‘Born In Chicago’ by American filmmakers John Anderson and Bob Sarles tells the story of the Chicago Blues. How the music was brought by the African-American migrants who moved from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago. Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King recorded on Chicago’s South Side and became celebrities.
In the late 1950s, the dynamic blues scene in Chicago was at a crossroads. The grandfathers of the music, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, were still active and often performed in the many blues bars in the south and west of the city. But the blues seemed to have passed its peak, now that the young African-American audience had discovered Motown and the soul of James Brown.
- Steve Miller
Meanwhile, more and more young white musicians, such as Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop and Steve Miller, listened to the radio stations that played this forbidden blues music at night. In the early 1960s they also started to visit the bars and clubs to see the blues artists live. Soon they were invited on stage by the black musicians and a new and vibrant Chicago blues scene was born.
In this way, a whole new generation of musicians was inspired by the Chicago blues: Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, the Siegel-Schwall Blues Band, even The Ramones. In ‘Born In Chicago’ (a blues song written by Nick Gravenites) the history of the Chicago blues is told by actor Dan Aykroyd (The Blues Brothers).
Blues guitarist Robbert Fossen is a special guest at the Music Film Festival in Tilburg, he is regarded as the Chicago blues connoisseur in the Netherlands. We also speak via video link with director John Anderson in Chicago. Robbert Fossen then plays a few blues songs on guitar/vocals.