living blues in postwar Chicago
April 20, 2008 5:09 PM   Subscribe

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)
posted by madamjujujive (16 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Whoa, these photos are EXCELLENT. This is a great find, mjj. Consider it favorited about 10 times from yours truly.

Related: an FPP I made back in January on Chicago's Maxwell Street.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:25 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

THis really struck me as authentic. You can almost feel their blues through the photos.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:44 PM on April 20, 2008

Flapjax, I missed your post the first time around. I just checked it out and really appreciate all the old footage. Having lived in Chicago for 13 years, I love looking at its history. Chicago's history is rich in culture and tradition. It is a blue collar city with a small town feel.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:53 PM on April 20, 2008

Thanks madamjujujive, and flapjax too for your earlier post which I loved when I first saw it.

Oddly, instead of seeing "blues", I see people who at least appear to be rising above it through their personal, family and social connections. Now when you put that blues music to these pictures? I get "the blues".
posted by LiveLurker at 6:33 PM on April 20, 2008

Native sons.
posted by stbalbach at 6:53 PM on April 20, 2008

The wonderful Hubert Sumlin reminisces (all too briefly, unfortunately) about Maxwell Street.

Entertaining interview with Muddy Waters in Norway, 1977. A typically earnest but somewhat awkward young fellow interviews Muddy. Muddy shows a hint of annoyance toward the end with the "political" question... then he calls Norway a "small island". Heh heh!

I recently purchased a DVD with a film from 1970 called Chicago Blues, which I'd recommend highly for its covering both well-known and unknown blues artists, giving equal weight to both. It takes a frank look at the hard realities of the blues life, and life in Chicago. Here's a clip from the film, including performance and interview with Muddy Waters.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:56 PM on April 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm curious if events and interactions during the war lead the photographer to adopt the mentality he did when taking the photos, or that he already had the mindset, but simply gained the confidence or drive to go forward and take the pictures from the war.

Very nice link, thanks.
posted by Atreides at 6:56 PM on April 20, 2008

OK, sorry y'all, just one more Muddy link (I love him so much) and then I'll stop cluttering up this thread: my FPP on Got My Mojo Working.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:05 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Great post. I appreciate it.
posted by veggieboy at 7:24 PM on April 20, 2008

Great post--thank you.
posted by Bummus at 7:27 PM on April 20, 2008

Hey flapjax, quit your foolin - adding Muddy Waters links is a gift, not clutter - you can never have too much Muddy. McKinley Morganfield and Chester Burnett are two of my main men ;-)

You know, I hadn't been on the wikipedia page for blues in a long time, and it is not half bad - someone has been putting a lot of work into it. It gives a pretty good historical overview of the early blues development for anyone who is wanting to learn more.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:04 PM on April 20, 2008

mjj, thank you for this link.

It is perfect.
posted by maggieb at 10:22 PM on April 20, 2008

I'm really pleased that Magnum is now getting its online act together
posted by bonaldi at 3:53 AM on April 21, 2008

That was really wonderful. Thanks so much, mjj.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:23 AM on April 21, 2008

Excellent photos. Unfortunately my favorite— of the man dancing, which appears right before this one— doesn't appear in the Magnum portfolio for Wayne Miller.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:55 AM on April 21, 2008

I love that one too, shakespeherian, he is so into his dancing and so are the band members, smiling away at his moves. He has a derby and tall riding boots, and what looks to be a tux jacket. It might be in his book - Chicago's South Side, 1946-1948 - which I think I am going to have to buy now after seeing his work.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:36 PM on April 21, 2008

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