This one day, it was a summerday in 2008 I sat outside a bar in my hometown Rotterdam and thought about visiting a concert, there are plenty of music festivals during that time. The thing is a lot of bluesdogs passed away over the years. So my dream to see Junior Wells or Johnny Copeland has been dead and gone for many years. I had to attent at a concert of young musicians.
Chicago 6.00 A.M, it’s the just before sunrise while a silent Maxwell Street awakes. Early in the morning the first amplifiers and harp-microphones are turned on. People walk by and the music start It’s the way I imagine Maxwell Street around the ’40 / ‘50. Garbage canes, maybe a firepit. It is, you tell me ‘Come early in the mornin’, baby ’bout the break of day’ Now ya oughta see me grab the pillow where my baby used to lay.
Early in the Morning
Bluesmen Sonny Boy Williamson I sings the blues traditional “Early In The Morning” on the corner of Maxwell street. The Chicago-Blues-sound develops, Sonny had to play loud because other bluesmen played their tunes on ‘his’ corner. A amplifier helps to make yourself intelligibly. Because of that harp, guitar, drums and singers arise above the noise of fellow musicians, that noise of multiple bands on Maxwell Street made the Chicago Blues.
Maxwell Street Bands
There was this bluesmen born in Marksville Louisiana born Marion Jacobs , he played the harmonica on Maxwell street since 1947 too. Accompanied by fellow bluesmen Johnny Young, Othum Brown, and Big Bill Broonzy. Broonzy once said about Walter Jacobs. “He played harmonica ya’ know but he used to follow me to try to play the guitar. Me and him be playing together, we’d go out to make some money and he wouldn’t want to play the harmonica. He’d want to play what I was doing. So he finally learned.” Big Bill Broonzy also played the song “Early in the Morning together with Litthe Walter, and I’m for sure, he played it on Maxwell Street, or around the corners of the Jewish Market on the South side of Chicago where the Chicago Blues was born.
Sonny Boy Williamson was killed on the Chicago South side after a performance. Little Walter got stuck in a fight in a Chicago Bluesbar. It was not only fun on Maxwell street, but they made some incredible tunes there.
Junior Wells Maxwell Street
The heritage of Little Walter was difiicult but they found his successor on Maxwell Street. Ten Years later Maxwell street is still the Same. Blues dogs like Muddy Waters passed by, are already part of the Chess Family and I can’t Be satisfied reached the #1 position on the charts. The world changed Maxwell Street did not. Junior Wells recorded the song Early in the Morning. He also moved from the south, Memphis to Chicago. After Little Walter quitted Muddy Waters band It was junior who took his place. Maxwell Street a community of Blues Musicians.
“Everybody is going to have the Blues. If they haven’t already had ‘em, they ‘re gonna have ‘em.” – Johnny Shines
John Ned “Johnny” Shines (April 26, 1915 – April 20, 1992) was born in Frayser outside Memphis. Johnny Shines is member of a small group Blues musicians who played the Delta Blues and the electric Chicago Blues.
Shines started playing the Delta Blues at the end of the twenties and in the thirties alongside Robert Johnson. He moved during the 40s to Chicago to play a perfect Chicago Blues style. He built his remarkable repertoire in a period of 60 years.
Johnny Shines Little Wolf
Shines grew up in Memphis. He was widly inspired by Howlin’ Wolf at the start of his career, he absorbed the Southern Blues style from Wolf till the point he was called Little Wolf for a while. He once said about Howlin’ Wolf: “I was afraid of the Wolf, like you would be of some wild animal….It was the SOUND he was giving off!”
I think Johnny plays both styles very well. While listening to his record Ramblin’ Blues recorded in New York during the period 1972 and 1974 you get the perfect mix between Chicago and the Delta. If you compare his music to Mance Limpscomb, the delta sound is clear comparable, but Johnny Shines work is modern and more extensive. It is obvious that Johnny Shines plays the roots, an example is the Ramblin´ Blues.
Johnny Shines Blues tradition
Johnny Shines was companion of Robert ‘soul to the devil’ Johnson. They met in Memphis in 1934, and traveled through the south along and Canada with David “Honeyboy” Edwards, until close before Johnson died. Shines kept on playing the music of Johnson throughout his death. Eventually Robert Johnson became Shines main influence after Howlin’ Wolf. Maybe that explains the two sided Blues style of Shines.
Johnny Shines and Robert Johnson footage
Johnny Shines was part of a forensic research starting in 2007, when a picture of Shines an Johnson was leased. Before that picture was released there were only two pictures of the most important blues musicians verified, Shines was part of the third picture. The picture of Shines and Johnson was used on the cover of The Complete Recordings: Robert Johnson released in 1990.
British newspaper the Guardian wrote a very nice article about the picture of Robert Johnson and Johnny Shines. For those who are interested: Click here.
Tonight I listened to a show Messin’ With The Blues, it’s a performance of Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and the great Muddy Waters, live at the Montrieux festival in Switzerland. Every last one of the songs has great lyrics in that show.
Messin’ With The Kid
This song ‘Messin’ With The Kid’ is one of my favorite. The art of repeating, and changing the sequince of words, I love that. Even without the music, just the lyrics by themselves contain that blues feeling., the rhythm and the groove. The groove and the rhythm, like that.
Black Bull Blues Lyrics
You know the kid’s no child, and I don’t play
I says what I mean and I mean what I say
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah,
oh look at what you did
You can call it what you want to,
I call it messin’ with the kid
Here is the show I’m talking about, watch it if you like. Later on Muddy an Buddy perform. And at one point Buddy tells the people they “get a better thrill out of playing here than at home.” At that point I feel like this:
Just ten years ago People what I would do
No one would ever know
Just ten years ago
People how I would live my life
No one would ever know
The things that I think I would do
Ooo, no one will never know.
Later on it ends with: Yeah, play the blues
It was a world class line up: Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Bill Wyman, Pinetop Perkins, Terry Taylor, Dallas Taylor
Released in 1954 by Chess Records.
Hoochie Coochie Man was written by Willy Dixon and played by Muddy Waters for the first time in 1954. This record is considered one of the most important songs in blues history. And therefore, a reason to write about it on Black Bull Blues.
When Hoochie Coochie Man was released it reached the #8 position on the Black Singles Chart in 1954. In 1998 the song was awarded with the Grammy Hall Of Fame award. Hoochie Coochie Man is also featured on the Rolling Stone Magazine list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
According to Wikipedia Hoochie Coochie was a provocative dance that became widly popular during, and after, the Chicago World Fair in 1893. Since the dance was performed by women, a hoochie coochie man “either” watched them or ran the show. Alternatively, from the directly sexual meaning of hoochie coochie, he greatly enjoyed sexual intercourse.