Review by King Dale
This album is bad to the black cat bone. Not your standard Blues cover album. This little gem is an honest tribute to the great Chicago blues men of the 50’s & 60’s. The title of the album 2120 South Michigan Ave., was the sight of the original and now famous Chess Records recording studios. Also known as Cadillac Records, because all of the artists drove Cadillacs that were given to them by the studio’s owners. Chess Records was owned and operated by Phil & Leonard Chess. Sons of Polish immigrants, the Chess brothers captured the sound of these great musicians and presented it in a way that’s just as raw and powerful today as it was fifty years ago.
The opening track, which is titled “Going Back”, is exactly what George and the boys are doing; going back to that magical place where some of the greatest music you ever heard was created. The majority of the tracks that follow are classic Chess covers from that era. The songs were originally recorded by some of Chess Records best recording artists including Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters and Little Walter, as well as Rock n’ Roll legends, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and the Rolling Stones. That’s right, the Rolling Stones. They were so fascinated with the sound and style of Chicago Blues, they recorded their second album (12X5) there in 1964.
The covers are all tastefully done and true to there original form. The two that stand out the most for me include special guests. One of the last remaining Blues legends from that era, and perhaps the best Blues guitarist alive, Buddy Guy, joins the band and plays some blistering guitar on “High Heeled Sneakers”. At age seventy five, he’s still blowing away the competition. The other track istitled “My Babe”, which features Charlie Musslewhite blowing out that sweet Chicago sound on harmonica.
The second original track is titled “Willie Dixon’s Gone”. This song is about the man who is the backbone of the Chicago sound. Not only did he provide the beat (being the bass player for almost all of the Chess recording sessions), he was also the producer and song writer for most of the artists. He may very well be the most covered artist in Rock n’ Roll history. Every day when your listening to your classic rock radio stations, you’re hearing his beats and lyrics and don’t even know it. I highly recommend this album, and if you find you enjoy it also, I strongly suggest you check out the original Chess recording artists as well. Like the late great Willie Dixon always said, “You don’t get the fruits without the roots”.