Snooks Eaglin | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Snooks Eaglin 

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Even in New Orleans, where versatility is a given and unorthodox stylistic blends are coin of the realm, guitarist Snooks Eaglin is a musical universe unto himself. Eaglin was there when Crescent City R & B was being born: that's his guitar on "Jock-A-Mo," Sugar Boy Crawford's rollicking 1954 prototype for the "Iko Iko" cycle of Mardi Gras tunes. Eaglin's early-60s recordings for the Imperial label are treasured R & B collectors' items today; his acoustic folk-blues sessions for archivist Harry Oster are considered classics of that genre as well. Veterans still speak in awe of the way Eaglin used to do Ray Charles's "Drown in My Own Tears" all by himself, simultaneously incorporating piano, horn, and bass parts into his guitar work, and he's still at it: on Teasin' You, his 1992 Black Top release, he re-creates Santo & Johnny's guitar duet "Sleepwalk," including both guitar parts in his solo version. His current Black Top disc, Soul's Edge, finds him taking on everything from Mardi Gras flag-wavers to modern funk workouts to New Orleans classics like Fats Domino's "Josephine." And it's all infused with Eaglin's irresistible meld of grace, musicality, and unquenchable R & B fire. Saturday, 10 PM, Gulf Coast, 2251 N. Lincoln; 929-4777.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Rick Olivier.

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