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Chick Willis - The Don Of The Blues

CDS Records

Chick Willis is an old-school blues and R&B performer whose career goes all the way back to the 1950?s and who has worked with many notable artists, including Elmore James. He released a few semi-obscure singles on his own as a bandleader until striking pay dirt with his infamous 1972 hit "Stoop Down Baby" which has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of three million copies to date. That hit set Willis on his course as a master of risqué or "blue'" material, which he still continues to record.

His latest CD release, The Don Of The Blues, features cuts like "Bootie Call", "Your Cat Is Killing My Dog", 'Undercover Hootchie', and "Big Leg Woman", leaving no doubt as to what is on Willis' mind. Underneath all the innuendo, however, is a solid singer and guitarist.  Willis is a bit more R&B than straight up blues here and he fronts an excellent band. It is obvious he is still capable of rocking any house in the world, even after many decades in the business.

It is a shame that despite a long musical life and great talent Willis hasn't attained the name recognition of performers like Buddy Guy and B.B. King. The adult-oriented material he specializes in is much tougher to get airplay with. The fact that the modern blues audience seems to favor more straight-ahead material than Willis' smoother R&B sounds doesn't help. Still, Willis is a national treasure

Willis just keeps moving forward and doing things his way and that is great news for those of us who are hip to what he does. If you get a chance to catch him in your town or at a festival, make the most of it. You may find Willis' smoother flavor quite appealing..

Reviewer Mike O'Cull is a noted Chicago music writer and Blues Blast contributor. Visit his MySpace page at:

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