Jabbing, soaring, always sporting a soul-soaked edge, Gene “Daddy G” Barge’s tenor saxophone is as every bit as distinctive as that of King Curtis, Boots Randolph, or Maceo Parker. Like those sax heroes, he’s played on a ton of hits. He’s written, arranged, and produced plenty more, even had one of his own. And Daddy G still regularly rocks the house with the Chicago Rhythm & Blues Kings as their star vocalist, sharing sax duties in the band with Terry Ogolini.
The West Side may not be quite the thriving Chicago blues hotbed that it once was, but the sound it spawned remains as compelling as ever. Magic Sam and Freddy King were the West Side’s leading guitar slingers during the genre’s heyday. Eddy Clearwater was right there too, along with Luther Allison and Jimmy Dawkins, and he hasn’t forgotten the area’s vast influence on his formative years–or its long-ago downhome demographics.
One extraordinarily inventive saxist had the Nashville studio scene sewn up tight. Whenever Brenda Lee, Roy Orbison, or Elvis booked a Music Row record date, Homer Louis Randolph invariably got the call if a horn was required. Few knew him by his given name; everyone called him Boots. His diamond-cut yakety sax attack was as distinctive as that of any of those other now-legendary horn greats.
If you grew up on Chicago’s Northwest Side during the mid-1960s and you dug rock and roll, the Buckinghams were near and dear to your heart, in no small part because they hailed from the same part of town you did. They scored one national smash after another, pacing the pop hit parade in 1967 with “Kind Of A Drag,” yet the young band remained accessible to their legion of fans who hailed from the ‘hood...