In 1971, a young guy working as a shipping clerk for Bob Koester’s Delmark Records wanted to record his favorite blues band, Hound Dog Taylor & the Houserockers. The magical sounds that Bruce Iglauer captured on tape in late May and early June of that year became the basis for Alligator Records.
Alligator has managed to defy the odds by not only staying in business, but staying vital for 45 years. Iglauer’s secret is he never wanted to preserve the blues in amber, but treat is as a living, ever-evolving art form.
Next weekend, at the annual Chicago Blues Festival, the organizers are honoring the company by making the first day of the fest a celebration of Alligator and its contributions to the city and the blues. Iglauer joins us to talk about nearly a half-century in the blues biz.