For every Magic Sam or Elmore James that’s mentioned in the same breath as Chicago Blues, there’s a lesser known artist who also deserves a listen. Here are a pair of quality Chicago bluesmen to add to your collection.
Well-known among blues enthusiasts, Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials are one of the best bands to come out of Chicago during the 1980s. Often compaired to Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor, Lil’ Ed Williams learned to play slide at the knee of his uncle, guitar slinger J.B. Hutto.
“Hold That Train,” from his album Full Tilt, is just that: a full-tilt boogie that shows everyone from Clapton to the Stones and back exactly how it’s done.
It’s not just the full-time name-brand players who keep the Chicago Blues tradition alive. It’s the weekend warriors and two-nights-a-week guys like Steve Temkin who make it happen, too.
Born in Chicago, Tempkin is an advertising guy by day and the front man of the Chicago Blues Mafia by night. Though his recordings are a whole lot more raw than some of his counterparts in our catalog, we want to give props to the guys who are keeping it real in the real world of the Chicago Blues (every other weekend, when the kids don’t have soccer matches!).