The Chicago blues is a form of blues music indigenous to Chicago, Illinois. Chicago blues is a type of urban blues. Urban blues evolved from classic blues as a result of the great depression and developed in the first half of the twentieth century during the Great Migration, when Black workers moved from the Southern United States into the industrial cities of the Northern United States such as Chicago.
Urban blues started in Chicago and St. Louis, as music created by part-time musicians playing as street musicians, at rent parties, and other events within the black community. For example, bottleneck guitarist Kokomo Arnold was a steelworker and had a moonshine business that was far more profitable than his music.
One of the most important early incubators for Chicago blues was the open air market on Maxwell street. The Maxwell street market was one of the largest open air markets in the nation. Residents of the black community would frequent it to buy and sell just about anything. It was a natural location for blues musicians to perform. The standard path for blues musicians was to start out as street musicians and at house parties and to eventually make their way to blues clubs. The first blues clubs in Chicago were mostly in predominantly black neighborhoods on the South Side with a few in the smaller black neighborhoods on the West Side. One of the most famous was Ruby Lee Gatewood's Tavern, known by patrons as "The Gates". During the 1930s virtually every big name artist played there.
What drove the blues to international influence was the promotion of record companies such as Paramount Records, RCA Victor, and Columbia Records. Through such record companies Chicago blues became a commercial enterprise. The new style of music eventually reached Europe and the United Kingdom. In the 1960s, young British musicians were highly influenced by Chicago blues resulting in the British blues movement.
Sonny Boy Williamson II
Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell, Tampa Red?, Billy Branch, Luther Allison, Kokomo Arnold, Scrapper Blackwell with Leroy Carr, Lonnie Brooks, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, Albert Collins? (Texas), Bo DIddley, Nick Gravenites, Big Walter Horton, Elmore James, Luther Guitar Junior Johnson, Danny Kalb, Eddie King, Cub Koda, Sam Lay, J.B. Lenoir, Robert Lockwood Jr., Charlie Musselwhite, Jimmy Reed, Louisiana Red, Sugar Blue, Koko, Taylor, Washboard Sam, Mike Bloomfield,