Music

Delmark Records Celebrates 65 Years with a Tribute to the Greats

Modern blues performers celebrate the masters, with covers of Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Big Time Sarah, and more.

Tribute: Newly Recorded Blues Celebration of Delmark's 65th Anniversary
Various Artists

Delmark

14 June 2018

Amazon

In 1953, at the age of 20, Bob Koester recorded a traditional jazz group called the Windy City Six in his tiny record store on Delmar Street in St. Louis. Soon relocated to the actual Windy City, Delmark Records still bears the name of the place it began 65 years ago. In those six and a half decades, Delmark has released records by numerous blues and jazz legends, including Bud Powell, Jimmy Dawkins, Arthur Crudup, Buddy Guy, and Junior Wells, whose 1965 Hoodoo Blues Man is still the label's best-selling album. Today, Delmark is the oldest independent record label in America, run by Koester himself until May of 2018, when he finally retired.

To honor the occasion, Delmark has released Tribute: Newly Recorded Blues Celebration of Delmark's 65th Anniversary. It's a tribute to Koester, his label, and the artists who made it their home, featuring covers of seminal Delmark performers like Big Joe Williams, J.B. Hutto, and Sleepy John Estes. From the opening harmonica call of "Train I Ride" (Omar Coleman's tribute to Junior Wells) to the final piano flourish of "Boot That Thing" (Ken Saydak's tribute to Roosevelt Sykes), Tribute is a refreshing blast of straight-ahead, unfussy blues. Screaming guitars. Wailing harmonicas. Horn blasts. Powerful vocals. All performed in faithful styles ranging from Chicago blues to electric blues to muddy delta blues—a fitting tribute to legends of the form, and the legendary label that supported them.

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