heard on the CD.
Here's an extended trailer
for the documentary "Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street
Maxwell Street: Still Hanging On
Maxwell Street Wikipedia page
And just for good measure, here's another version of John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom
. And what the hell, for extra good measure, here's his powerfully understated, riveting Hobo Blues
, from 1965, which is probably my all-time favorite JLH performance on film.
And thanks to my buddy Ken Kawashima, who sent me the Carrie Robinson YouTube link that got me started on tracking all this Maxwell Street stuff down.