The 2016 Chicago Blues Festival, June 10th – 12th, will again be held in Grant Park. This year the festival is celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Alligator Records. The Chicago based label was founded in 1971 by Bruce Iglauer. An underfinanced operation Iglauer operated out of his efficiency apartment. The first album issued on the label was “Hound Dog Taylor and The Houserockers”. The Alligator catalog now contains almost 300 albums. Iglauer has stuck to his initial philosophy and delivers straight from the soul blues and blues rooted music he calls “Genuine Houserockin’ Music”.
Initially Iglauer concentrated on recording Chicago’s “own” like Big Walter Horton, Son Seals, Fenton Robinson, Lonnie Brooks, and Koko Taylor. He undertook projects like the six-LP “Living Chicago Blues”. Then Alligator began recording regional blues musicians from across the country. Artists like Lonnie Mack, Albert Collins, James Cotton, “Gatemouth” Brown, Johnny Winter and Roy Buchanan. Iglauer then helped to promote the “next generation” of artists like Kenny Neal, Little Charlie & The Nightcats, Michael “Iron Man” Burks, Roomful of Blues, and Curtis Salgado.
Iglauer continues to sign new young artists that are representative of the genre and that will extend the life of the blues to future generations. Selwyn Birchwood, Jarekus Singleton, and Toronzo Cannon are among those that come to mind. In doing so Iglauer adds to the culture of the music and to the City of Chicago.
In order to commemorate this occasion on June 10th Alligator Records is releasing their 45th Anniversary Collection a two-cd compilation of some of the best from their catalogue. This is especially nice for those young listeners first being introduced to this exciting music and to those who might not have heard all that the catalog has to offer.
Some of the artists included in this collection who haven’t already been mentioned are Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials; Shemekia Copeland; Elvin Bishop; Charlie Musselwhite; Marcia Ball; Tommy Castro; Carey and Laurie Bell; Joe Louis Walker; Delbert McClinton; Billy Boy Arnold; and Luther Allison. There is enough music included here to program a radio station for quite some time.