Chicago Blues University Winter 2006 Tour

Wabash Tap

On February 25, 2006, Mardi Gras weekend, a special all-night pub crawl will be held, connecting 7 venues and featuring 8 bands. For seventeen years, this semi-annual event has been presented by Blues University which also runs an online archive and educational classes dedicated to expanding interest in and a market for blues music.

Blues music is a vibrant part of Chicago's past, and still thrives in the city today. As far back as 1893, the World's Fair hosted W. C. Handy and his 'Mahara Minstrels' at the Haitian Pavilion in the White City. Then in 1903, the same William Christopher Handy stood waiting for an overdue train in Mississippi when he heard unfamiliar, haunting, weird, sad songs played by an itinerant bluesman. He incorporated this sound into his own music, and became known as the 'the Father of the Blues,' by creating truly American music such as 'St. Louis Blues', 'Memphis Blues', 'Beale Street Blues' and much more.

William Christopher Handy

The Chicago blues style developed as a result of the 'great migration' of poor black workers from the South into Chicago during the first part of the twentieth century. Chicago musicians added electricity, drums, piano, bass guitar and sometimes saxophone to the basic string/harmonica Delta blues.

Checkerboard Lounge

From the 1920's on, Blues clubs were popular mostly on the South and West sides of Chicago. This was true until the 1980's, when blues became widely fashionable and clubs formed all over the city. In 1984, Chicago inaugurated an annual blues festival. Chicago's participation in blues culture allows this music to serve as 'living history' by shaping memories of and hopes for the city's urban social life.

Lee's Unleaded Blues Lounge/Willie Buck

Chicago has been a 'sweet home' for the blues according to legendary guitarist Robert Johnson. Fortunately this tradition remains alive and well in Chicago.

Johnny Drummer and Jimmy Burns

To experience the blues, plan to be on the buses when they begin rolling at Wabash Tap, 1233 S. Wabash St. at 7 p.m. or join the special advance party that begins at 6:30 p.m., featuring acoustic blues. Advance tickets are recommended and can be purchased on the web or at any participating club or call:866-LIVEBLUES. Blues lounges include: Lee's Unleaded Blues, Linda's Place, Checkerboard Lounge, and Rosa's Lounge. Music by: Jimmy Burns, Vance Kelly, Killer Ray Allison, Fantastic L-Roy, Johnny Drummer, Willie Buck, Arkansas Bellyroller, L.T. McGee, Shorty Mack, Little Leon, Mojo Mark and the Delta Blues Band, Westside Wes and Motown Sound, Jim Mann, Junkyard Dog and other guests can be enjoyed for the $30.00 ticket price.

Vance Kelly and Killer Ray Allison

Steve Pasek, this year's tour organizer says, 'The tour this year focuses on performers with direct ties to the lounges where they're appearing-in other words, they are 'house bands' at these clubs. The venues serve in a certain respect as community meeting places, they're corner taverns, which is becoming a scarce commodity. Some of the performers travel overseas to play in huge venues, but still come home to play at tiny bars here.' This is your chance to experience many clubs and their special music.

Heaven on Seven and Chainsaw Dupont

Additionally, Heaven on Seven, both on Chicago's Rush Street (2/17, 2/24 and 2/28) and Naperville (2/18 and 2/25) will feature Chainsaw Dupont. Chainsaw is well known in Chicago. His recent albums have been praised by respected Chicago Reader blues Critic, David Whiteis who noted his dedication to traditions and restraint.
Click here or phone: 630-717-0777 or 312-280-7774 for reservations and great blues experience.

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