Chicago Blues (1920s-40s)
The history of the blues plays an integral part in the history of Chicago. Chicago is the 3rd blues capital of the world, preceded by New Orleans and Austin. Some of the very well known names in the blues made their name in Chicago, and some of the finest blues clubs in the world are in Chicago. Consequently, Chicago blues was possibly the most important influences on contemporary rock music.
Chicago Blues History
Chicago blues began following the Great Migration of African Americans from the southern US to the industrial cities of the northwest, such as Chicago. This new population included musicians, and the blues evolved as a consequence of those influences from musicians playing as street musicians, in rent parties, along with other events in African American communities.
Possibly the most critical ancient incubators for this blues music was the open minded market on Maxwell Street in the 30’s and 40s. Maxwell Street was among the largest open-air markets in the country. It had been a natural location for unsigned musicians to do, earn tips, and jam with some other musicians.
It was about the same period when card games like poker and 247 blackjack where becoming very popular. A combination of blues music and gambling was an option back then , but people preferred to keep these two popular trends separate.
Earwig Music and Musicians
Michael Frank, the founder of Earwig Music, became involved with the blues in his years as a junior senior high school student. Michael Frank took the harmonica and joined the band of David “Honeyboy” Edwards.
Frank founded Earwig Music Company in 1978 with the explicit objective of recording and booking underrepresented artists. Frank made his mark, reissuing classic blues albums to make them accessible to a broader audience.
In one specific case, Frank was able to do a lot more than increase the reach of a record. In case of Little Brother Montgomery, the musician and his spouse had a complete catalog of recordings that hadn’t been commercially distributed.
Michael Frank has recorded a number of most important Chicago blues players. Including Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, and Lovie Lee.
Harmonica and Chicago Blues
The harmonica in blues music developed around the World War II era. Rural southerners brought country blues with them. The feel of the music changed, too, with the relaxed, populous nation blues speeding up and becoming more hugely active.
After World War II, amplified harmonica begins to take on a brand new role, as Little Walter adapts jazz and rhythm-and-blues saxophone stylings to blues harmonica and integrates swing seamlessly into down-home blues.
Harmonica blues players
- Big Walter Horton
- Billy Branch
- Sugar Blue
- Carey Bell
Earwig Chicago Musicians
Since of Chicago’s deep history with the blues, there are a number of talented Chicago musicians.
- Big Leon Brooks
- Jim Brewer
- Corky Siegel
- Little Willie Anderson
- Liz Mandeville
- Phil Baron
- Michael Frank
- Billy Branch