Your Complete Guide to the Chicago Blues Scene
LITTLE ARTHUR DUNCAN
Live at Rosa’s Blues Lounge
By Dave Glynn
The recent passing of Little Arthur Duncan finally gave me the fire to get off my butt and review this DVD, “Live at Rosa’s Blues Lounge.” As another great Bluesman leaves us, fortunately he leaves behind an excellent documentation of one his live performances at Rosa’s in Chicago. The great Bob Koester, Delmark Records/Jazz Record Mart, is behind the production and recording of the event, with Tom Koester directing and Steve Wagner rounding out the production with editing and supervision.
Overall, this is a great capture of a live performance by Little Arthur
Duncan, whose career weaved in and out of several decades but began in
Arthur tutored under the best, especially Little Walter for whom he was
nick-named. Before arriving
Little Arthur’s style is truly Chicago blues and he was both a songwriter and performer. The DVD features four songs written by Arthur and the rest of the tunes are a mix of Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, Slim Harpo and other great Chicago Blues songwriters. Arthur’s performance style is dynamic and out-front. He works the audience with his vocals and his energy. Even when he sits, he conveys a good time.
His band has a fine resume with Illinois Slim (Eddie Taylor) and Rich Kreher (Muddy Waters) on guitars, Michael Azzi (Eddy Clearwater) on bass, Twist Turner (Buddy Guy, Jimmy Reed) on drums and Little Al Thomas guesting on one number . Most importantly about his band – they are a true supporting act and don’t overshadow Arthur in any way.
Songs that stand out are the opener, Arthur’s own “Leaving Mississippi,” Little Walter’s “I Got to Go,” Slim Harpo’s (James H. Moore) “Scratch My Back” where Arthur goes out into the crowd, Howlin’ Wolf’s “44 Blues,” and Arthur’s “Bad Reputation” that showcases the band a bit more than other numbers. A special treat is track 15, “I Got Find My Baby” that features Little Al Thomas on lead vocals, while Arthur apparently was on break.
If you want to know what it’s like to catch a great Chicago Blues act in a Chicago Blues nightclub, you’ve come to the right place with this DVD. If you want to see the late, great Arthur Duncan, you’ve also come to the right place. This is an excellent item to add to the Blues collection and a great introduction to the Chicago Blues for any new student of the Blues. Arthur Duncan will rest in peace, but this DVD will live on; enjoy it!
“Little Arthur Duncan Live at Rosa’s”
is available at the Jazz Record Mart in
About the author: Dave Glynn is the Publicity Chair of the Blues on the Fox Festival in Aurora at http://www.bluesonthefoxaurora.com
Dave is also lead singer of the Empty Can Band at http://www.emptycanband.com.