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The world knows Muddy Waters as the godfather of postwar Chicago blues, but his role as leader of some of the music’s most influential bands has been less acknowledged. This tribute brings together sidemen representing nearly his entire Chicago career, spanning almost four decades. Jimmy Rogers, his legendary guitarist from the late 40s and early 50s, will be featured along with drummer S.P. Leary, who helped forge the classic Chicago sound, and Pinetop Perkins, the Mississippi barrelhouse veteran whose lithe pianistics graced Muddy’s bands in the 1970s. The legacy of Muddy’s great harpists–Little Walter, Big Walter, and Junior Wells–will be represented by Carey Bell, who studied under all three. Guitarist Louis Myers of the Aces will provide the link between the Delta traditionalism of early 50s Chicago blues and the swinging sophistication that developed later, and there’ll be a special appearance by Sunnyland Slim, who introduced Muddy to Aristocrat (later Chess) Records in 1947. This tribute has the potential to evoke the spirit of Chicago blues’s glory days in a way that’s becoming all too rare. Tonight and Saturday, Rosa’s, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

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