Bill Coday | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


Soul singer Bill Coday waxed some classic sides on Denise LaSalle's Chicago-based Crajon label in the late 60s and early 70s, then disappeared for almost two decades. In 1995 he launched a comeback with the widely acclaimed Sneakin' Back (Ecko), and this year's Put Me in the Mood is the most completely realized album of his career. Coday musters a time-tested mix of gospel fervor and dusky romance, but what keeps his singing fresh is his ability to convey emotional intensity without theatrics or bathos. On the title track, a midtempo workout, his leathery croon quivers with sexual tension; on high-energy numbers ("I'm Gonna Stand Up for Myself," "I'm a Honey Do") he ascends into ecstasy without abandoning his limber vibrato or full-bodied tone. Though Coday radiates warmth, he lacks the charge of studly types like Johnnie Taylor and Latimore. But don't expect restraint or gentility: he's got a thrilling, take-no-prisoners soul scream, and on straight-ahead blues ("Country Back Hills Juke Joint," "I'm Ready to Ball"), he swoops effortlessly from his usual churchy testifying into a lascivious, funky grind. Also on the bill is Jo Jo Murray, a Chicago-based journeyman who purveys a winning blend of soft-soul delicacy and smooth blues sophistication--when he's not cluttering up his act with imitations of more famous artists. Monday, 6 PM, East of the Ryan, 914 E. 79th; 773-874-1500. DAVID WHITEIS

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →