Chicago lay claim to many great music renaissance, blues being one of them. Great icons have been inspired by Chicago Blues style, most notably the Rolling Stones, that was crowned by artists such as Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and more. While many of those men lived in Chicago for a significant portion of their music careers and had great influence in cementing the Chicago blues sound, they were all born in either Mississippi, St Louis or Louisiana. This Throwback in mid December we celebrate one blues artist native to Chicago born on the 17th in 1942.
It the big names, Muddy Waters, Berry, Dixon, Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, that get credited mostly with Chicago Blues style. Paul Butterfield on one hand, had his own influence on the genre as well. Growing up in Hyde Park he had an early musical influence with an associate of the Chicago Symphany Orchestra and an inclination towards the Blues. A knee injury that kept him from a sports scholarship would steer Butterfield towards a career in Blues.
Paul Butterfield would start to attend Chicago Blues clubs where he would be directed by Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf and Otis Rush themselves. He would move onto create is own authentic style of Blues with his harmonic instrumentation as key tool in his influence. Butterfield in many ways opened the door for white audiences, rock and country fans, to be more connected with blues; not by replicating the blues culture sound but making his own. His would create the racially integrated Paul Butterfield Blues Band, accumulating a couple of successful albums and playing Woodstock 69, following up with Better Days band and solo work afterwards. Towards the end of his life he would be playing alongside Muddy Waters and Better Days, accidentally overdosing at the age of 44 in 1987. His legacy would earn him a spot in the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.