When I was young, one of my goals was to someday work with some of the blues greats I went to see at clubs around Chicago. YIKES! Guess it happened.
I have spent a lot of the month down at Buddy Guy’s club Legends listening to an amazing musician at the height of his power. It is no wonder that people like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and recently John Mayer cite Buddy as one of their biggest influences. Some of the nights this month I find myself crouching in front of the stage forgetting to shoot photos because I am listening so intently.
Last night (1/23) in the middle of his set, he brought Mud Morgenfield (Muddy Waters son) up on stage to do a song with him. It brought back thoughts of the past- Mud sings like Muddy and even kind of looks like Muddy.
Last week my friend Matthew Skoller called and asked if he could bring a group of guys over to my house for a photo shoot. They had recorded a CD late last year, and it was nominated for a Grammy. They needed some publicity shots. So on Thursday (1/21) some great blues musicians started appearing at my house. First Billy Branch, one of the great harmonica players in Chicago. Next Carlos Johnson, a blues guitarist that I had photographed many times around Chicago. Next was Billy Boy Arnold, a major part of almost all of Bo Diddley’s great songs from the 60’s. Next in the door was Lurrie Bell, son of Carey Bell- Muddy Waters harp player for many years, and one of Chicago’s greatest guitar players. Finally, to round out the group, John Primer (Muddy Waters guitar player for many years) rang the bell. For the next two hours, an amazing discussion –and a few beers- was passed around the room. (And many pictures were taken).
This whole month is reinforcing in my mind why I still do this crazy job, and why sometime it could be the greatest job in the world!