"We've come tonight to bring you some joy, some happiness, some inspiration, and some positive vibrations. We want to leave you enough to last you maybe the next six months." Eight years ago this month, soul/pop/gospel music legend Mavis Staples released a live recording titled Live: Hope at the Hideout. Recorded in Chicago's tiny Hideout Lounge, these thirteen songs of protest, hope, and defiance feature Mavis with a stripped down, raw and swampy three-piece band and just a handful of back-up singers. You can stream the entire album here (YT) and all things considered, you really should. [Alt link: stream from her record label's site]
Hubert Sumlin, the legendary guitarist for Howlin Wolf, and many others, has passed away. An appreciation.
"He was one bad dude, strutting across the stage like a harp-toting gangster, mesmerizing the crowd with his tough-guy antics and rib-sticking Chicago blues attack." - All Music Guide. He was also a sharp-dressing mofo who, at the end of his storied life, was buried in "his creaseless sky-blue silk suit and matching homburg, a shiny trove of harmonicas laid out beside him, a pint of gin nestled nearby to ease his journey home". In the opinion of many, he was the greatest blues harmonica player of all time. [more inside]
Wayne Miller's compelling B&W photos of Chicago 1946-1948 set to Muddy Water's "I feel like going home." (flash alert; via bifurcated rivets)
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, eccentric, ecstatic. 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.) [more inside]