Tommy McClennan - Blues Singer, guitarist
For a short time, Tommy McClennan had the world of blues in the palm of his hand. Tracked down in rural Mississippi by Bluebird Records, the most prestigious blues label of the day, signed to a recording contract, and brought to Chicago, McClennan escaped the grueling existence of a black farm hand almost effortlessly. In Chicago, he met all the leading blues musicians of the time, including the Chicago blues Godfathers, Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red.
In just over two years with Bluebird, he recorded 40 songs. Then abruptly McClennan's alcoholism gained the upper hand. After February of 1942, he never recorded again. Over the next ten years he performed sporadically in clubs and on the streets. Eventually he vanished so completely into Chicago's poor, black underclass that his death has never been confirmed. The 40 songs he left behind, however, reveal the unique talent of a powerful blues singer.