LURRIE BELL &
JR WITH THE
As the son of blues harmonica great Carey Bell, guitarist and vocalist Lurrie
Bell could hardly have had a more auspicious childhood for a career in the blues. Many of the luminaries of the Chicago blues scene regularly passed through his house as he was growing up. Then, as a teen, he was in on the ground oor of Sons of Blues with Billy Branch and Freddie Dixon (Willie’s son), and recorded and toured with them, as well as with blues diva Koko Taylor.
Recordings he made with his father and other artists were well-received, but he was personally struggling. With assistance, he pulled out and ultimately triumphed with a string of four excellent recordings for Delmark, a 2004 duet with his father on the Alligator label, and a self-produced CD, Let’s Talk About Love, which critics raved about. In 2009, he ap- peared on both volumes of Chicago History: A Living History, earning a Grammy nomination. The Devil Ain’t Got No Music, released on his own Aria BG label in 2012, was a sensitive and celebrated revisiting of the acoustic blues and gospel music of his youth. He re-signed with Delmark for the 2013 Blues in My Soul, a return to straight-ahead Chicago blues.
In 2015, he won the Blues Foundation’s award for Best Traditional Male Blues Artist. Can’t Shake This Feeling, his latest on Delmark, has been nominated for a Grammy. Lurrie Bell is a ju- bilant and grateful survivor and a true Chicago treasure—not to mention one incredible guitar player.
Like Lurrie, Eddie Taylor, Jr. had both the blessing and the burden to be the son of a legendary blues musician. For a short time he changed his name to Edward to try to differ- entiate himself from his famous guitar hero father, Eddie Taylor, Senior. But that has never been an issue for fans who have embraced the humble and earnest young guitarist, and simply loved the uncanny physical and musical resem- blance he bears to his legendary father, and who have appreciated the amazing continuity of seeing him play his dad’s red Gibson ES335. Naturally, Eddie Jr. began by playing material from his father’s repertoire (said Eddie, “It was like an itch waiting to be scratched”), and having mastered it, he branched out to cover the work of other classic blues artists—not all of them associated with Chicago.
Perhaps most importantly, he has been crafting original songs of his own—all the while retaining that signature guitar style. In 2008 he was among the crack team of musical experts on the sound of 1950s Chicago blues who were called on to record the soundtrack for the movie, Cadillac Records, a ctionalized account of Chicago’s Chess Records’ heyday. To date, he has released six CDs, the latest of which is titled Stop Breaking Down, his last release on Wolf (2015).
Eddie and Lurrie will be joined by Lurrie’s brothers Steve on harmonica, James on drums, and Tyson on bass. Together, these members of the Bell-Harrington clan have recorded a just-released memorial to their father, Tribute to Carey Bell, on the Delmark label, with guest artists Charlie Musselwhite and Billy Branch.