Long John Hunter | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Long John Hunter 

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LONG JOHN HUNTER

Long John Hunter started his blues career in Beaumont, Texas; his first recording, "Crazy Baby," in 1954, was on Don Robey's famed Duke label in Houston, the same outfit that helped build the careers of Big Mama Thornton and Bobby "Blue" Bland, among many others. But his real break occurred in 1957, when he crossed the border into Ciudad Juarez and became the featured act at the Lobby, a club with a clientele like the cast of a Fellini movie. There he developed his flamboyant stage act and high-tension guitar style, evident on the series of singles he cut for the Yucca label in the early 60s (anthologized on Texas Border Town Blues, on the Double Trouble label, in 1986). A locally produced effort out of El Paso in 1985 (Smooth Magic) and a disc on Spindletop (Ride With Me) in 1992 expanded his reputation somewhat, but until recently his live shows have been limited primarily to the west Texas/New Mexico club circuit. His current CD on Alligator, the aptly titled Border Town Legend, has thrust him into the international blues spotlight. He's a dynamic stylist with an irrepressible sense of fun, chops to burn, and a fertile musical imagination. Saturday, 10 PM, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190.

DAVID WHITEIS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Long John Hunter, by James Fraher.

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