Lester “Big Daddy” Kinsey is best known as the patriarch of the Kinsey Report, that rambunctious crew of fusion-minded blues funskters whose high-decibel audacity makes purists grit their teeth and seems to delight just about everybody else. In recent years the musical tension between father and sons has become palpable; they seem to barely tolerate his presence onstage, and he’s taken to leaving as soon as possible when they do play together. Finally Big Daddy has assembled his own crew of lithe-fingered traditionalists, who can cut a funky rug on occasion but excel in traditional Chicago blues. Kinsey’s no great innovator, but his deep-throated growl evokes Muddy Waters with uncanny accuracy, and his slide provides a good example of what Chicago blues guitar used to be about; sparse, emotionally searing, and memorable, it celebrates freedom even as it wails of isolation and oppression. Kinsey may be something of a museum piece, but then so are the Grateful Dead, and they make millions of bucks a year. Would that sincerity, musical conviction, and an instinctive empathy with the rich lode of modern blues tradition could do something similar for Big Daddy. Studebaker John and the Hawks open. Friday, 9 PM, Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.