For nearly 70 years, Bob Koester owned the Jazz Record Mart and Delmark Records—and though his businesses could be “crazy town,” they helped nurture thriving communities.
Despite a 1952 smash for Chess Records, pianist Willie Mabon was soon overshadowed by labelmates such as Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters.
Pianist Erwin Helfer may be Chicago’s last living link to the vital boogie-woogie tradition, which arose more than a century ago.
Pianist Little Brother Montgomery straddled blues, boogie-woogie, and jazz—and bridged prewar southern blues and the electric Chicago style.
Barrelhouse Chuck built upon piano traditions established by the likes of Sunnyland Slim, Pinetop Perkins, and Little Brother Montgomery.
Bluesman Ernest “Little Son Joe” Lawlers was overshadowed by his wife, the great Memphis Minnie, but you might remember his “Black Rat Swing.”
Doctor Clayton cut just 30 tracks, but they helped plant the seeds for rock ‘n’ roll.