Get this crazy baby off my head!


Bill Lupkin

Bill Lupkin - Hard Pill To Swallow - 2007 - Blue Bella Records

(Thanks, sippi for this album, and for helping me to spread the word)

Bill Lupkin, born in Fort Wayne, IN in 1947, grew up playing the blues. He learned his trade on the stages of rough-and-tumble blues clubs in Chicago and surrounding towns in the late sixties., and during this period he shared the stage with some of the greatest bluesmen in the business, including Muddy, Wolf, and Jimmy Rogers. He also backed the great Jimmy Rogers on his Shelter LP, "Gold Tailed Bird," in 1972., an album which should be heard by everybody. On "Hard Pill To Swallow," Bill Lupkin honours the masters with his own distinct voice. Hard Pill to Swallow is a hard hitting real deal Chicago Blues album, and the songs here are typical of the tough, no-frills blues that Bill played in such places as Theresa's and Ma Bea's. Bills familiarity with this music gives him the freedom to let loose on these fourteen tunes, and give them his own indelible stamp.. Bill is backed here by some of the best players in contemporary blues today, including his brother Steve Lupkin on bass. In fact, all these musicians have the same mind-set as Bill, and their respect for this ensemble-style blues style shines through, and gives the album a real authentic feel. It is worth mentioning, in relation to this album, that since the death of Carey Bell, the "real deal" blues harp masters are becoming a very rare species, but thankfully, the harp torch is in safe hands with Bill Lupkin. Listen to the title track! Overall, the album does a fine job in keeping the classic 50s blues alive. A.O.O.F.C recommends this album to any lover of good music, and if you ever want to "get into" the blues, then give this album a listen. Buy his wonderful 2006 album, "Where I Come From" and check out Lupkin/Chicago Blues Coalition for more fine music in this vein, and keep the blues alive!


1 Think It Over Baby (3:20)
2 Funny Way to Show Me You Love Me (4:06)
3 Bad Luck (4:36)
4 Fine Little Thing (3:07)
5 I'll Be Over You Someday (4:47)
6 Elgin Bounce (4:20)
7 Cell Phone Blues (3:55)
8 See That Little Girl (4:42)
9 Hole in My Heart (4:38)
10 Blues Again Today (4:31)
11 You're Gonna Be Sorry (4:01)
12 Hook, Line and Sinker (4:51)
13 Where You Goin' (7:19)
14 Hard Pill to Swallow (5:48)

All tracks composed by Bill Lupkin


Bill Lupkin - Harmonica, Vocals
Steve Lupkin - Bass
Mark Fornek - Drums
Nick Moss - Guitar
Gerry Hundt - Mandolin, Guitar
Tim Wire - Keyboards


Hard Pill to Swallow is the proper prescription for all blues fans suffering from blues scene lethargy. Bill Lupkin's all-original, 14 track, no-filler harmonica blues, derived directly from the source, simmered and steeped for more tan forty years, is good for all that ails you and is guaranteed to make you feel all right, all night. And baby, tomorrow you may just have to have a little more. © Justin O'Brien, http://cdbaby.com/

''... in the ranks of postwar revivalists there are few who can purvey this kind of music with more passion, honesty and sureness that Lupkin and the crew he's assembled here. Aficionados of this still-potent style will find much to savor over the course of this set." © David Whiteis, Living Blues, Oct/Nov 2007
Bill Lupkin, a 61-year-old harmonica ace, vocalist, and songwriter, has been playing around Chicago since he hit town in the late '60s. His meaty, wailing harp was been featured for years in the band of Jimmy Rogers and the Chicago Blues Coalition. On this solo outing he's backed by half of the Flip Tops -- Nick Moss on guitar, and Gerry Hundt on guitar and mandolin, as well as longtime Lupkin Band members Mark Fornek on drums, brother Steve Lupkin on bass, and Tim
Wire on keyboards. Lupkin keeps his songwriting basic, dealing mainly with the vicissitudes of romance in its various nasty and humorous modes. "Hole in My Heart" is a simple lonely bed blues elevated by Lupkin's wicked harp, Wire's driving piano, and the shredding guitar of Moss, who drops a quote from Ivory Joe Hunter's "Since I Met You Baby" into his rippling solo. "Cell Phone Blues" is more tongue in cheek, the sad tale of a guy who can't make time with his baby 'cause she's always on her computer or cell phone. Lupkin's harp shifts from rumbling low notes to shrieking single note accents. "Think It Over Baby" hits like a hurricane, with wailing harp, distorted guitar, and a galloping rhythm section. "Bad Luck" is as much soul as blues, with Wire adding a bit of jazzy organ to support Lupkin's downhearted vocal. The jumping jive of "Elgin Bounce," the only instrumental track, shows off Lupkin's orchestral tone and Wire's arpeggio happy right hand, while Hundt's mandolin and Wire's smoky late-night piano highlight "See That Little Girl," another tale of true love gone astray. There's nothing fancy here, just smokin' Chicago blues played with plenty of drive and grit. © j. poet, All Music Guide


Chicago blues singer/harpist Bill Lupkin was born in Fort Wayne, IN in 1947; first exposed to the music of key influences like Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed by his older brother, he began playing the drums at 17, moving to harmonica two years later. Upon relocating to the Windy City in 1968, Lupkin joined the Aces, followed by a lengthy stint backing Jimmy Rogers; he continued playing the local circuit in the years to follow, eventually forming his own backing band, the Chicago Blues Coalition, which for a time included teen guitar phenom Lil' Frank Krakowski. Lupkin's debut album Live at the Hot Spot appeared on Blue Loon in late 1999. © Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide


Given time and luck, a brash young blood musician becomes an elder statesman with links to the departed legends who provided early lessons and unforgettable experiences. In this case, ace harp player and vocalist Bill Lupkin leads the equally savvy Chicago Blues Coalition through a personal, seasoned, rousing, and accomplished affirmation of the Chicago Blues scene of thirty years ago. Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Lupkin made his move to Chicago at the end of the 1960s, when blues was still mainly heard in the ghetto clubs on the South and West Sides, and most of the great names of the post-war era were active. One of the great charms of that scene was how approachable the musicians were. Bill wasted no time falling in with The Aces, former backing band for Little Walter, Junior Wells, and many other greats. From there, often in collaboration with pianist Bob Riedy, he went on to rub shoulders with the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Junior Wells, and eventually to his most memorable association with Jimmy Rogers, just out of retirement after a few fallow years. Jimmy's Chess recordings and tastes did a lot to define the place of the harmonica in Chicago Blues, and for Bill the gig was both a thrill and a school. Bill's fat-toned, vibrato-laden note-bending harmonica was finely honed through local work, touring, and eventually recording on most of Jimmy's Gold Tailed Bird album in Los Angeles in 1972. © www.billlupkin.com/Intro_ReadMore.htm