Back in 1960-1961 Freddie King released a song called “Hideaway” on the Federal label and reached the top of the blues charts for several weeks. Sources write that Hound Dog Taylor wrote the song in 1960 and Freddie took some parts of it for his version of the hit. Hound Dog version didn’t reach as high as Freddie’s and he didn’t get any credit but, in any case, he recorded the most badass version of them all.
This isn’t about the punk classic “London Calling”, we are calling Chicago, through British bluesman Cyril Davies. His “Chicago Calling” is everything a good blues song needs. Kicking off with a killer honky-tonk Piano tune, and wild swinging harmonica melodies the up-tempo vocals start in. “Chicago Calling” is enjoyable every one of the 145 seconds.
Unique video Freddie King: Performance at the Travis Co. Jail
The style of Freddie King speaks for itself and what it says to anyone is grooving blues, tight guitar playing and attitude. In 1976, not long before Freddie’s death, producer, filmmaker and editor Ric Sternberg shot a piece of Freddie King performing for inmates at the Travis Co. Jail. Watch this unique footage of Freddie King and his half-brother Bennie.
Video by Ric Sternberg
Like Johnny Cash and other musicians in those days did, Freddie and his half-brother Bennie were invited to play for the inmates at the Travis Co. Jail. The prisoners loved it. So did the musicians. Ric sternberg shot it with help from William McLellan & Linda Evans. It was shot with a single tube camera.
Chicago blues project: A living History
These guys made the roots of all popular music. It were legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and many other Chicago Bluesmen. They blew me away with their songs like “The Blues Had a Baby and they named it rock ‘n roll” and “Wang dang Doolde”. The long and fascinating history of Chicago Blues is still an inspiration for many musicians, The greatest artist in the blues came, performed or recorded songs in this city.
The Chicago Blues made the blues grittier and raw like city life ensembles. A new project Alive and Kicking, Chicago Blues a Living History tries to continue this legacy and therefore a campaign on Kickstarter kicked off.
Earl Hooker – Off The Hook 1969
He is one of the great Chicago Blues slide Guitarist and you can easily compare his virtuosity to Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor. His surname reminds you of that other great bluesman John Lee, but Earl Hooker was an unique figure in the blues. His talent is perfectly recorded in the video Off the Hook from a 1969 performance.
Records for multiple Labels
During his career Earl Hooker recorded for Cuca, Chief/Profile/Age, Arhoolie and Bluesway records. He collaborated with almost every great bluesman around, including Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, BB King and John Lee Hooker.
Remixed Blues Songs | Smokestack Lightnin’ – Howlin’ Wolf
The great Howlin’ Wolf recorded amazing songs in Memphis, London and Chicago, but if you have to pick one song that really has all features of a signature Wolf song, it is Smokestack Lightning“. In 1956, four years after Howlin’ Wolf moved to Chicago Smokestack Lightnin’ was recorded and it became one of his most popular and influential songs. It is based on earlier blues songs and numerous artists later interpreted it.
Even today Smokestack Lightnin’ is an inspiration for musicians and DJ’s. A lot of musicians including Soundgarden and Lynyrd Skynyrd covered the song. Also DJ’s change this old blues classic in new danceable song. My favorite remix of Smokestack Lightnin’ is the version of Beat Diplomacy.
Howlin’ Wolf meets Wilfred Skimbleshanks – Smokestack Lightnin’ (Beat Diplomacy Remix)
Beat Diplomacy is an electro acoustic act from London formed by Tomas Gorol (producer) and Michele Budda (saxophone, piano) in 2014. Their genre varies over electro swing, blues and jazz. Their major inspiration is taken from artists like Parov Stelar, Gramatik, Goldfish or Big Gigantic.
They recently released their first EP Get Back To Swing! which includes collaborations with guitarist Fernando Salomao and vocalist Ana Laura Martins.
From Moanin’ in the Moonlight (1959).
Muziek ‘Smokestack Lightnin” van Howlin’ Wolf ( • • )
Howlin’ Wolf “Smokestack Lightning” Live 1964
Must listen masterpiece Big Bill Broonzy’s song “Hey Hey”
He has influenced the Pre- and Post war blues scene, and in his early years he made fame as a folk blues musician. But when he moved to Chicago we really found out this bluesman from the south was a big man in Blues. The influence of Big Bill Broonzy on other musicians is huge.
Muddy Waters released a full length album with Big Bill’s work and Eric Clapton made a successful cover of the hit song “Hey Hey”. Clapton’s version was part of his unplugged album. The original “Hey Hey” by Broonzy is in my world an absolute favorite.
Big Bill’s playing style in ‘Hey Hey’
The way Big Bill Broonzy plays the difficult but catchy guitar riff is inspiring. In the version that was recorded live in 1956 you see a laid back Broonzy playing “Hey Hey” in a silent bar. Everybody in the audience is amazed, I guess, by the song Big Bill plays. I can watch this song over and over again and stay amazed by the smooth guitar playing style of Big Bill Broonzy.