Eddie Kirkland | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Eddie Kirkland


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Jamaica-born, Alabama-bred Eddie Kirkland is a Detroit legend, having accompanied John Lee Hooker in the late 40s and early 50s and then gone on to make a name for himself as a flamboyant soul-and-blues shouter with such R & B greats as King Curtis and, briefly, Otis Redding. But no mere biographical sketch can do Kirkland justice: dressed in a spangled turban like some down-home Sun Ra, firing out guitar riffs that fuse the rawness of Hooker with wall-of-sound screams borrowed from Hendrix into an ecstatically explosive personal style, Kirkland cuts one of the most outrageous figures in contemporary blues. The strident, occasionally discordant onslaught of his fretwork may overwhelm listeners looking for a continuation of the sparse, intensely emotional Detroit tradition he pioneered with Hooker, but Kirkland's showmanship is unflagging and unforgettable: think of a slightly tamed version of Chicago's legendary madman of Maxwell Street the Muck Muck Man crossed with the pyrotechnic outrageousness of Lefty Dizz and you've got the general idea. Tonight and Saturday, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/J.D. Photography.

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  →