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- TUSLOG Detachment 150
Over Labor Day Weekend 2001, I visited a place which many blues and rock-n-roll fans consider nearly hallowed ground--the old Chess Records Studio at 2120 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
Tiger Wilson, the son-in-law of legendary bluesman Willie Dixon, spent over an hour and a half giving me a guided tour of the Chess Studios and its new role as the home of Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven, which provides scholarships, royalty recovery, emergency assistance to blues performers in need, as well as sponsoring a "blues in school" program.
In the next few pictures, you'll move through the studio just like the blues and rock legends did...
... but first you have to walk past the front door where the Chicago Landmark plaque proudly notes how well known this site is around the world.
All performers were treated alike at the Chess Studio -- everyone had to carry their instruments, amplifiers, and all their equipment from outside and up the stairs--
whether they were:
Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, the Rolling Stones, Howlin' Wolf, Koko Taylor,
the Rolling Stones,
or, most recently, John Mellencamp.
So grab that hand rail and walk in the footsteps of the legends!
And when you open that door at the top of the stairs, you enter a nearly sacred place: the recording studio where so many hits such as "Maybelline" by Chuck Berry, "I'm A Man" by Bo Diddley, "Wang Dang Doodle" by Koko Taylor and the Rolling Stones' only instrumental, "2121 S. Michigan Avenue" were recorded.
You're looking into the studio towards the control room. The wall on the left side is spring-loaded so it moves back and forth in response to the reverberation of the music's sound. As you look towards the end of the room, you'll see the room is not square in shape, but a lazy sort of geometric shape with a cathedral type ceiling and an inward-leaning right wall--all ingredients for a studio with exceptionally unique audio characteristics. The curtains on the right side could be let down (loosened) or taken up (tightened into bundles) depending on the sound muffling tone desired.
If you were sitting in the control room and Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy (left to right) were recording as they did here so many years ago...
...your view would have been like this.
But today, the control room awaits restoration to its former glory.
A special thanks to Tiger Wilson for the personalized tour and for answering my 101 questions! -- Bluejeans