Sunday, July 20, 2008
UP IN CHICAGO I WAS KNOWN AS QUITE A BOY
I'm here in Chicago to see the last day of The Pitchfork Festival with my son. I'm most excited about seeing King Khan & The Shrines, but I'm also looking forward to The Dirty Projectors and Dinosaur Jr. I'll write a full report tomorrow.
I spent part of this afternoon checking out the old Chess Studios at 2120 South Michigan Avenue. It's now known as Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven.
When we went in, a man led us up a flight of stairs and into a room with rows of chairs in front of a TV set. He put on a video about the history of Chicago blues with some great footage of Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, etc.
It didn't hit me until I'd been there a few minutes that this was the actual studio where Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and even The Rolling Stones had recorded some of the seminal songs of the last 50 years.
"Johnny B. Goode" was recorded in that that room. It's nothing short of sacred ground!
Talking with our friendly tour guide, he said, "You're from Santa Fe? Do you know Sharon McConnell? Sure shootin', downstairs on a wall are dozens of Sharon's Lifecast collection of plaster facial masks of blues musicians.
Many of these graced the New Mexico state Capitol Rotunda a couple of years ago. It was almost like seeing a bunch of old friends. I've always said the Roundhouse lost some soul when they took that exhibit down.
Sharon, who now lives in Mississippi, is well liked at Blues Heaven. She apparently did some casting of blues faces there at the museum a few years ago. Some of the women working there even asked me how Sharon's dog Bella was doing.
I took a few snapshots at the museum. Check 'em HERE..
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