Contrary to what the popular press usually claims, there are still a good number of formidable women blues singers in Chicago. Six of them–above from left, Bonnie Lee, Foxy Lady, Deitra Farr, Mary Lane, Pat “Soul” Scaggs, and Nora Jean–will be featured this weekend along with ace guitarist Johnny B. Moore and a band of his fellow west-siders–Fred Lester, sax; Willie Kent, bass; Bald-Head Pete Williams, drums–augmented by the superb traditional Chicago piano of Barrelhouse Chuck. Like most artists, Chicago’s blues women are at their best when engaged in friendly competition; this setting should show their talents and diversity to excellent advantage. Moore is one of the most versatile accompanists around, proficient in a dizzying variety of styles and able to bring out the best in both a lead singer and his fellow musicians. Multistar revues like this are common on the west and south sides, less so up north; here’s a chance to see some living Chicago blues tradition in as “authentic” a setting as can be found north of Madison and east of Western. Tonight and Saturday, Blue Chicago, 937 N. State; 642-6261.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Janet Heintz.