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Sweet Home Chicago

Posted By Don Kuitula, Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 

"Sweet Home Chicago” is a blues standard originally recorded by Robert Johnson in 1936 which has been popularized by many musicians including Junior Parker, Eric Clapton, Keb’ Mo’ and perhaps most famously, the Blues Brothers. The song has become an anthem of the city and its vibrant blues history.

Chicago Blues is a type of blues music dating back to the 1920’s and is identified by its usage of the electric guitar and amplified harmonica. The pioneers of this style were Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon and Buddy Guy. Many of these artists recorded their sound at the iconic Chess Records on Chicago’s south side, whose recordings became a heavy influence on bands such as The Rolling Stones, Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The blues scene is still alive and well in the city with many places open seven days a week. Here are a few clubs to look into if you are interested in catching an old veteran or some of the newer bands keeping the Chicago Blues flame burning.


Kingston Mines is the oldest continually operating blues club in the city and hosts two bands on two stages 365 days a year. It has been ranked Chicago’s best blues club by many and offers a full menu of southern cooking.     

Buddy Guy’s Legends has truly lived up to the Legends name by featuring many top acts including Gregg Allman, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan who stop in to play a set. Buddy Guy, himself, is a regular when he is in town and can often be seen sitting at the bar enjoying the bands that are playing. The menu specializes in Louisiana style Cajun and soul food and it is the only place where you can find Buddy’s own craft beer called "Buddy Brew”.     

Rosa’s Lounge is a no frills blues club offering the widest range of blues styles to appease music enthusiasts of all genres. It has been voted "Chicago’s Friendliest Blues Lounge” and has a low cover charge. The club is family owned and operated by an Italian immigrant who came to Chicago after meeting Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells in Milan. He named the place after his mother who also came to the city to help run the business. The authentic Italian menu brings a bit of home to the bar for the family.

Blue Chicago is the closest venue to the Intercontinental and is known for showcasing female blues singers. They are open seven days a week and have a full bar but no food menu. The walls are beautifully decorated by the work of famed artist John Carrol-Doyle.     

B.L.U.E.S. is considered a blues dive bar with an intimate, if not cramped, feel. With cheap cover and a small room, primarily booking local musicians, things can heat up very quickly on stage. As an added bonus, Sunday nights cover also gets you into Kingston Mines which is located across the street.

Tags:  2016  AAO  blog  Blues  Chicago  cute  education  Educational Meeting  Interactive  Travel 

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Comments on this post...

Alan Frohlichstein says...
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Great job covering the clubs. I hope people have a chance to catch some of the great entertainment available in Chicago.
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Stuart B. Alfred, CRA, OCT-C says...
Posted Friday, October 21, 2016
Great, dynamite job sir Donald. Legends is were I chatted with Buddy after seeing him perform 3 times. This town is awesome.
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