Guitar Shorty | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Guitar Shorty

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Guitar Shorty's claim that he was Jimi Hendrix's original role model is debatable, but there's no denying that the veteran fretman's explosive showmanship and ear-splitting sonic attack are firmly in the Guitar Slim/Buddy Guy/Hendrix mold. Until recently he was primarily a cult figure--he cut a few discs in the 50s for such labels as Cobra and Pull, and he opened shows for stalwarts Otis Rush, Sam Cooke, and Guitar Slim himself during this period. But it wasn't until the early 90s, when he won a W.C. Handy Award for My Way on the Highway on the British JSP label, that his reputation began to spread. Shorty must be seen to be believed; both for his trademark flips and headstands and for the way he never allows his imagination to detract from his musicality: he'll segue from a riff that sounds like the progenitor of "Purple Haze" to an in-the-groove blues solo. This show should be especially satisfying because providing Shorty's musical support will be Bill McFarland and the Chicago Horns as well as members of the late Albert Collins's band. Friday and Saturday, B.L.U.E.S. Etcetera, 1124 W. Belmont; 525-8989.

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

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