Wrigley Field: Billionaire’s Playground, by Mark Erickson

The current owner of the Chicago Cubs, the ultra-wealthy Ricketts family, defied an existing legal contract signed by the former owner of the Cubs, i.e., the Chicago Tribune Company, with Wrigley rooftop businesses by significantly expanding bleacher space in right and left field. The expansion also includes the addition of video screens. These improvements . . . → Read More: Wrigley Field: Billionaire’s Playground, by Mark Erickson

O-o-h Child – The Five Stairsteps

A version of this tune featuring American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson has appeared on a high profile commercial for American Family insurance, in the process reawakening interest in this tune, at least for me. The original was released in 1970 by a family group from Chicago, the Five Stairsteps (just as, a year . . . → Read More: O-o-h Child – The Five Stairsteps

Minnie Minoso RIP, by Steve Stav

In the Washington Post – Minnie Minoso, White Sox and Baseball Icon, dies; President Obama joins in tributes

I have, surprisingly enough, a great Minnie Minoso story.

There was a time when you could, theoretically, get an autograph from a major leaguer simply by writing to him. It seemed to work about 25 percent . . . → Read More: Minnie Minoso RIP, by Steve Stav

Champion Cheaters, by Mark Erickson

As a father of two boys, I devoted much time with them in the back yard and at the park playing baseball. When I constructed a flower box in the back yard, I also built a pitching mound. Since my boys and I loved baseball, I was delighted to be involved with them not . . . → Read More: Champion Cheaters, by Mark Erickson

David Bowie – Heroes, by Betsy Youngquist

I’m standing in front of the piece of paper on which David Bowie wrote his lyrics for “Heroes,” with tears falling down my face. This is a must see exhibit for anyone at all interested in the miracle of the creative process: David Bowie Is at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

. . . → Read More: David Bowie – Heroes, by Betsy Youngquist

Goat and Meshuggah Live in Chicago, by Mark Erickson

Goat

After some deliberation on my part, e.g., Silver Apples at the Bohemian National Cemetery under a full moon, and the trading of a work shift of one son, I ended up attending two separate concerts by two very different bands from Sweden: Goat and Meshuggah. Goat released its debut album, World Music, in . . . → Read More: Goat and Meshuggah Live in Chicago, by Mark Erickson

Rev. C.L. Franklin – Wings of Faith (1950)

This is beautiful. Rev. C. L. Franklin is the father of Aretha. His spoken word recordings of sermons were first released to great acclaim in the 1950s by famed Chicago blues recording company, Chess Records. In this clip the Reverend is singing, and quite well, thank you.

Sonny Boy Williamson – Bye Bye Bird, My Younger Days, by Davin Michael Stedman

When I opened for Nappy Roots recently it struck me on stage like a bolt of lightning that I should start offering free harmonica lessons at shows. Folks just need to bring a decent harmonica down to the shows and I’ll send em’ home smiling with a valuable lesson or two.

It’s good . . . → Read More: Sonny Boy Williamson – Bye Bye Bird, My Younger Days, by Davin Michael Stedman

From Beer to Eternity, Ministry’s Final Release, May Be Band’s Best, By Mark Erickson

According to the liner notes of Black Box, WaxTrax! Records moved from Colorado to a storefront on Chicago’s North Lincoln Avenue in 1978 after being “fueled by the punk revolution.” WaxTrax! issued its second single in 1981, featuring Divine of Pink Flamingos and Polyester fame. Also, in 1981, the record store and recording studio . . . → Read More: From Beer to Eternity, Ministry’s Final Release, May Be Band’s Best, By Mark Erickson

Marshall Field’s Choral Society Handel’s Messiah

Over at Lost Wax Method, my cousin deftly recounts a performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Marshall Field’s Choral Society which we and some others attended in the 1980s. As an eye (and ear) witness, I can vouch for his accounts and descriptions, which are compelling and accurate. He recreates the tension, disappointment and . . . → Read More: Marshall Field’s Choral Society Handel’s Messiah

Dhoom Machale Dhoom – Song – DHOOM:3 – Aamir Khan | Abhishek Bachchan | Katrina Kaif | Uday Chopra

Yes, the most expensive movie in Bollywood history is about to be released and it was filmed in… Chicago. It’s the long-awaited third installment of the Dhoom series, which is set to be released on 12/20/13. If this video is any indication, the movie is going to be sexier and more Śānadāra (spectacular) than . . . → Read More: Dhoom Machale Dhoom – Song – DHOOM:3 – Aamir Khan | Abhishek Bachchan | Katrina Kaif | Uday Chopra

Touring Chicago’s Bohemian National Cemetery, by Mark Erickson

A treestone at Bohemian National Cemetery.

During one furlough day I had to break from my massive deck project to rest my bones from all the bending, lifting, and stooping. I choose to do something I had never done in my 25 years of living in Chicago: I toured the Bohemian National Cemetery located . . . → Read More: Touring Chicago’s Bohemian National Cemetery, by Mark Erickson

Cheap Trick – Stop This Game Live at ChicagoFest 1981, By Steve Stav

Rock and roll. Every time I’ve seen Cheap Trick, they played as if they invented it. Most exciting band in the world.

– Steve Stav

Muddy Waters – The Electric Mud Catastrophe, By John Siscoe

When the audience for Chicago blues shifted in the 1960’s from working class black to college age white, a good bit of strange and sometimes wonderful music resulted. Electric Mud certainly makes the first category. The second? Well…

Leonard and Phil Chess had already tried to market Muddy Waters to suit the folk craze . . . → Read More: Muddy Waters – The Electric Mud Catastrophe, By John Siscoe

Buddy Guy – Hoochie Coochie Man – Fever – Damn Right, By Ron Swanson

I had the honor to go see Buddy Guy play at his own club recently. I am ashamed to say that I hadn’t ever done this before. Here are some random thoughts.

Scott Holt, who used to play guitar with Buddy warmed up. He led a very tight three piece group through blues originals . . . → Read More: Buddy Guy – Hoochie Coochie Man – Fever – Damn Right, By Ron Swanson

Fred Hampton – Iam a Revolutionary, By Pat Thomas

Before his appalling murder on December 4th, 1969, Fred Hampton, head of the Chicago Panthers, formed an alliance with the Puerto Rican Young Lords and the Patriot Party (consisting of impoverished Chicago whites). Hampton announced this multiracial banding as “a Rainbow Coalition,” years before Jesse Jackson co-opted the term for his own political . . . → Read More: Fred Hampton – Iam a Revolutionary, By Pat Thomas

Wild Belle – POSTCARDS FROM THE ROAD N°1

Wild Belle is a sibling duo from Chicago which produces timeless psychedelic-pop with hints of jazz, reggae, and R&B. They recently embarked on their first North American tour and lead singer Natalie Bergman captured images from the band’s life on the road and cobbled those images together into the following retro-coolish video:

. . . → Read More: Wild Belle – POSTCARDS FROM THE ROAD N°1

The Monkees, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Each Have Take on Mike Nesmith’s “Mary, Mary,” By Pat Thomas

At Western Recorders in Hollywood on July 25, 1966, The Monkees recorded Mike Nesmith’s song “Mary, Mary” – meanwhile at nearly the same time, at Chess Studios on 2120 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the Paul Butterfield band with Mike Bloomfield was recording it as well. I’ve always loved it when doped up, kick . . . → Read More: The Monkees, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Each Have Take on Mike Nesmith’s “Mary, Mary,” By Pat Thomas

Joe Bonamassa, Hubert Sumlin & Jimmy Vivino at Guitar Center’s King of the Blues Finals

Go HERE.

Otis Rush, Just the Real Stuff, Straight No Chaser, By John Siscoe

Otis Rush has been acknowledged as one of the greats of Chicago Blues for so long that his reputation is almost taken for granted. This performance, and the five others from the same session, is a breathtaking demonstration of how great he truly was when he was young and in his prime. This set, . . . → Read More: Otis Rush, Just the Real Stuff, Straight No Chaser, By John Siscoe