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Mighty Joe Young

Blues guitarist Mighty Joe Young had an identifiable soul drenched edge to his blues, which served him well as a premier back up guitarist, session man, and band leader in Chicago's North Side.

Born in 1927 near Shreveport, Louisiana, Young began playing in the early 1950s, working clubs in Milwaukee and then back in his native Louisiana where in 1955 he first recorded for the Jiffy label. He was already well known for his work with the harmonica-player Billy Boy Arnold, the guitarist Jimmy Rogers, and his brilliant contemporary Otis Rush, when in 1961 a manager added the “Mighty” sobriquet to his name for his solo albums for the little Fire label.

Young is notable in blues history for breaking out of the South Side Chicago ghetto and playing to largely white audiences on the North Side, becoming a regular on the US and European festival and university circuits and at Chicago night-clubs. He played every New Year's Eve at the Wise Fools club for 12 consecutive years, and released an album recorded there, “Live at the Wise Fools Pub,” in 1990.

Young’s playing and singing was in many ways a bridge between the sound of the Chicago blues bands which had nurtured him in his early days, and the soul music that had broken through to “cross- over” acceptance; his solo albums included “Blues with a Touch of Soul,” (1970) “Legacy of the Blues,” (1972), “Chicken Heads,” (1974) and “Mighty Joe Young.” (1976)

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