MIKE WHEELER:

TRIBUTE TO

OTIS RUSH

Mississippi-born vocalist and guitarist Otis Rush has come to represent (along with Magic Sam) the west side sound of Chicago blues. He produced hit records that have proved to be a coherent body of work as enduring as any to come out of that blues milieu in the 1950s. His classic songs, All Your Love, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Double Trouble, and Three Times a Fool have been and continue to be standards that are widely played and recorded by blues and rock artists.

 

Delmark issued three Rush albums, Cold Day in Hell, So Many Roads, and All Your Love. Roads, which was recorded live in Japan in 1975, is not only a historic document, for capturing the first major blues tour of Japan, but is a first-rate live recording and a high-water mark for live concert-hall blues. All Your Love, another live recording, captured by Chicago radio station WXRT just one year later, preserves an outstanding Rush performance with his regular gigging band at the top of his game, at ease in a Chicago setting.

With a Chicago blues resume that stretches back thirty-two years, Mike Wheeler began his career playing guitar behind Muddy Waters’ keyboard man Lovie Lee Watson. Wheeler also spent time in the bands of “Big Time” Sarah Streeter, Sam Cockrell & The Groove, Nellie “Tiger” Travis, and Peaches Staten.

 

He has recorded with Cockrell, Big Ray and Chicago’s Most Wanted, Cadillac Dave, and Peaches Staten. Perhaps most notably, before going on his own, Wheeler was the axe man for several years touring with powerhouse trombone funkster Big James and his Chicago Playboys, and appeared on ve of their recordings.

 

In 2012 Delmark Records brought him into the studio to record Self Made Man, which featured his smooth soul vocals and string squeezing on a set of all original songs. His follow-up Delmark effort, Turn Up!! was released in 2016.

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