The 1950s was the golden era of the blues. During World War II, countless blacks left the fields for factories in cities such as Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland, working assembly lines and moving the blues from rural juke joints to urban nightclubs. The music changed, too. With the advent of the electric guitar and amplification, the blues grew louder, bolder, and hotter. Dozens of transplanted Mississippians, from Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon, to Sonny Boy Williamson, James Cotton, and Little Walter Jacobs, recorded for Chess Records, creating a blues sound with bite that was as vital an American sound as the rock & roll being recorded in Memphis and the jazz from New Orleans. Chicago also gave us the “West Side Sound” as typified by Cobra Records artists such as Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Magic Sam. This episode tells the story of Chicago blues and highlights the great artists that recorded for Chess, Checker, Cobra, VeeJay, and the other classic Chicago labels. Interview segments include words from the seminal Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Willie Dixon as well as a number of other now deceased bluesmen, including Jimmy Rogers, Junior Wells and Luther Allison. Most of the interviews will be mined from BMP’s exhaustive oral history collection. The program will be capped by a performance from Buddy Guy.
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