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Interview With Bruce Iglauer - December 2009

By Terry " Gatorman" Lape

Previously published at: http://www.ameriblues.com Used by permission

Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for me.   How did you first start in the record business?

I came to Chicago at the beginning of 1970 to work for Bob Koester, my mentor and hero, at his label, Delmark Records, and in his store, the (still wonderful) Jazz Record Mart. I thought I was going to stay for a year and then go to graduate school, but Iím still here. At first I just wanted to be around the blues scene, and to see recordings being made. I became Bobís shadow; if he went to a South or West Side club, I went along. If he went to the studio, I was there as gopher. If he was editing tape, I wanted to watch. My first recording session was ďJunior Wellsí South Side Blues JamĒ with Buddy Guy, Louis Myers, Otis Span, Fred Below and Earnest Johnson. It was like going to heaven. I also got to watch/help out on sessions with Robert Lockwood Jr., Roosevelt Sykes, Jimmy Dawkins and a few others. I never dreamed of having my own label; I just wanted to work for Delmark. Bob is still a huge hero to me, and I feel heís never gotten the credit he deserves as a key figure in bringing the blues to the world. I walk in his footsteps. At that time, the entire blues scene was in the black community, and I was going to the little ghetto blues bars 4-5 nights a week. The music was often just terrific, and the atmosphere was very special. The musicians and the audience were basically the same people, and they communicated in a way that I donít see when blues is more of a presentation, as it usually is today. The people in these ghetto clubs shared a cultural understanding, a history and understood blues as a way to heal everyoneís emotional wounds, not just a form of entertainment. Those nights were some of the happiest experiences of my life. Often I was the only white person there, and almost everyone was very friendly and welcoming. Sometimes the street was a little scary, but the clubs (which were basically neighborhood bars with a band) were full of working class people who understood that I was there for the music, and appreciated it. This was before I was a record guy; I was just a fan, and a ďhippieĒ (at least in appearance). I got to know a lot of musicians personally.

Junior Wells always kept an eye on me and we drank on street corners. People like Lefty Dizz , Eddie Shaw, Big Bad Ben and Magic Slim were really nice to me.

Why the Blues? 

Itís hard to explain, and I donít entirely understand it myself. They say that if you donít love the blues, you have a hole in your soul. Well, it seems like the blues fills the hole in my soul. From the first time I really heard blues, at a Fred McDowell performance in 1966, it was as though blues spoke directly to the innermost part of me. I know that sounds corny, but itís true. I felt Fredís music was the most honest, direct and emotional thing I had ever heard. After that, other kinds of music seemed false and plastic. These days, Iím not an easy man to move with music, but when the blues works for me, it still works just like it did that first time. Blues has made me happier than I ever imagined, and itís wrenched me more than I ever imagined. Sometimes itís so good it makes me cry (in a good way). First and foremost, Iím a fan. Thatís crucial in understanding what Alligator is about. I made a label to share my fan-dom with others.

In 1971 you left another blues label shortly after you recorded Hound Dog Taylor &the House Rockers. Did you have any idea at that time that you would become one of the most influential Blues Men in the industry today?

Not at all. When I recorded Hound Dog (while I was still working at Delmark Records), all I hoped was to sell enough copies to make another record. I never dreamed of a catalog of 260 albums. Hell, I never dreamed of having an employee! Everything was day to day, just trying to make my company survive. I never wanted to be a businessman, but I realized early on that unless I was good at business, I couldnít make more records. So, I learned. A lot of people I know tried to start labels at that time. They loved the music but didnít take time to learn the business.

What did it cost for that very first record?

Thatís easyómy first studio bill was $956 dollars. That included cutting the master disc. We recorded direct to two-track, mixing as we went. There was nothing to do over. We recorded each song a couple of times, and chose the best versions.  I paid the band $960 dollars--$480 for Hound Dog and $240 each for the other two members of the band. Of course, that was an advance. They made thousands on royalties over the years. I pressed 1000 LP's, and got the jackets printed on credit. Then the hard work began!

In the start up years, what were some of the challenges you faced?

Essentially, everything, I had no distributors, no radio play, no press, no booking for the artists I recorded, no road management, nothing. I was on my own. So, I found distributors (some of them I knew as Delmark distributors, but others I had to find; I wanted distributors who werenít so specialized that they only dealt with a few stores), made my own contacts with radio and press, booked the bands, traveled with them, published their music, and pretty much did everything, including packing and shipping the boxes of LPs. I could only afford to release one album a year, and if that one didnít sell, it was hard to get the distributors to pay me for anything. I was operating out of an efficiency apartment in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. It took two years to move to a three-room apartment, and a year later I bought a small house. It took from 1971, when I started, until 1985, before I wasnít living in the same place as Alligator. I didnít have a full time employee until 1977. Eventually I had seven people coming to my house, with LPs warehoused in the basement and 7000 cassettes in the kitchen. I knew then it was time to move, either the label or me. I chose to move the label, and I still live in the house. Alligator has never stopped being a challenge, or a battle. Actually, this may be the hardest time ever in the history of the label. I donít know how record labels are going to survive the closing of literally thousands of stores and the rampant illegal downloading. Plus blues is not at the peak of its popularity right now. We need some young champions of the music who have a vision for taking the blues into the future.

Can you name some of the very first artistís you recorded?

Sure. Hound Dog Taylor, Big Walter Horton, Son Seals, Fenton Robinson, Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, Albert Collins and the Living Chicago Blues series, which had 18 different artists spread over six LPs. Itís now four CDs.

Can you tell us a little bit about the costs involved to develop an artist for recording?

Every album varies in costs. First, there is the cost of the musicians, both the sidemen and the leader. These can vary a lot. Then thereís the studio costótypically $600 to $1000 per day. In the old days, recording tape was a big expense, often $1500 or more for an album. We usually spend between three and ten days recording, and mixing is usually about three songs a day. There are artists who record really quickly, like Lilí Ed & The Blues Imperials, and artists who need more time. When Iím the producer (Iíve produced or co-produced about 125 albums), I prefer the faster artists. Iím not super patient! I like to do as much rehearsal as possible. I donít think the studio is the place to experiment with arrangements. The studio is the place to get the best possible performance. But sometimes, when Iím working with an out of town band, we have to pull a lot of the music together in the studio. Once Iíve recorded and mixed, then thereís mastering (usually around $1000-$1500 if you want it done right), photos, packaging. And then we get to manufacture about 4500 CDs that we give away as promo copies, to radio, press, and retailers. Then we have to buy retail programs at the storesóthings like listening posts and top shelf positions and featured placements. None of those things are free. And we have to do our basic advertising. Usually this means that weíre spending $15-20,000 per release to set up the recording in the marketplace before we sell a single copy. In the meantime, weíre working with the artist, the booking agent and hopefully a professional artist manager to do tour planning, so that the artist is out in front of the public when the new release is being promoted. We have about three months when the media and stores will think of something as a new release. After that, itís back catalog.  During that three month period, we will spend additional money advertising and publicizing every gig the artist does. We continue to publicize gigs after that, but our big advertising push is in those first 90 days. One thing thatís important to understand is that we have to pay for all these things, on a product that gives us a profit of around $6 per CD (less for a downloaded album).  So itís a very risky proposition. Alligator spends more promoting a release than anyone else in blues, and I like to think we do it better.

How do you find new artists?

Iím constantly listening to artists, both on demos or homemade recordings (or on other labels) and at live gigs. The first thing I go by is my gut feeling. Does this artist reach my emotions, stir me, touch a little of my soul? Itís MY label; I have to believe in everything we release. Alligator probably signs at the most one or two new artists a year. So, as youíd imagine, these decisions are terribly important. Besides the cost of making a new record, including paying the artist, we spend tens of thousands of dollars promoting, marketing and advertising every new release. And of course we also spend hundreds of hours of human time trying to attract the attention of the media, the retailers and potential customers. Plus, for every artist or band we sign, this means there are hundreds that we donít sign. If one of them had been a better choice (or maybe not signing anyone new and attempting to further promote our existing roster of artists would have been the smartest choice), then we have wasted a huge amount of time and money. In 2009, the new artists we signed were Buckwheat Zydeco and Tommy Castro, who were obviously already well-established acts. Plus, we released the debut by Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, who had begun life as Little Charlie and the Nightcats and spent their whole recording career with Alligator. In 2008, we signed Janiva Magness, Eddy ďThe ChiefĒ Clearwater and Smokiní Joe Kubek and Bnois King. Again, these were artists who had already had some success on other labels. The last artists we signed who had not been on a nationally distributed label before Alligator were Eric Lindell in 2006 and Michael Burks in 2002. So, obviously, one thing I look at when considering artists is their previous recording history, including their sales history. Iím always looking for artists who have done a lot to establish their own fan base, whether locally and regionally or nationally. I need artists who have some sense of how to take care of their own careers, or who may have some kind of professional management or booking agent. I canít deal with artists who are Ďweekend warriorsí or who are unprepared for major touring; getting in front of audiences is the best way blues and roots artists can create fans and sell their music. There isnít enough radio and other media for blues and roots to make touring less than totally essential.

Of course I look for artists who have their own sound and style, well connected to blues but not repeating whatís already been done. This is a tough row to hoe for artists. The pressure is often to do familiar songs and re-create familiar sounds. But Muddy Waters didnít become famous by coping Son House and Robert Johnson. B.B. didnít become famous trying to copy T-Bone Walker. So creating your own songs, or taking other peopleís songs and making something fresh from them, is essential for anyone hoping to be signed with Alligator. Above all, there is the live performance. If an artist can thrill me on stage (and Iím a tough sell), then Iím interested. That includes the ability to play but also to sing really well, and to communicate with the audience. I do still listen to demos, but itís been a long time since I found an artist based on his or her demo recording. And these days so many artists who arenít Ďreadyí are financing their own albums and sending them to me. They are expecting me to take an hour of my life to listen to their album, and are often resentful when I only listen to the first four songs. As almost no one else in the industry listens to demos at all, I would hope they would be thrilled just to get a listen, but often my honest response leads to an angry reply, not a Ďthank you for taking the timeí note. No one wants to hear ďyou canít singĒ, even when they asked for my opinion. And ďyou canít singĒ (said really nicely) is my most common criticism of demos and self-made records that I receive.

Can you tell us some of the steps involved in recording an artist?

One thing that distinguishes Alligator from most other blues labels is how much preparation we put in before recording. In the old days, when so much of the standard blues repertoire was still new to younger fans, labels like Delmark could bring artists into the studio and if they didnít write a lot (like Magic Sam), they could still make great records of songs that are familiar now but werenít then. Now I work very closely with my artists on repertoire and arrangements, to try to make each album as fresh and original as possible. If I am producer, I generally rehearse quite a bit before we get to the studio, trying to figure out how to give each song its individual identity, planning the dynamics, and honing the lyrics. I try to involve the whole band in creating the arrangement. Musicians play with more fire if they have some ownership of the arrangement instead of just coming in playing a pre-defined part. Plus, sessions are more fun that way. Some of my artists produce themselves, like Tinsley Ellis , Rick Estrin, Eric Lindell, Lee Rocker and Roomful of Blues. Some bring their own producers, like Marcia Ball, Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. and Tommy Castro. For some, like Lilí Ed, Michael Burks and Smokiní Joe Kubek; Bnois King, I produce with the artist. Under almost all circumstances, Iím going to be involved with the choice of songs and give some input on the arrangements. One thing I like to point out is that I am running a commercial record company, albeit in a specialized field of music. Iím not just saying to my artists ďexpress yourself.Ē I want them to make honest records that they believe in, with songs they want to perform live. But I also have strong feelings about what each artistís most distinctive talents are, and why I wanted them on Alligator. Iím not shy about saying to an artist, ďthatís the kind of song your fans likeĒ or ďthatís not really a song that is showing what makes you specialĒ or ďthatís one that will challenge the public definition of you.Ē Generally I will insist on approving the mixes and mastering, and want input into the order of songs on an album. I am often called a control freak, but thatís mostly by people who donít understand the kind of input a label normally has into its releases (outside the world of blues). Itís my job to sell the final album. If the artist gives me something that I canít sell, then Iím going to disappoint him or her. I have had situations where an artist wants very much to make an album that I donít believe shows the artistís strengths, or I simply believe is wrong-headed for that artist, and that I wonít be able to market effectively. In that case, I have sometimes released an artist rather than put out an album I donít believe in.

What do you look for in a new artist or signing an artist?

Iíve answered some of this already, but to summarizeóI want artists who have a real musical vision, with at least one foot firmly in the blues/R&B tradition but other elements that make their music personal and different from whatís already been done. I want artists with both vocal and instrumental talent. I ideally want artists who write their own material, or can personalize songs written by others. The point is of course that they need to have a distinctive, personal sound. I absolutely need artists who know how to deliver on stage. Blues and roots music is all about communication skills, both musical and visual. Itís not only music, itís also show business, so a visually boring act is not for me (though I know that some artists can hold stock still and keep the attention of the audience through their intensity). I need artists who understand that they are in the business of being professional musicians, and that itís a full time job. The fun part is doing a show. The un-fun part is leading a band (very different skill set), honoring contracts, working with booking agents, being media-available and media-friendly, not getting too Ďrelaxedí on substances to keep from delivering a top notch show and total professionalism. I need artists who have already established some kind of fan base, even if itís just local; I need to have something to build on. Ideally, Iíd like artists who are internet-savvy and take care of things like Myspace and Facebook. And of course I need artists who are prepared to sell their CDs from the stage, understand how to do that, and donít think they are Ďaboveí taking the fansí money! But ultimately the real and final question isódoes their music move me?  I have built Alligator to be a label that has a consistently of quality, rootedness, and musical urgency. I have to believe in every release. The Alligator Logo is also the Bruce Seal Of Approval. I admit there are some releases I like better than others, but my concept of the label is all killer, no filler. 

If I was to listen to your Ipod what song would I hear?

First, I donít own an Ipod. I really hate compressed files because they eliminate so many of the subtleties of the recording and the mix. In a car you canít tell, but if you play a compressed file against the original CD, you can tell the difference in a secondÖassuming youíre not listening through earbuds or computer speakers.

But if you want to know what I listen to for pleasure, the answer is almost always blues records from the 1950s and 1960s. If I had to listen to only one artist for the rest of my life, it would almost certainly be Elmore James. I could argue he was the greatest blues singer of all time, just a chilling voice. Plus, Iím a slide guitar freak.

What blues song do you think could be a representative of Chicago blues?

Tough question. Do you mean the Ďclassicí Chicago blues of the 1950s? In that case, my choice would be something obvious, like ďHoochie Coochie ManĒ, with the lineup of electric guitars, amplified harp, piano, bass and drums and a charismatic vocalist like Muddy. If we start talking about the somewhat Ďmoderní era, Iíd pick another obvious choice, like Otis Rushís ďI Canít Quit You, BabyĒ. If weíre talking about todayís Chicago blues, itís harder to define, because the language of blues has become more universal. There is less Chicago about Chicago blues now than in the past. Iíd probably listen to one of the so-called throwback artists, like Lilí Ed or Magic Slim, who could have been recording in the 60s as easily as today.

Can you define what a true Blues Man is?

Honestly, the answer is  Ďno.í I would say that being a blues man or woman in my mind is more than being a musician. The music must be an expression of your soul. Like John Lee Hooker said, ďitís in him and itís got to come out.Ē Thereís another song (canít remember who wrote it) that says ďI didnít choose the blues, the blues chose me.Ē  And I do believe that you canít perform blues effectively without having lived a lot of life. Thatís why some of the kid guitar hotshots donít impress me. They can play a lot of notes very fast, but they donít understand the emotional function of each one. As I like to say, they donít know what the important notes are, so they donít know which ones tell the story. And often they donít understand that a rest (when you donít play a note) is part of the music and the storytelling too.

Can you tell our readers what Lumpty lump is?

Ah, an easy one! Yes, itís a type of shuffle where the rhythm goes ďlumpty lumptyĒ like a horse cantering. A ďtrueĒ lump for me involves playing the same note twice in the bass pattern. But when blues musicians are jamming, they can say ďLump in G from the 5Ē and count it off, and they will all be speaking pretty much the same musical language. Someone like Bob Stroger is a great lump bass player. And Jimmy Reed was the king of putting great catchy lyrics to a lump beat.

You just concluded your seat on the Board of Directors for The Blues Foundation. Tell us a little bit about that experience.

I am a big supporter of the Blues Foundation, and consider the production of the International Blues Challenge and the Blues Music Awards to be major achievements, and very good for our community. Nonetheless, I wish the Foundation would do a lot more, especially in the area of blues education. The mission statement of the Foundation talks about ďensuring the future of the bluesĒ and I think blues education in the schools and elsewhere is a lot of that job. Blues is not fashionable music at all right now, and younger people have almost no way to learn about it and become fans. So I wish the Foundation would dedicate itself to that goal. During my time on the board, I was considered to be pretty much of a maverick, and probably wasnít the best-liked person there. I bumped heads with the staff quite a bit too. We just see things very differently. I believe in the mission of the Foundation. Itís a question of how to fulfill that mission where we often disagree.

Pat Morgan, Pinetop Perkinsí manager, is the new president of the Blues Foundation. I am eager to see how she steps into the role, and how she affects things. Paul Benjamin, the outgoing president, was very much responsible for significant improvement in the BMAs. Jay Sieleman, the executive director, has done a great deal to make the IBC a truly fine event. But producing two major events, no matter how good, is just not enough.

Where do you see the genre in the future?

This is a crucial and scary time for the blues. The most famous icons of our music, B.B. King and Buddy Guy, are in their 80s and 70s. After them, no one artist has achieved a national profile that anywhere near equals theirs. B.B. has been amazing for the blues, both as a musician and as a spokesman. To have someone like him, who can communicate with audiences so easily and who can go on TV or radio and speak so eloquently about the blues, is a miracle, and has helped make the blues known worldwide. What other blues man can come on the Tonight Show and charm everyone? Unfortunately, no one who is coming up in the blues has that kind of combination of charisma, talent and eloquence, as well as being really well known. Iím afraid when B.B. is no longer with us, many people will pronounce the blues Ďdeadí. And it is true that the Ďyoung gunsí of the blues are mostly middle aged now. There are some good young artists, but many of them are guitar slingers rather than the whole package. And try to name someone under the age of 40 leading a working blues band in Chicago, or almost anywhere. Thatís not true in almost any other genre of music. We need to nurture our younger artists. We also need to have an expansive definition of blues, and lots of blues fans want new blues that sounds just like old blues. If the music doesnít evolve, it will petrify. I donít want blues to be like Dixieland jazzÖa museum piece with a few hardcore old fans that want re-creations of what has already happened. Youíll never beat Muddy at being Muddy. I can never understand why I get so many demos of Muddy and Robert Johnson songs. Do you really think you can bring something new to those, and make me forget the originals?

What are some of todayís challenges?

There are many. For a start, people arenít buying music like they used to. This includes both recorded music, and, to some extent, live music. Ever since 1999, when illegal downloading began, record stores have been closing. Weíve lost literally thousands of them. And the remaining ones are mostly stocking the hits, just like Wal-mart. As you can imagine, itís pretty tough to get blues records into hits-only stores. And stores were where a lot of fans (and potential fans) found out about new recordings for the first time. A good record store could be a port of entry for people to discover new music and even genres of music they didnít know about. Now that discovery isnít happening. Unfortunately, a lot of blues fans are older, and arenít very committed to shopping on the web. So our sales through Amazon and our own web site, www.alligator.com are not nearly as large as youíd expect. And many blues customers donít want to buy downloads. With our roots artists like Eric Lindell and JJ Grey Mofro, downloads can be around 30% of their sales. For our blues artists, they are more like 12%.

Still, the best way that a blues artist has to promote his or her career is live performance. Most of our artists tour year-around, usually the old-fashioned way, driving their own vans, hauling trailers, carrying their own gear with no road management or help of any kind. Only a few have buses or even an extra person to help. They survive by gigging as constantly as possible, selling CDs at the gigs (which is very important to us, as youíd imagine) and living almost from gig to gig. With blues not being so fashionable, and the economy in so much trouble, itís harder and harder for the artists to get the weekday gigs they need to support their touring. Having nights off is really expensive and most of our artists would be happy to gig 6 or 7 nights a week if the work were there. Theyíre not lazy! They try to save money from better paying festival dates and overseas tours, but itís hard.

How have you monopolized the internet?

We have hardly monopolized the internet! However, I can brag that I believe we were the first blues label to begin selling online, back in 1995. Our site at www.alligator.com offers not only the entire Alligator catalog of CDs but also Alligator-branded clothing and books, DVDs, calendars and other merchandise that I think any blues fan would be interested in.  Besides selling, our web site includes bio materials on all our artists, a complete history of the label, tour calendars and booking information for all our artists, an online jukebox that streams hundreds of Alligator tracks, a goodies section that includes free downloads, news of the label and artists, and most important, a place where fans can sign up to be on our mailing list! Besides offering them special deals from our site, we also inform them of gigs by Alligator artists in their area. We recently expanded this service to inform our Canadian and European customers about upcoming gigs and tours.

More recently, weíve established myspace and Facebook sites for any of our artists who didnít have them, and Iíve even begun to twitter, though I have to say that I think itís kind of silly. Myspace and Facebook are good tools to let fans know where gigs are.  These also include links to artistís videos. Weíre continuing to explore all kinds of online communication, as weíre very aware that traditional media is struggling. It sure was a lot easier when there werenít so many bloggers and podcasters trying to convince us how important their work was!

I hate to ask this question, but there is a rumor that you turned down Stevie Ray Vaughn. Is that true and if so why?

I heard Stevie live around 1980. At that time, he was playing what I heard as lots and lots of Albert King licks at about three times Albertís volume. I didnít hear original songs or much in the way of original guitar playing. In fact, as much as I appreciate and admire Stevie for turning on so many people to the blues (and for producing our wonderful Lonnie Mack record, ďStrike Like LightningĒ, which he also played on), I donít think many of his fans realized that he was playing a lot of other peopleís licks. Stevie had an amazing ability to absorb existing styles and playing. His playing of Albert Kingís and Lonnie Mackís styles was uncanny, and you could also hear his huge vocabulary of guitar from the players like Clarence Holliman, Roy Gaines and Pat Hare, who did lots of session work behind singers like Bobby Blue Bland and Junior Parker. Of course Stevie pumped up the volume and the intensity, but he would be the first to point the spotlight at his inspirations. So, I heard Stevie playing a lot of things that I considered derivative, and passed on him. I would say that he grew a great deal as an artist, but his music didnít really excite me a lot until about halfway through his recording career, when he began to write more original songs. I think his best, most original and personal music was still ahead of him. Of course, his death was a huge loss for the blues. No one since has managed to bring the blues to a new, young audience. We didnít know how much we needed him until he was gone. As Tinsley Ellis says, the only thing worse than a world full of Stevie Ray imitators is a world without them.

Now, donít ask me who ELSE I foolishly turned down!

Do you have any secrets you would like to share with our readers?

You mean, besides the names of the artists I mistakenly passed on? What Iíd say to aspiring blues recording artists isódonít get into this music because you think thereís a career for you there. There probably isnít, and if there is one, it will be a constant struggle without much financial reward. Play this music because you love it, because it soothes your soul and makes you smile. If someone hears you and likes you, great! But keep your day job.

For aspiring record business people, Iíd sayóthis is about the hardest time ever for anyone trying to run anything that resembles a record label. If you are determined to try it, apprentice to an existing label first. I learned a lot as I went along, but there is not time for that now. You need to know what youíre getting into before you get into it, not afterward.

If you could go back in time what one thing would you change?

This question made me smile. The first thing Iíd do is go back and see Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson live. In fact, Iíd see plenty more blues men and womenÖTommy Johnson, Skip James, Louise Johnson, Cripple Clarence Lofton, young Gatemouth, hundreds and hundreds. As far as business, there are some chances I should have taken and didnít. I could have signed Otis Rush, for example. And I would have invented cloning so that I could clone myself and have a couple of selves working all night so that I could go out to more gigs!

What are most proud of?

Wow. Lots of things. I have given many great artists recording opportunities and career opportunities they might never have otherwise had. I have helped make recordings that will stand the test of time, from Hound Dog Taylor to Professor Longhair to Koko Taylor to Lilí Ed to Corey Harris to Michael Hill to dozens more. I hope Iíve helped enlarge the audience for blues, and helped to carry the tradition into the future.

Whatís Next?

Right now weíre working on albums by The Holmes Brothers and Guitar Shorty for March release. In April we should have a new Janiva Magness. Soon Iíll be going into the studio with Smokiní Joe Kubek & Bnois King for a 2010 release.  Iím constantly listening and watching artists, trying to fine the visionary blues men and women for the next generation. I hope I have enough vision to recognize them. I like to think that the future of Alligator Records and the future of the blues will be one and the same.

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