Chicago Blues Master Willie Dixon

A Black History Month message

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By Bonni McKeown

from Willie Dixon, Chicago master music arranger and blues songwriter,  1915-1992  in his autobiography I Am the Blues:

 The blues are part of the history and heritage of our people, and these things are supposed to be known through the rest of history.

 ...When a person knows what his background is, it gives him a chance to be proud. The majority of things that America...came from black people themselves, but regardless of what a man makes or does...the one who controls him is the one who's the owner...

The blues changes just like everything else changes. Years ago, they were singing about cotton and corn because they were raising cotton and corn. Today you got political ideas, ideas of other things like peace, because the world has gotten so outrageous today with fighting going on. Everybody's fighting each other and nobody knows what the hell they're fighting about...

One way to ease away from fighting might be to chill out and listen to Willie on a mellow bass instrumental with Memphis Slim on piano.

 On the American Folk Blues tour in Germany in 1963, sponsored by Lippman & Rau. Willie's bass sets the pace for his fellow Chicago blues stars: Otis Spann and Memphis Slim, piano; Big Joe Williams and Lonnie Johnson guitar, Billy Stepney drums, Sonny Boy Williamson II on the harmonica, and Muddy Waters and Victoria Spivey, singing.

 Willie Dixon's home was on the South Side, and he's best known as a producer, arranger and songwriter with Chess Records. But he also made an impact on the West Side in the mid-1950s, producing Otis Rush, Buddy Guy and Magic Sam songs for  Cobra Records on Roosevelt Road.  The character of Willie Dixon was played by Cedric the Entertainer in  the movie Cadillac Records.

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Bonni McKeown from Chicago  

Posted: February 25th, 2014 8:42 PM

"I am the Blues."Willie Dixon speaks for the history of his people. A lesson for all of us.

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