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Label Watch: Rooster Blues

Jim O’Neal was a long way from his hometown in Mississippi when he experienced his blues epiphany back in 1968. While studying journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.-just up the road a piece from the Windy City-he was initiated into the cult of Chicago blues, first via classic Chess and Vanguard recordings and eventually through numerous trips to South Side nightclubs in search of living exponents of that raw and real sound, including Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Hound Dog Taylor and Howlin’ Wolf.

As he recalls: “1968 was the year I understood what the blues was and where the music I had been listening to-the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and all that-had really come from.”

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