Bob Margolin with John Brim & Billy Boy Arnold | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Bob Margolin with John Brim & Billy Boy Arnold

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This summit of a young virtuoso of Chicago blues and a veteran who helped forge that tradition should set off some unique and satisfying sparks. "Steady Rollin"' Bob Margolin first came to national attention playing guitar with Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson in what was arguably Muddy Waters's last great band, the 70s-era aggregation anchored by pianist Pinetop Perkins, bassist Calvin "Fuzz" Jones, and drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. From Waters Margolin acquired the lessons of taste, timing, and how to ride deep in the pocket of the classic shuffle rhythm; on his own he developed a style that fused Waters's traditionalism with a young man's restlessness--equal parts deep blues expression and contemporary technical flash. John Brim, on the other hand, remains as raw and uncompromising as he was during his tenure with Chess in the 50s. His sound, characterized by a growling voice and spitfire guitar flurries, is one of the more ominous in the Chicago blues canon, and his lyrics--which alternate between playful sexual metaphors and back-alley signifying--do nothing to lighten the mood. Brim's live appearances have been sporadic in recent years, but he recently released a new CD that shows he's still in command of the brooding, explosive muse that has made his earlier recordings among the most sought-after collectors' items in Chicago blues. Harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold, another figure from the late 50s/early 60s currently enjoying a comeback, rounds out the show. Sunday, midnight, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.

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