In the 70s guitarist Son Seals blasted out of here like the long-prophesied modern-day savior of Chicago blues: raw, raucous, unremittingly committed and emotionally engaged, he seemed capable of unlimited technical fire which never came at the expense of the primal passion that had kept him scuffling around the west and south sides for years. He developed an international following almost worthy of that initial promise. Meanwhile his music has sometimes teetered on the edge between flashy inspiration and uninspired flash. On a good night he's virtually peerless: groaning and grunting in his ecstasies, he fires off endless variations on both traditional Chicago themes and his own thematic inventions, combining a piercing, shimmering tone reminiscent of Albert King with a melodic subtlety that sometimes escapes Seals's more beer-and-boogie-minded admirers. Other times he seems to hold back, waiting for the moment of inspiration to strike. Even on on off night, though, he's sure to hit you with plenty of solid, no-nonsense houserocking blues--and if he ignites, he may take you places you've never been before. Friday and Saturday, B.L.U.E.S., 2519 N. Halsted; 528-1012. Wednesday, Blue Chicago, 937 N. State; 642-6261. Next Friday, December 11, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Paul Natkin.