John Jackson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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John Jackson


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One odd effect of the acoustic blues revival of the late 50s and early 60s was a kind of generational blurring--Pink Anderson was almost a quarter century older than John Jackson, but they hit the folk festival stages around the same time. Anderson, who had recorded blues and medicine-show songs with partner Blind Simmie Dooley as early as 1928, then went undocumented for more than 20 years, only enjoyed the newfound spotlight for a brief while; in 1964, after making a handful of recordings (including Carolina Blues Man, Medicine Show Man, Ballad & Folksinger, and a split LP with Reverend Gary Davis, Gospel, Blues and Street Songs, all reissued on CD in the 90s by Original Blues Classics), he was put out of commission by a stroke. Now he's most widely remembered via the rock band that borrowed his name, Pink Floyd. (Syd Barrett took the second half of the moniker from another southern bluesman, Floyd Council.) Jackson's musical career was just getting started in the 60s and has continued unabated, with a steady trickle of excellent records on Arhoolie and Rounder. In the first of four appearances here over the next couple weeks, he and guitarist Eric Noden will pay homage to Anderson in recognition of his centennial. Like Anderson, Jackson specializes in Piedmont blues, which is typified by a sweet rolling feel, fingerpicked acoustic guitar, and strong connections to "white" Appalachian musics. He's a terrific balladeer, but he's also been known to toss in the rare guitar rag or hillbilly tune. Thursday, February 3, 6:30 PM, Randolph Cafe, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 312-744-6630. Jackson performs solo next Friday, February 4, at 6 PM in the same venue; call 312-744-7094. Earlier that day, at 12:15 PM, he'll take part in the Chicago Blues Archive's oral-history series, "Speakin' of the Blues," in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; 312-747-4050. And next Saturday, February 5, at 10 PM, he'll play the Back Porch Stage at House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-527-2583 or 312-923-2000.


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

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