Have you heard?  The Rolling Stones this month released an all-blues album, Blue and Lonesome,covering tunes by masters of Chicago blues such as  Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Magic Sam, Jimmy Reed. The Rolling Stones based their great rock hit music on Chicago blues, are are saying so again! The album is topping theBillboard charts in Great Britain and Australia and hitting #4 in the USA.  

But what of the Chicago musicians still playing this music today?

 On the record is “Ride ’em on Down,” a song by VeeJay guitar master Eddie Taylor Sr, whose oldest son, Larry Taylor, a West Side singer and drummer, is the bluesman I’ve worked with since 2004 when I stayed in Austin. Like many blues performers today, Larry helps keep the music going in small neighborhood clubs and occasional tourist spots. As Chicagoans know— most of these blues men and women are now in their 60s.  If they are not suitably honored and rewarded, younger generations are unlikely to take up this American roots music.  And the world would lose the healing music our kids desperately need right now.   

 “We won’t be around forever,” Larry says to me every day. Several of his good music buddies, including Killer Ray Allison and Osee Anderson, passed this year. “We’re doing our thing now so people will not forget us and our music.”


Larry and I are producing a new album for 2017 featuring some of his original tunes, plus his Taylor brothers and sisters singing their parents music.  Playing on the album are the Soul Blues Healers, a skillful band of West and South Side musicians. 

 Want to help make Larry’s album happen and get one of the first CDs off the press?  Consider donating now so we can finish it up by February.  Here’s our business plan:

  1. Raise $3500 to record 3 more songs, mix and master and press up Larry Taylor’s new album.  Any money raised above that will be used for promotion. 
  2. Talk with community groups about the value of today’s blues musicians. Sell CDs and ask for more donations.
  3. Raise $20,000 to finish a short version of our feature movie The Rhythm and the Blues, based directly on Larry’s life story, growing up in a house of blues.  
  4. Show the short film at festivals and community groups and get ready to produce the full two hour version, which features lots of blues and delightful Chicago scenes such as the open market on Maxwell Street.  See the trailer here  

 and find out more here  


We need your support to bring Larry’s songs and movie into the world and raise people’s spirits in the Windy City.  For a donation of $35 or more before Jan. 1, we’ll mail you a CD, and for $50 or more we’ll include an autographed poster of Larry Taylor.

Donations are tax deductible through my Chicago blues project fiscal sponsor, the 501c3 nonprofit arts organization Fractured Atlas. CLICK HERE for details  or email me Bonni@barrelhousebonni.com to find out where to mail your check. 

Stop and smell the flowers, taste the snowflakes, hug your friends and family, and groove to some real West Side/South Side BLUES!  It will make 2017 go a lot better in these challenging times.


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