WBEZ | Chess Records http://www.wbez.org/tags/chess-records Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 'Morning Shift' #57: Remembering Chess Records http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2012-11-28/morning-shift-57-remembering-chess-records-104095 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chuck_Berry_1972 (1).JPG" alt="" /><p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-57-remembering-chess-records.js"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-57-remembering-chess-records" target="_blank">View the story "'Morning Shift' #57: Remembering Chess Records" on Storify</a>]</noscript><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 07:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2012-11-28/morning-shift-57-remembering-chess-records-104095 Buddy Guy: From the farm to fame http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/buddy-guy-farm-fame-99599 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4398790979_52312e7131_z.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 415px; " title="Buddy Guy performing at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago. (Flickr/Aaron Warren)" /></div><p>Buddy Guy: His name is as synonymous with blues music as that of his idol, mentor and father-figure, Muddy Waters. But Guy would be the first person to say he could never equal or surpass the musical prowess of &ldquo;Mud.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s the kind of man Buddy Guy is: humble and honest. His middle name should be &ldquo;Nice.&rdquo;</p><p>But he is also a determined man. From the day he heard his father&rsquo;s friend, Coot, play a beat-up, two-string guitar when he was a youngster living in a shack with his family in the small town farm town of Lettsworth, Louisiana, Buddy seemed to know that music was meant to be his life.</p><p>But the blues wasn&rsquo;t the first music that touched his heart &ndash; it was the singing of the birds. Guy grew up in the fields of a plantation, picking cotton alongside his dad. He loved and still loves the outdoors and nature.</p><p>How do I know this? I just finished reading Guy&rsquo;s biography, <a href="http://www.buddyguy.net/news/buddy%E2%80%99s-autobiography-%E2%80%9Cwhen-i-left-home%E2%80%9D-available-may-8"><em>When I Left Home: My Story</em></a>.</p><p>Guy takes the reader on a wonderful ride filled with humor, sadness, some regret, lucky breaks and, of course, music. I learn that Guy made his first two-string guitar by stripping some of the wire from the new screen window his mom, Isabell, bought. When he was 12 years old, his dad plunked down $4.32 to buy his son Coot&rsquo;s guitar.</p><p>Like many African-Americans in the first half of the 20<sup>th</sup> century, Guy left the south to come north to Chicago. He arrived on September 25, 1957, a small town young man with no prospects and enough cash to last maybe a month. But boy, what a ride. Guy came to Chicago when blues music was the music of choice for African-Americans, especially the working class who toiled away in the factories and needed release of all kinds after slaughtering cattle at the stockyards or making steel.</p><p>I believe Guy&rsquo;s breaks, in what he calls &quot;the crazy blues life&quot; of Chicago, were equal parts luck, humility and kindness. No, he wasn&rsquo;t a saint. But he also certainly wasn&rsquo;t rough and tumble like some of his early heroes and peers in the blues life.</p><p>Another of those talented characters was the father of Chicago blues: McKinley Morganfield, aka Muddy Waters. There&rsquo;s good reason Guy&rsquo;s book is dedicated to Muddy Waters, &ldquo;father to us all.&rdquo;</p><p>From the first night Guy met Muddy Waters, who was driving his red Chevy wagon outside the 708 Club, until Water&rsquo;s death in 1983 at the age of 70, Guy was always in awe of Waters and his creativity.</p><p>Guy hit Chicago at the height of blues in Chicago, then rode the waves of its decline in the African-American community and its ascendance among white fans around the world. Now at age 75, Guy is a legend. He may have slowed down some, but he continues to show no lack of energy and creativity when he picks up his guitar. I think after 55 years in Chicago, we can rightly call him one of our own and beam with pride.</p><p>He&#39;s my guest on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> Tuesday. Join us!</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/43046857?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff0000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="600"></iframe></p></p> Tue, 29 May 2012 08:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/buddy-guy-farm-fame-99599 Linksomania: Whither Music Row and Uptown Theater? http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-12-02/linksomania-whither-music-row-and-uptown-94515 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-02/Uptown theater_flickr_BWChicago.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We’re long overdue to catch up on some links of interest, so let’s dive right in, starting with a flurry of stories in recent weeks that, while essentially just wishful thinking to date, hint at the possibilities of what could be if the city worked to create two landmark music districts, one in the South Loop and one in Uptown.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-02/Chess Records_Flickr_Joseph A.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" title="The former home of Chess Records. (Flickr/Joseph A)"></p><p>My ol’ pal and former <em>Sun-Times</em> colleague Dave Hoekstra first reported on the ambitions of <a href="http://chicago2ndward.com/">Ald. Robert Fioretti</a> (2nd) to at long last involve the city in the restoration of the Chess Studio at 2120 S. Michigan, site some of the most important and influential blues and rock recordings of the 20<sup>th</sup> Century, and to create a museum at the Vee-Jay/Brunswick building nearby at 1449 S. Michigan. (The Chess building is owned by <a href="http://www.bluesheaven.com/">Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation</a>, which never has had the cash to properly restore it or even regularly open the doors, while nothing at all is happening at the Vee-Jay/Brunswick locale. The neglect for both landmarks is a sorry contrast to, say, the way Memphis treats Sun Studio, or Detroit lauds Motown.)</p><p>As is typical for the<em> Sun-Times’</em> dicey web site, Hoekstra’s original piece is nowhere to be found online, though <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/6974832-474/time-for-a-music-row-to-showcase-the-blues.html">this link</a> to an impassioned editorial that followed notes that, “ideally, Chess would become a fully equipped recording studio again, just as Sun is, and the strip as a whole might be reminiscent of Beale Street in Memphis, where tourists hop from club to club.”</p><p>It seemed as if the actualization of this worthy goal hadn’t gotten far beyond Fioretti forming an advisory panel <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/music/8037695-421/cheap-trick-wants-to-open-museum-concert-venue-in-record-row.html">until Hoekstra reported last month</a> that those power-pop giants and favorite sons of Rockford, Cheap Trick, have agreed to “‘curate’ a museum and music venue in a former Buick dealership at 2245 S. Michigan,” stocking it with the legendary guitar and drum collections of Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos and also offering, according to the band’s ever-hustling manager Dave Frey, “a one-of-a-kind eatery… radio station, and performance space.”</p><p>Granted, this sounds dangerously close to a Hard Rock Café, and the last thing Chicago needs is another joint like that in this historic neighborhood or anywhere else. On the other hand, Nielsen helped create a pretty cool and mighty tasty eatery with Piece Pizza in Wicker Park, and if the Cheap Trick slice of the South Loop is closer in spirit to that than some tourist trap, we all could heartily applaud.</p><p>Meanwhile, quite a ways to the north, optimism continues to build regarding restoration of the Uptown Theater and, with it, the creation of an Uptown Music District, even if bona fide concrete plans for either remain scarce or sketchy at best.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-02/Uptown theater_flickr_BWChicago.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" title="The Uptown Theater (Flickr/BW Chicago)"></p><p>In the most in-depth piece of reporting on the Uptown since <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2008/04/the_theater_wars_the_fight_for.html">this blogger’s 2008 piece</a> about the epic fight for control of the historic theater between Jam Productions and Live Nation, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/ct-ent-1012-focus-uptown-rehab-20111011,0,3028369,full.story">the <em>Tribune’s</em> Mark Caro toured the majestic venue</a> in early October with its current owner, Jam’s Jerry Mickelson, recounting the history, and reporting that a serious renovation could cost as much as $70 million.</p><p>Where would this substantial pile of cash come from? No one really says, but Caro quoted the new mayor’s enthusiasm for the building—“It’s stunning,” Emanuel told him—as well as repeating his talk of an Uptown Music District centered on the Uptown and Riviera theaters, the Aragon Ballroom, and the Green Mill. “It can happen now because people are finally seeing the intertwined connection between culture and economic development,” the mayor said, and his Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Michelle Boone readily seconded: “It’s like the stars are all in alignment.”</p><p>“Of course, the stars are one thing,” Caro concluded. “Money is another.”</p><p>Indeed, and with the new administration and the council just beginning to hear from residents about living with the ramifications of approving one of the most onerous budgets in Chicago history, the story to watch in coming months is whether Emanuel offers more than just encouragement for both Uptown and Music Row… and what schemes are hatched to make any of these noble dreams a reality absent an infusion of public funds.</p></p> Fri, 02 Dec 2011 09:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-12-02/linksomania-whither-music-row-and-uptown-94515