Luther Allison | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Luther Allison

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This is a homecoming celebration for a major bluesman who left Chicago for Paris in the early 80s and has performed here precious few times since then. Allison cut his teeth in the 50s and 60s playing with such greats as Freddie King and Magic Sam, but he emerged into the "mainstream" (i.e., white) consciousness after he recorded for Delmark in 1967 He toured the hippie ballroom circuit and built a reputation as a guitarist whose Buddy-Guy-by-way-of-Hendrix fretboard fire sometimes spilled over into chaos but always infused his performances with an emotional charge. But, as Hand Me Down My Moonshine, his new CD on the German Inak label shows, there's another, more introspective side to Allison's muse--a brooding intensity, reminiscent of the Delta tradition, that he melds with his urban-blues slickness to produce a distinctive and deeply satisfying blend of flamboyance and emotionality. I'm told Allison's bringing a full electric band to this gig but expect him to revel in the subtleties, as well as the excesses, of blues expression. Saturday, 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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