Jon and Larry at Priscy's Production summer thing last July. For West Side kids!

Over the years, many West Side blues musicians have been hired in downtown clubs. Much has been written about “West Side Soul.” 

See today’s version for yourself on the North Side as West Siders seriously invade the club BLUES on Halsted, 2519 N. Halsted,Sunday night, March 30, from 9:30 p.m. til quarter to 2. Blues and soul singer Larry Taylor, stepson of the legendary Chicago blues guitarist Eddie Taylor, will be backed by the west side underground guitar hero, Joe B and his band, the Shotguns (J.R. Lee on bass, Curtis LaBon on drums. Featured guest is Jon McDonald, long time guitarist with the late Magic Slim, disciple of the West Side guitar pioneer Magic Sam. 

 This all-star cast performed at the BBF social service agency on the West Side last July:

 Delmark Records writes: “Delmark is excited to present our WEST SIDE SOUL monthly showcase at B.L.U.E.S., featuring unsung legends of old school Chicago Blues – a BLUES WITH A FEELING revue, featuring current, past, and future Delmark recording artists. We want to feature some more tasteful, ‘less is more’ style of playing, which is becoming more and more difficult to find these days on the flashy contemporary blues/blues rock scene of Chicago.”


Larry Taylor – vocals, drums

 Larry Hill Taylor: Stepson of the Blues: LITTLE MAN, BIG VOICE: Larry Taylor, West Side singer and drummer, is one of the most powerful blues band leaders in Chicago, a 21st century griot. Rhythms convulse his slender body, and blues flows from his heart and soul, as he belts out his own tune “Tell Me Baby” based on a haunting Howlin’ Wolf riff, or James Brown’s command, “Get on up!” Larry rallies his fellow musicians to raise the spirits of people of all ages, nations, and neighborhoods.

Jon Mc Donald, rhythm guitarist and bandleader for Magic Slim and the Teardrops (2001-2013 has played with a who’s who of the Chicago blues scene for 30 years, always making the band sound better with his powerful playing, and interesting song selection, and deep knowledge of blues history.  He’s performed and recorded with many blues artists, including Hip Link Chain, Casey Jones, West Side Heat, and Robert Covington.

Jon played last summer with Larry Taylor in a series of West Side community concerts and recently produced a CD of a Brazilian blues harmonica standout, Ivan Marcio, and should be coming out with his own self-released CD soon, “Stealin It Back!” 

Guitarist Joe B & the Shotgun Band, J.R. “Bootsie” Lee on bass and Curtis LaBon on drums, have been the real kingpins of the scene of the West Side of Chicago blues. Official band of the late club Starlite, the group was long associated with the singer Jumpin ‘ Willie Cobbs” and now often plays at Wash Lounge on W. Madison.

Check out Jean Luc Vabres’ excellent blues blog on Joe B:

Delmark’s “West Side Soul” revue show time is, once again: this Sunday night, March 30 , 9:30 to 1:45 a.m., BLUES on Halsted, 2519 N. Halsted, Chicago IL 60618

Disclaimer: this writer has worked with Larry Taylor and Jon McDonald and DIGS the band!

Bonni McKeown

"Barrelhouse Bonni" McKeown, the author of "West Side Blues Blog," has played piano and written about blues music for over 15 years.  She has led classes for young and old on...