John Primer & The Real Deal Blues Band 

Slippery Noodle Inn
Dec. 21-22; $5

Blues guitarist/singer John Primer is a link to Chicago blues history while still being one of the driving forces of the modern blues scene.

He was born on a sharecropper’s land in Camden, Miss., and was exposed to Mississippi Delta blues at an early age. His family moved to Chicago when Primer was 4 years old. Like many blues musicians, he got his first musical break singing in his church choir. By age 9, he was playing guitar.

Primer’s first band, The Maintainers (which also featured Arthur Adams on guitar), made its debut in 1964 and had a four-year run. This was followed by a six-year stint with The Brotherhood, which specialized in soul and R&B. In 1974, Primer’s blues credibility grew when he was asked to front the house band at Chicago’s famous blues club Theresa’s. During this five-year stretch, he learned to play slide guitar courtesy of his guitar hero Sammy Lawhorn, who had also played with Muddy Waters in the 1960s.

He was asked by blues legend Willie Dixon to join his band in 1979. This led to Primer joining Muddy Waters’ band. After Muddy’s death in 1983, the band still toured as a tribute.

A year later, Primer joined another Chicago blues staple, Magic Slim & The Teardrops, a union that lasted 14 years. This was followed by Primer going solo. He’s recorded albums for Earwig (Stuff You Gotta Watch), Atlantic (The Real Deal), Wolf (including It’s A Blues Life and Blue Steel) and Telarc (Knocking at Your Door). He released a live DVD (Live at B.L.U.E.S.) in 2005.

A John Primer show brings modern Chicago blues with a little look back at how he got here (and who helped him) in the first place. If all that wasn’t enough, the other Slippery Noodle stage will feature local blues favorite Gene Deer. Two bands, one cover.

Matthew Socey is host of The Blues House Party, Saturdays at 10 p.m. on WFYI 90.1 FM.

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