Luther Allison came of age on the west side of Chicago during the late 50s and early 60s, alongside artists like Freddie King, Magic Sam, and Otis Rush. The sound they forged--an aggressive blend of emotion and technical virtuosity--paved the way for the blues-rock explosion. While a lot of its progenitors were left in the dust, Allison made the transition easily: by the late 60s he was winning accolades on the hippie ballroom circuit with his fiery playing and counterculture garb. Some hard-core fans have never forgiven him for those days, but he remains a first-rate bluesman whose inevitable displays of over-the-top dexterity and speed entertain and satisfy. Capable of blasting the roof off of any house, his band can also be surprisingly subtle. His recent CD on Alligator features a low-key gospel version of Guitar Slim's "The Things That I Used to Do," a song most bands play with no holds barred. Friday, 9 PM, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190. Saturday, 10 PM, FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn; 708-788-2118.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Patrice Battioni.