Son Seals will always be regarded as one of Chicago's--and the blues'--greatest artists. From his debut recording, when he burst on the scene as a fully formed and mature artist, up to his last recordings, his stature as a leading blues voice grew with each new album he released. His untimely death in December 2004 robbed the blues of a major voice.
When guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Frank Son Seals unleashed his debut Alligator recording in 1973, his feral guitar work, scorching vocals and innovative songwriting immediately marked him as one of the major blues voices of his generation. At the time, many young blues players were simply covering the popular blues standards of the day. But Son was an original, writing most of his own material and playing his guitar with a fierce, raw intensity matched only by his ferocious vocals.
Born in Osceola, Arkansas in 1942, Seals grew up immersed in the blues. His childhood home was a few rooms in the back of his father Jim's juke joint, The Dipsy Doodle (famous for blues in the front and dice in the back). With musicians like Sonny Boy Williamson, Albert King and Robert Nighthawk playing within earshot of his bed nearly every night, Son knew the blues before he began walking. Even with all the great bluesmen around the house, Son's father Jim was his greatest inspiration. Jim Seals had played piano, trombone, guitar and drums, touring with the famed Rabbit Foot Minstrels, the training ground of Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. Because he was such a well- known musician, Jim was able to draw some of the biggest names to perform at his little club.