20 Memorable Blues Performances

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Hound Dog Taylor
HoundDogTaylor&Houserockers
Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers, in the Ogg Hall basement cafeteria on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, about 1970. I was immediately and irrevocably hooked.
Hound Dog Taylor
Luther Allison Band
LutherAllisonBand
Luther Allison Band, regulars at the Nitty Gritty in Madison. Kids wore t-shirts under their winter coats, since it always seemed to be 20 below outside and about 100 inside the packed bar.
Luther Allison Band
John Mayall
JohnMayallBluesbreakers
John Mayall played Chicago's Kinetic Playground, I think, early 70's, with the the incredible Bluesbreakers incarnation featuring Harvey Mandel, Larry Taylor and Sugarcane Harris.
John Mayall
Siegel/Schwall Blues Band
siegel-shwallband
Siegel/Schwall Blues Band, in their prime, in a livestock building on the UW Ag campus.
Siegel/Schwall Blues Band
Muddy Waters
muddywaters
Muddy Waters/Paul Butterfield Blues Band (I think)/BB King at Milwaukee's Summerfest, early 70's. Hard to believe Muddy was the opener! I've seen BB many times, but it's his audience I remember most at this show: middle-aged black ladies, dressed to kill, swooning and calling out to BB. They were as much fun to watch as the band.
Muddy Waters
Koko Taylor
Koko Taylor photo from promoarchive.com/ Photofeatures
Koko Taylor at the hallowed north side venue, Biddy Mulligans. How could such ferocity come out of such a sweetheart? Can't recall the headliner at Theresa's famed south side lounge when I went with XRT's former news director, CD Jaco and Chuck, who later became my husband. That's because shortly after we arrived, CD spotted a character packing a gun, and we were outta there.
Koko Taylor
Son Seals
SonSeals
There were always great nights with Son Seals, Mighty Joe Young, Otis Rush and others at the Wise Fools Pub on Lincoln Avenue when Dave Ungeleider was running the show, late-seventies, early eighties.
Son Seals
Lonnie Brooks
Lonnie Brooks
Lonnie Brooks Blues Band at Chicagofest 1980, out on Navy Pier, documented, thankfully, on XRT's first CD release, Blues Deluxe. Also cool to see him play the Tippecanoe Lake Country Club in Indiana, of all places, a couple summers ago.
Lonnie Brooks
Willie Dixon
willie-dixon-1
Willie Dixon at a west-side high school in the early 80's. One of my rare MC appearances for this XRT show, I got to meet the legend. I was struck by his enormity: his girth, his talent, his smile.
Willie Dixon
Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee
Sonny Terry Brownie McGhee
Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee at a Lincoln Park club, can't remember which, early 80's. But I do remember they were fun, a bit crotchety and masters of acoustic blues.
Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee
Bonnie Raitt
Bonnie Raitt
Bonnie Raitt and David Bromberg at Park West, '83 or so. Touring solo without a record deal, she and guest guitarist Bromberg, disciples of Mississippi blues greats, were an unexpected, knockout duo.
Bonnie Raitt
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughn at Chicagofest, early 80's. First and last time I got to see him perform. Elegant, daring firepower.
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Ray Charles
American Masters: Ray Charles
Ray Charles at Chicago Blues Fest, Raelettes and all, 1998. A once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and for free!
Ray Charles
Mose Allison
Mose Allison
Mose Allison at Ravinia's Martin Theater in 2002. The jazz side of blues. Cool to see him open for Van Morrison at the Auditorium Theater once, too.
Mose Allison
Lynne Jordan
Lynne Jordan
Lynne Jordan, at what was Green Dolphin Street, late 90's. The soulful blues diva is one of Chicago's fabulous, should-be-more-famous singers.
Lynne Jordan
Clapton's Crossroads Festival
Clapton
Clapton's Crossroads Festival at Chicago's Toyota Park, 2007. Arguably the best blues-infused bonanza of all.
Clapton's Crossroads Festival
Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal at the short-lived Morse Theater in Rogers Park, 2008. Whether playing solo, or with full-blown band, he is a warm, genuine, versatile bluescologist.
Taj Mahal
Derek Trucks Band
Derek Trucks Susan Tedeschi
Derek Trucks Band and Susan Tedeschi's Soul Stew Revival at Milwaukee's Summerfest in 2008. The husband/wife team keeps the blues torch burning brightly in the 21st century.
Derek Trucks Band
Buddy Guy
Buddy Guy
Buddy Guy, especially at Legends in recent years, running wild in his own club, with his terrific band and guests galore. Does it get any better?
Buddy Guy
buddy-guyKW
buddy-guyKW
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