Vlog 9 – Chicago: The City of Blues
‘The Windy City’ they call it. For me it’s ‘The City of Blues’. On my first night I was looking for some food and saw a place that even looked cool on the outside. A guy, later I heard his name was Johnny Sims, saw me looking at some blues magazines in the hallway and asked me to come in. ‘Where are you from?’ I told him and also said that I’m a singer. ‘You’re a singer?! We need to get you on stage.’ That was the start of a very cool and exciting night at Buddy Guy’s Legends. Johnny treated me as a VIP and introduced me to the leader of the band. Guitar and key player John Kattke or as they call him ‘Brother John’. He already plays at Buddy Guy’s Legends for 25 years with all the big names. I was allowed to sing two songs with the incredible band.
My heart was pounding from the moment I sat down and immediately got busy preparing myself. Oh, I was nervous. And then after the beautiful singer Kim rocked the stage, the lady that’s also playing keys in the picture, it was my time to shine. I wrote everything what I needed the band to know on a piece of paper; the key, the speed and I gave them the tempo. Brother John told me I had to lead them to the bridge. So I did and it felt very powerful. Even had the crowd. (I can say everything, there’s no footage anyway, haha). When I asked the audience to sing with me, while starting ‘Baby, Baby, Every Night’ of Etta James, they happily did. And they also enjoyed the Oakie Boogie from Ella Mae Morse too. It was such a kick.
After that I was overexcited and the best thing, people gave me beer, which I could use at that point. Not just a plain beer, no ‘The Buddy Brew’ especially made for Buddy Guy. It has polkadots on the tap, cause that is his trademark. When I heard and read about the club later and got to know which legends were on stage there, it made me very humble. B.B. King, Lou Rawls, Koko Taylor, Eric Clapton, Sheila E, John Mayer to just name a couple and of course Buddy Guy himself. It’s crazy.
After the venue was closed that night, Johnny gave me a tour around the building. This place breaths music, so cool to see. I even helt one of the seven Grammy’s that Buddy Guy won! And that wasn’t all, together with Johnny and blues guitar player Linsey Alexander aka the ‘Hoochie Man’, we went to another club. ‘Kingston Mines’, where I also sang with bass player J.W. Williams. Oh what a night…
These nights teach me a lot. Mainly I learn that I really need to get my shit together. What songs can you sing at a jam, in which key, what is the tempo. Is it swing or shuffle. I would alsof love to get a singing lesson from one of the great ladies that I meet along the way. Therefore I need to take time to arrange that stuff. So no touristy things all day, but study. It’s time to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.
The story continues…