WBEZ | Muddy Waters http://www.wbez.org/tags/muddy-waters Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en StoryCorps Chicago: Tales from Theresa's Lounge http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-tales-theresas-lounge-112473 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bh_storycorps_pokempner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Marc PoKempner is a <a href="http://www.pokempner.net/book.html">photojournalist </a>who has worked extensively with the <em>Chicago Reader </em>and <em>People</em> magazine.</p><p>But in the 1960s he was just a college student in Hyde Park, interested in photography and the blues.</p><p>StoryCorps producer Francesco De Salvatore interviewed PoKempner recently.</p><p>And they spoke a lot about a basement bar in Chicago on the corner of 43rd and Indiana called Theresa&rsquo;s Lounge, where many of the city&rsquo;s most famous blues musicians held court.</p><p><em><em>Marc Pokempner was interviewed through a partnership with the Maxwell Street Foundation.</em>StoryCorps&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-tales-theresas-lounge-112473 For Chicago blues, sweet home is hard to find http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-blues-sweet-home-hard-find-111519 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Blues-1-Muddy-Waters-creative-commons-photo-by-Kevin-Dooley.jpg" style="height: 219px; width: 320px; float: left;" title="Muddy Waters, circa 1971. The late music legend will be honored at this year’s Chicago Blues Festival (Kevin Dooley/flickr)" /><em>Updated 11:13 a.m.</em></p><p><em><em>(Editor&#39;s Note: After our story was published the Chicago Blues Experience&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagobluesexperience.com/" target="_blank">launched this official website</a>.)</em></em></p><p>Back in the 1950s Buddy Guy was a young guitarist living in Louisiana. Like others he eventually traveled north to Chicago, where the blues scene was thriving.</p><p>&ldquo;Muddy Waters, Howlin&rsquo; Wolf, all those great guys,&rdquo; said Guy. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s why I came here. To get a day job and go watch them play at night.&rdquo;</p><p>Those musicians not only inspired him to play, but to open the famed Checkerboard Lounge in the 1970s followed by Legends in the late 80&rsquo;s to keep the music alive. Guy says he&rsquo;ll never forget those early days watching <em>his</em> legends.</p><p>&ldquo;The beer was 25 cents a bottle when I came here. And when Muddy played there wasn&rsquo;t no cover charge. The beer was 35 cents,&rdquo; remembered Guy. &ldquo;So the 10 cents was going for the band members. Muddy Waters was in the band. And those were the greatest days of my life.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Guy just received a Lifetime Achievement award at this year&#39;s Grammys. But he and other artists in town say their music should be just as celebrated locally. And they wonder: If Chicago is the home of the blues, then why doesn&rsquo;t it have a permanent home honoring it?</p><div>The blues made important stops in Memphis and St. Louis, but Chicago is where the blues really came alive in the middle of the last century. That&rsquo;s when musicians like Muddy Waters came here from Mississippi, electrified their down home Delta Blues and recorded it for labels like Chess Records.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You can still see remnants of this history around town. Like at the old Chess Records on S. Michigan Avenue and Muddy Water&rsquo;s former house at 4339 S. Lake Park Avenue.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p>&ldquo;This is the house of the blues before there was a house of the blues,&rdquo; said Barry Dollins, former director of the Chicago Blues Festival, standing in front of the boarded up building. &ldquo;This was the rehearsal house.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Blues-4-Barry-Dollins.jpg" style="float: left; height: 373px; width: 280px;" title="Former Chicago Blues Festival Director Barry Dollins stands in front of Muddy Waters’ former home (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" />Muddy Waters bought the home in the 1950s at the peak of his career and lived there for 20 years. It wasn&rsquo;t just a home for Waters and his family. It was a gathering place for other musicians, where countless jam sessions were held.</p><p>Today the red brick two flat is in bad shape.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s just depressing just to see that X up there,&rdquo; Dollins sighed, pointing to a big red X affixed to the front.</p><p>That X means the house is abandoned and unsafe. It&rsquo;s been on and off the market for years. Dollins says the home could&rsquo;ve served as a historic space, much like the Louis Armstrong home in New York. A place where people can see where and how the musician lived and what inspired them.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s sad that there was no forethought in what the significance of this building is,&rdquo; said Dollins. &ldquo;And how it could&rsquo;ve been preserved and utilized.&rdquo;</p><p>In some ways, the neglected house is symbolic of the overall failure to erect a permanent space to preserve Chicago&rsquo;s music heritage.</p><p>&ldquo;Why don&rsquo;t we have a blues museum? It comes down to money,&rdquo; Dollins said. &ldquo;It takes millions of dollars to create a museum.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Steve Cushing is the host of the national radio show &ldquo;Blues Before Sunrise.&rdquo; He said Chicago deserves to have a blues museum, but he&rsquo;s not sure how viable it would be.</p><p>&ldquo;How would you pay for it and where would you put it?&rdquo; asked Cushing. &ldquo;It would seem that you would want it in a place that was related to the actual location of the blues. But if you put it on the south side, would tourists, would white folks go down there?&rdquo;</p><p>If something does ever get off the ground, it won&rsquo;t be called the Chicago Blues Museum. That&rsquo;s because local guitarist Gregg Parker copyrighted that title.</p><p>&ldquo;They call me the black Indiana Jones. If I can&rsquo;t find it, it doesn&rsquo;t exist,&rdquo; said Parker.</p><p>Parker once played with Mick Jagger and Buddy Miles among others, but now mostly collects artifacts for traveling exhibitions.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t need a building to do what I&rsquo;m doing. I own it,&rdquo; said Parker. &ldquo;The blues museum is a state of mind. It&rsquo;s not a building.&rdquo;</p><p>In fact, the address for Parker&rsquo;s museum&rsquo;s is a P.O. box number. He once had a storefront space but won&rsquo;t say why it closed. He gets a little defensive&nbsp;when asked when the public could see his whole collection.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to tell you my itinerary,&rdquo; scoffed Parker. &ldquo;You might be a thief!&rdquo;</p><p>Parker shows how fragmented and disorganized efforts are to showcase the blues in Chicago. Many say the only way to get everyone on the same page &mdash; and all the artifacts under one roof &mdash; is for the city of Chicago to get involved. They point out that City Hall moved mountains for the proposed George Lucas Museum and the Obama Presidential Library.</p><p>So why hasn&rsquo;t it done more for the blues?</p><p>The Department of Cultural Affairs sent this statement: &quot;The City of Chicago celebrates its rich blues music heritage each year with the world renowned Chicago Blues Festival on the shores of Lake Michigan. More than 500,000 blues fans attend the festival each year, proving that Chicago is the &ldquo;Blues Capital of the World.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>But some tourists at last year&rsquo;s free festival&nbsp;said they wished there was more to see while they were in town.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been to Buddy Guy&rsquo;s place, but that&rsquo;s about it,&rdquo; said&nbsp;Karl Roque, who came all the way from the Philippines. When asked if he&rsquo;d like to see a museum dedicated to his favorite art form, Roque didn&rsquo;t hesitate. &ldquo;Yes. Why not? Maybe it&rsquo;s about time.&rdquo;</p><p>Buddy Guy agrees.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been begging for it for almost 30 years.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Blues-3-Buddy-Guy.jpg" style="height: 373px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Buddy Guy’s 78th birthday party celebration at his South Loop club Legends (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" />According to Guy he may not have to wait too much longer. Guy has been working with a group that&#39;s been trying to build a blues museum for a few years now. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;They already got the building on Navy Pier,&quot; said Guy. &ldquo;A blues experience museum on Navy Pier.&rdquo;</p><p>No one at Navy Pier would comment. A statement from Tim Wright, co-founder of the so-called Chicago Blues Experience, said they&rsquo;re close to finalizing the details, but can&rsquo;t confirm when.&nbsp;</p><p>In the meantime, another blues museum is moving full steam ahead. Built with a mix of public and private funds, the $13 million, 23,000 square foot space will feature interactive exhibits and a theater for live music.</p><p>But you won&rsquo;t find it in Chicago.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.nationalbluesmuseum.org/" target="_blank">National Blues Museum</a> is set to open this summer in St. Louis.</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews"><em>@yolandanews</em></a> <em>&amp;&nbsp;</em><em><a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/106564114685277342468/posts/p/pub">Google+</a></em></p></p> Mon, 09 Feb 2015 07:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-blues-sweet-home-hard-find-111519 Kenwood is becoming more troubled http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/kenwood-blues-murder-muddy-waters-house-and-other-laments-105217 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/S%20Oakenwald%20Park%20Google%20maps.jpg" style="height: 326px; width: 620px;" title="The park on S. Oakenwald Ave. where Hadiya Pendleton was killed Tuesday. (Google maps)" /></div><p>Let me tie a few of this week&rsquo;s stories together &mdash; all them anchored in my neighborhood, at least one literally right across the street from me.<br /><br />First, the utterly horrific and senseless murder of Hadiya Pendleton, the King College Prep <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-king-college-prep-shooting-0130-20130130,0,796587.story">sophomore who was shot dead </a>at a little park on a very quiet street two blocks from my house. I&rsquo;ve driven by that park literally hundreds, if not thousands of times, since I moved here more than a dozen years ago. I strolled by there with my son last fall, looking forward to when he was old enough to go down that slide.<br /><br />I woke up to this Facebook status yesterday from a friend whose child attends King: &ldquo;Damn. I hope this is the first and only time I have to give one of my kids grief counseling &mdash; a friend of my 14yo was shot and killed while she was walking home today. This world is rough.&rdquo;<br /><br />Yes, pretty damn rough, though you might not get just how rough from reading the <em>Tribune</em> story, for example, which goes out of its way to quote an Oakenwald neighbor of 19 years time: &quot;It&#39;s a great neighborhood. Nothing like this has happened since I&#39;ve been here.&rdquo;<br /><br />True enough, there have been few crimes on that stretch of Oakenwald, tucked just east of Lake Park. According to WBEZ&#39;s gang map, we&#39;re in a little <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2012-09-24/chicago-gangs-abound-where-are-they-102612">gang-free oasis</a>. But here&rsquo;s what the news isn&rsquo;t telling you: There&rsquo;s plenty of crime going on around Oakenwald: drugs, burglaries, armed robberies.<br /><br />The <em>Lakefront Outlook</em>, a <a href="http://hpherald.com/">sister paper to the <em>Hyde Park Journal</em></a>, publishes a weekly police blotter that&rsquo;s a parade of pain: the petty and increasingly not so petty crimes that slowly chip away at any feeling of security or hope. And here&rsquo;s something else: That sweet little park where Hadiya Pendleton was killed is in an area where foreclosures have jumped considerably in the last few years, where, in fact, empty and boarded up houses are no longer unusual. The fall-out of the housing bust has left its debris all over Kenwood, which was overdeveloped and abandoned. (Out of 22 sales in the last year or so in my neighborhood, according to my bank, at least 14 have been foreclosures.)<br /><br />Empty and boarded up houses like the Muddy Waters place, which my colleague Lee Bey <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-01/everything-gonna-be-alright-muddy-waters-historic-south-side-home-could-have">wrote about here</a> last week. I&rsquo;ve known that house since long before I could look out on it from my living room. As a high school kid, I was one of a handful of non-African-Americans who&rsquo;d occasionally come by, especially on weekend summer afternoons when it was sweltering in Muddy&rsquo;s basement studio, with the hope of catching a glimpse and song from the blues great right in his own front yard.<br /><br />Since I&rsquo;ve been living here, I&rsquo;ve seen all sorts of tourists come by, sometimes ferried by bus, and snap their pictures on the stoop. A few times I&rsquo;ve witnessed clean-up efforts, and maybe a year or so ago, new signs for the doors (installed so they read &ldquo;Waters&rdquo; &ldquo;Muddy,&rdquo; one each panel, so you have have to read right to left ... ). I&rsquo;ve peeked in through the windows, walked the perimeter and, in the early years, when it didn&rsquo;t need a gut job, when demolishing it would have been unheard of, wondered why the city hadn&rsquo;t jumped to save it. And always, it seemed, when I called or wrote to the city or any entity I was turned on to, there was something already underway.<br /><br />Here&rsquo;s what I know now: The Muddy Waters home and the empty lot next to it, and the terrified neighbor immediately north of both, are the site of increasingly brash drug dealers. Cars come to a slow stop in front of the Muddy Waters place and greet the young men waiting there. They sit on the sidewalk, stroll up the side of the house and disappear in the back to conduct their business. Sometimes they don&rsquo;t bother to more than lean in the car window. And there&rsquo;s plenty of pedestrian business, enough that sometimes the young men take up residence on the stoop, or on the terrified neighbor&rsquo;s stoop. The neighbors call the cops, and they come. And the young men vanish for maybe a day. And then they&rsquo;re back, like clockwork.<br /><br />I wish I could say the Muddy Waters house is the only one. But there are more than 12 empty units on my block alone, probably more like 20. Go one block south (just one block west of where Hadiya Pendleton was killed) and the story repeats itself. Just north of us, a developer is raising two 450 unit towers, a mixed income project that had too much government aid to be denied, no matter how unnecessary to the neighborhood, which is already a wasteland of empty units. Think how tempting all those barren properties will be to the neighborhood&rsquo;s more restless souls, and how dangerous to the rest of us.<br /><br />The problem isn&rsquo;t merely gun violence, isn&rsquo;t merely not enough cops, isn&rsquo;t merely bad schools or lack of school choice, and isn&rsquo;t merely having few supermarket and shopping options. It&rsquo;s endemic, fundamental, literally from the ground up.<br /><br />How many more Hadiya Pendletons will it take for the city to take a good hard look at our neighborhood and others like it on the South Side? Many, I fear, way too many.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 11:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/kenwood-blues-murder-muddy-waters-house-and-other-laments-105217 Music Thursdays with Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele: Numbers http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-01/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-and-richard-steele-numbers-96850 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-01/Numbers_Flickr_Jessica Feis.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size: 10px;">Listen to Richard and Tony discuss their picks on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332742871-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/848 120301 richard tony .mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div></div><p>No, you haven't tuned into an episode of&nbsp;<em>Sesame Street</em>, but we do start off our new weekly series Music Thursdays with Richard Steele by picking songs that have a lot to do with counting. Below, songs with numbers that Tony and Richard love.</p><p><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/LqiJHYhbLOw" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Radiohead is one of the most inventive bands of the last 20 years and &nbsp;their music has been covered by other rockers such as Cold War Kids. But other genres have gotten into the game. Christopher O’Riley is perhaps the best known classical music artist to cover Radiohead. The legendary Toots Hibbert turns Thom Yorke’s dreamy "Let Down" into a one-drop upbeat party … complete with fat trombone lines and syncopated organ. Bluegrass gets its chance as well.</p><p>"2+2=5" is from Radiohead’s <em>Hail to the Thief</em>. The song is a reference to the famous equation in George Orwell’s <em>1984</em>, where logic has no place in the creepy and horrifying authoritarian society, and doublethink rules the day.</p><p>The label CHM has over the years put out a number of bluegrass albums covering Led Zeppelin, The Dead and the Eagles to name a few. Who the players on each of the albums are is somewhat of a mystery, with each series going simply by <em>Pickin’ on (Series)</em>. Here, "2+2=5" retains the original eerie feel replacing Johnny Greenwood’s guitar with standout fiddle playing. Really the only ‘bluegrassy’&nbsp; spin on this tune is the banjo and the bit of mandolin pickin', but it all works.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_srL2lEkuZc" width="480"></iframe></p><p>You talk about eerie. This is a masterpiece: voices almost whispering in the beginning, the throbbing minor key attack, the counting in various languages. This album had a big influence on early hip-hop. It’s just one of those sit in the dark and turn it up moments.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/yMzSYyjNb74" width="480"></iframe></p><p>This lil’ ditty was penned by Shel Sliverstein and the title says it all. Oh no, not another kid!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KnIJOO__jVo" width="480"></iframe></p><p>This is a song about mistakes- well, one mistake anyway. Lene Lovich released this song in 1979 and like 1981's a "New Toy," it was a big hit for the UK-based American songstress. Lovich also recorded a new version of "Lucky Number" in 2007.</p><p><strong>Richard Steele</strong>:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/wSy_FRXqzZs" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Whenever you’re having a discussion about numbers, it just seems to make sense to start with the number one. The song “One (Is The Loneliest Number)” was written by singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson and became a hit off of Three Dog Night’s first album.</p><p>How was the song written? Well, as the story goes, Harry Nilsson was making a phone call, and kept getting a busy signal. The rhythm of the busy signal inspired him to write the song.</p><p>If you think that sounds goofy, I’ve got one better than that. Guess how 3 Dog Night got the name? On one of their CD sets, the notes said that one of the lead singer’s girlfriends suggested the name after she read an article about how some indigenous Australians would customarily sleep in a hole in the ground … on a cold night … with a dingo (a native species of wild dog). It would be two dogs on a real cold night and when it was freezing, it was a “Three Dog Night.” Just remember that if YOU believe this story, “One Is The Loneliest Number.” &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/8nd2TtZblxw" width="480"></iframe></p><p>The year was 1972 and record producers Gamble and Huff were about to become some of the most celebrated and financially successful label owners in the business. It was also the year that brought the legendary soul singing vocal group, The O’Jays, to Philadelphia International Records.</p><p>They had a monster hit record called <em>Backstabbers</em> on the first single from their debut album. Back in those days, it was a very big deal when an R&amp;B record ‘crossed over’ and got airplay on stations like WLS as well as WVON. They were looking for the same kind of success with the second release called "992 Arguments." It did OK on black radio, but WLS-type radio stations turned it down. I always thought it was a great record, and not only did it highlight the incredible talent of The O’Jays, but you got a chance to hear the powerful sound of MFSB, the Philly International Records house band.</p><p>After that track didn’t cross over, they released a third track from the album that shot to No. 1 on the charts. It was called “Love Train.” But for my money, I’m still cheering for "992 Arguments<em>"</em> by The O’Jays.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Joo90ZWrUkU" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Tennessee Ernie Ford started his show-biz career in radio as an announcer for several different radio stations. He was still a young man at the start of World War II. Consequently, he became a bombardier in a bomber squadron.</p><p>His singing career took off after the war. He was making a name for himself in country music with records and performances when in 1955, he found himself having to fulfill a recording contract obligation. "Sixteen Tons" was the “B-side” of the record he recorded, and no one thought much of it until disc jockeys heard it, and started playing it instead of the “A-side.” It hit the Billboard Charts in November of 1955 and stayed at No. 1 on the country charts for 10 consecutive weeks, and then crossed over to the pop charts and was No. 1 for eight weeks.</p><p>After that, Ford became a big star with his own long-running network TV show and three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (one for radio, one for records and one for television). There’s always at least one story that could be “urban legend.” This one concerns R&amp;B pioneer Bo Diddley, who recorded his version of "Sixteen Tons" on a 1960 album. The story goes that when he was booked for <em>The Ed Sullivan Show</em>, Sullivan wanted him to sing "Sixteen Tons." He refused.&nbsp;The Great Stoneface (Ed Sullivan) was not happy!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/WN-wZ6gdchc" width="480"></iframe></p><p>McKinley Morganfield, otherwise known as Muddy Waters, was a blues musician who had an enormous impact on his own field and an outsize influence on many British rock bands. The most famous of these would be The Rolling Stones, who chose that name as direct result of connecting with a Muddy Waters record called <em>Rollin’ Stone</em>. Muddy (who died in 1983) is considered to be the “father of modern Chicago blues.”</p><p>He had a long history with the legendary Chess Records. "Forty Days and Forty Nights" came out in 1956, and was one of the last singles by Muddy Waters to make the record charts. There were some other blues “heavyweights” on this recording, including Little Walter on harmonica and Willie Dixon on bass, with either Jimmy Rogers or Hubert Sumlin on second guitar (Muddy was playing lead guitar). For those who keep score, Muddy Waters has six Grammys in the “Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Category.”</p></p> Thu, 01 Mar 2012 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-01/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-and-richard-steele-numbers-96850