Historic establishment will be moving.
If you are in Chicago before June, RUN, don’t walk to Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 South Wabash. Why before June? Because the legendary blues club is going to shut down and Buddy told me he’s looking at other locations in Chicago. The walls of Legends are full of memorabilia, signed guitars, photos, and artwork featuring the likes of Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Little Milton, Steve Ray Vaughn, Jeff Beck, G.E. Smith, Willie Dixon, and Johnnie Johnson.
There’s a cap Johnnie autographed and a framed copy of the letter of nomination that was so instrumental in getting Johnnie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Buddy Guy signed that letter, along with a who’s who of music: Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Dick Clark, Little Richard, Etta James, Bob Weir and others who wanted Johnnie to be recognized with the ultimate honor for a musician.Another reason to head to Legends is the great food, but bring an appetite because the portions are huge. The bourbon shrimp, jamabalaya, and barbecue chicken rocked. Speaking of rocked, Buddy jumped on stage with the night’s featured performer, John Primer, and grabbed the mike during Muddy Water’s “Hootchie Cootchie Man”. Since this is a PG rated blog, I can only tell you that his raw, uncensored version of the song raised the room temperature. Just wished Buddy had brought his guitar on stage because he’s an amazing player. As for Johnnie Johnson’s collaborations with Buddy, check out the song “7-11” on Buddy’s “Slippin In” cd. It features one of the best Johnnie Johnson solos I’ve heard since I started this documentary project.When the interview started upstairs at Buddy’s club, he started off by telling a hilarious story about the first time he met Johnnie. They had both been summoned to London by Eric Clapton for his “24 Nights” project. Johnnie invited Buddy to breakfast, knocked on the Buddy’s door and came in with a half pint of Crown Royal. Buddy said “I thought we were going to breakfast.” Johnnie replied “This is breakfast.”Buddy talked about tourning Europe with Johnnie as part of Buddy’s band. His admiration and respect for Johnnie was evident. As to why Johnnie isn’t more widely known, Buddy had a great quote. “If you got a brick laying company and you’re the boss, everybody be looking at you, but they don’t look behind the wall to see who’s laying the bricks. Johnnie Johnson was the bricklayer. Chuck (Berry) was out there showing you how beautiful the building was when it was finished, while Johnnie Johnson laid the brick. I’ve been inducted in the hall of fame. I’ve received my first gold record, and playing on the stage before I received this, I thought I had the gold record if I was the stage with him. I thought I was in the hall of fame by just being on stage with Johnnie Johnson.”Thanks, Buddy for lending your name to “Johnnie Be Good”. Shout out to Isabelle Libmann, event coordinator for Buddy Guy’s Legends for making everything go smoothly.This amazing documentary journey continues next month with three more members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Eric Clapton, John Sebastian, Levon Helm. Art HollidayDirector, JOHNNIE BE GOOD