Vlog 10 – The Sacred Chess Studio

Johnny be Good, At Last, The Hoochie Coochie Man, Maybellene. Even if you don’t realize you probably know a song that was recorded at the Chess Studio.

Sunday Kind of Love sang by Etta James is also one of them. It was the first one I’d picked for my band Swing & Tell. The way Etta James can lure you into her story is amazing. It just gets to me everytime. Which are the exact same words coordinator and guide Janine Judge used while giving us a mind-blowing tour in the amazing Chess Studio.

My emotional response caught me off guard. You could just feel that a lot of special memories were made there. And the way Janine poors her whole heart in the tour and in the stories she tells, makes it extra special. You can see she adores the place and loves her job.

‘Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven’ is the name that’s displayed on the studio now. Willie Dixon, or as they call him ‘The Hoochie Coochie Man’ wrote more than 6000 songs in his life and was the right hand at Chess Studio. When the building came up for sale after it had already decayed for a couple of years, one of the formal owners called the wife of Dixon in 1992. Dixon’s dream was to restore the building and get the studio up and running again. He never got the chance, because he died in the beginning of that year, when the deal wasn’t yet settled. His wife proceeded and was able to buy it in 1993. With lots of hands, energy and love they got the old building to shine again. They created room for the spirits of the old days to return. A record studio with a magical touch. They’re still busy restoring and they can use all the support. So if you’re ever in ‘The Windy City’ or how I’d like to call it ‘The City of Blues’ do yourself a favor. Go to ‘Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven’. You will not be disappointed, it’s a great experience and a magnificent piece of history not only when it comes to music, but also when it comes to photography, opportunities, development of sound and a landmark for the city. Hopefully Chicago will soon get the consciousness of how important this place is and give it the support and credits that it deserves. So the place can grow, flourish and give more visitors a hint of the old days.

Next up: More Chicago Blues


  1. Andrew

    1 oktober 2017 at 17:36

    Great job Linda! Your writing, your face and of course your voice are so wonderfully expressive.

    1. Linda Oudendijk

      1 oktober 2017 at 18:41

      Thank you so much Andrew for this nice compliment!

Leave a Reply