Andrew “Big Voice” Odom toured internationally—and also used to drop by Maxwell Street and overwhelm the makeshift sound systems.
Despite a 1952 smash for Chess Records, pianist Willie Mabon was soon overshadowed by labelmates such as Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters.
Bluesman Johnny Shines spent the late 30s on the road with the great Robert Johnson, then lived long enough to win a W.C. Handy Award in the 90s.
The Aces are best known as a backing band, but they took the lead when it came to the future of the blues.
Kokomo Arnold’s recording career lasted less than a decade, but he changed the world by influencing the likes of Robert Johnson and Elmore James.
By the early 90s Lurrie Bell didn’t even own a guitar anymore, but now he’s got a shelf full of Blues Music Awards.
Big Maceo’s heyday as a recording artist lasted just five years, but his output includes some of the most widely covered songs in the history of the genre.
The Supreme Mayor of Maxwell Street left a scant recorded legacy, but he’s well remembered for his efforts to preserve the historic market and open-air blues hub.
Blues guitarist Jimmy Johnson, still going strong at 91, released his newest album just four months ago.
John Littlejohn’s raw slide-guitar style grew from the same soil that produced Elmore James, but he never became a star outside the Windy City.
This stubbornly idiosyncratic harmonica player had lousy luck with recordings, but he thrived for four decades onstage.
Most of Lucille Spann’s recordings were with her spouse, blues pianist Otis Spann, but she released a great solo album in 1974.
The guitar and harmonica master from the Aces played with Junior Wells, Little Walter, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, and many more.
Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, who spent most of his five-decade career in Chicago, was one of the most prominent sidemen in electric blues.
Singer and pianist Georgia White made dozens of classic records for Decca from 1935 to 1941, then fell off the map in the 1970s.