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Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer celebrated the 50th anniversary of his Chicago blues label in Washington.

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WASHINGTON — If you can’t make it to Chicago to hear the blues (“Sweet Home Chicago” is your walk-up song when you’re batting for your softball team), the blues was the music and the man, Bruce Iglauer, last week — based in Chicago. The founder of Alligator Records, an independent blues record label that puts

“I spent all night trying to explain to Bruce that tonight was about him,” he said of his “tremendous achievement in over 50 years with Alligator,” a recording artist with Alligator for nearly 25 years. A blues great, Shemekiah Copeland said,

“Wow. You went from disco to Macarena. Copeland was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album the day before for her latest, Done Come Too Far.”

Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer was recently honored by the recording industry for his lifelong contribution to the development of blues music.

Bruce Iglauer founded the blues label Alligator Records in Chicago in 1971.

The November 16th event was hosted at the downtown headquarters of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) along with the American Independent Music Association (A2IM) and Exceleration Music, known as A2IM. The RIAA’s loft-like space became a blues club as Copeland played with guitarist Arthur Neilson. Hors d’oeuvres also pay homage to Chicago, with little Deep Dish His pizza, little Italian His beef, hot dogs, and more.

As noted by A2IM President and CEO Richard James Burgess, Alligator was Iglauer’s “inventor,” born after Iglauer, now 75, moved to Chicago, a self-proclaimed “blues pilgrim.” . In his twenties, he fell in love with the blues heard in clubs on Chicago’s South and West Sides.

“Blues has done more for the blues and related genres in the last 50 years than anyone else I can think of.” Please remember that it was a rare time.

“…not only did Bruce preserve, perpetuate and develop the blues as a genre, but his contributions are also geographically significant, as Chicago blues occupies a particularly important place in the development of rock music.” is.

“Chicago, of course, saw the Great Migration transform acoustic country blues into electric blues, influencing the British blues revival movement of the early ’60s and producing some of rock’s biggest and most enduring acts like The Rolling Stones, Cream and Led Zeppelin. It’s also where I was,” he said.

After seeing acts at Theresa’s, Florence’s and Pepper’s Lounge, Iglauer went on to record blues legends such as Hound Dog Taylor, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, Magic Slim and Junior Wells over the decades. I was.

“The blues is a unique art form, a tree trunk with many branches. It’s the epitome of music,” Burgess said.

Guitarist Arthur Neilson and blues artist Shemekia Copeland perform at a recent gala honoring Alligator Records and its founder Bruce Iglauer in Washington, DC.

Guitarist Arthur Neilson and blues artist Shemekia Copeland perform in Washington, DC at a recent gala honoring Alligator Records and its founder Bruce Iglauer.

The Alligator’s 50th anniversary was marked last year when Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared June 18, 2021, to be Chicago’s “Alligator Record Day.” Rep. Jan Schakowski (D., Ill.) wrote in his Dec. 30 congressional records a short history of Chicago blues, and a brief history of the Chicago Blues, and an introduction to the history of the Chicago Blues through his Alligator label, which is based in East his Rogers Park. documented Iglauer’s role in advancing the ‘American cultural heritage of blues music’.

At the Washington event, Shakowski was sitting next to Iglauer receiving an award. Alligator Records, she said, did “what no one else could do, no one else could do.”

Summing up the Alligator story of the last 50 years, Iglauer says his mission remains the same.

“You know, Coco Taylor used to say, ‘Bless the bridge that crosses you. What I’ve tried to do with his Alligator is to be a bridge between artists and potential audiences, and people who have heard their music and love them. ”


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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