Get this crazy baby off my head!


Mary Lane


Mary Lane - Appointment with the Blues - 1997 - Noir Records

Backed by Chicago veterans guitarist Johnny B. Moore and pianist Detroit Junior, Mary's style harken back to the glory days when the blues was heard in local South and Westside taverns such as Theresa's, the Queen Bee Lounge and the (original) Checkerboard. This is the only record that she has made. This is an honest downhome set of the real shit. © George Hansen http://www.delmark.com/rhythm.localbls.htm

To really sing the blues, you need to live them. Just ask Mary Lane. The veteran Chicago vocalist has endured her share of tough times. And that hard-fought experience gives her a gritty believability that's rare on the contemporary blues circuit, which is too often seduced by style rather than substance. "I've been a black woman scuffling out here for a long time," says Lane. "Life has been hard. It ain't been easy." Even with a fine new album, "Appointment With the Blues," on the fledgling Noir label, the West Sider sometimes ponders giving it all up to devote her talents to the church. But Lane hasn't chucked the blues yet. She celebrates her 62nd birthday Saturday by headlining a show at the Zodiac Lounge, 1744 N. Central Ave. It's amazing that "Appointment With the Blues" is Lane's debut album. The singer recorded a single back in 1963 for the obscure Friendly Five label (both sides are redone on her new CD), but recording opportunities generally proved elusive. Moreover, the new disc is filled with attractive originals (another rarity these days, especially among local blueswomen). Lane looks deep within herself for songwriting inspiration. "It's all about things that are happening in your life," she says. "Things that happened to you, and things that you do and things that you don't do. You think about all those things most of the time -- especially if you're a country girl." The Arkansas-born Lane began singing blues barely into her teens. Soon she was working with slide guitar master Robert Nighthawk. "I was about 16 or 17 when I did a few shows with him in a place called Marvell, Ark.," she says. "It was fun to me. It was beautiful. I was just out there being wild!" Lane came north in 1957, settling in north suburban Waukegan. There she met guitarist Morris Pejoe, who had recorded for Chess and Vee-Jay. She moved to Chicago in 1961, playing the West Side, and she and Pejoe had three daughters (including singer Lynne Lane, who shares Saturday's bill at the Zodiac). Their relationship ended, but Lane stuck with her music even when the going got rough. She was a regular attraction at Theresa's Lounge during the early 1980s and briefly fronted Mississippi Heat earlier this year (Lane's reluctance to fly scuttled the partnership). Despite being disappointed that her CD hasn't turned more heads, Lane remains dedicated to the blues -- at least for now. "I just want something good to come along," she says. - By & © Bill Dahl. November 21, 1997 Special to the Tribune © ChicagoTribune.com http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-11-21/entertainment/9711210399_1_robert-nighthawk-blues-circuit-chicago-blues-festival

"Appointment with the Blues" is the real deal. Old fashioned Chicago style blues sung with real feeling and played by a great experienced band of dedicated blues musicians


1 Love Me Baby - Mary Lane
2 Leave Me Alone - Mary Lane
3 I Always Want You Near - Mary Lane
4 Strong Love - Mary Lane, Jeffery Labon
5 You Don't Want My Loving No More - Mary Lane
6 My Friends Always Ask Me - Mary Lane
7 Baby - Mary Lane
8 Hurt My Feelings - Morris Pejoe
9 Make Love To Me One More Time - Denise LaSalle
10 Ride In Your Automobile - Mary Lane
11 Candy Yams (Country Girl Returns) - Al Smith
12 Three Six Nine Blues - George Hopley


Mary Lane - Vocals
Johnny B. Moore, Robert Mell - Guitars
Jeffery Labon - Bass, Background Vocal on Track 10
Detroit Junior - Piano
Erskine Johnson - Organ
Cleo "Bald Head Pete" Williams - Drums
Michael Jackson - Saxophone
Annette Allen and Annette Love - Background Vocals on Track 9
Lynne Lane - Background Vocal on Track 10


Fussin' and cussin', Mary Lane has sung (and lived) the blues on the gritty West Side of Chicago for the past 35 years. Today's Chicago blues is too often formulaic entertainment tailored for conventioneers, often performed by converted lounge singers or refugees from jazz or musical theater. Mary, by contrast, has a long and unique history in the music--she's a woman who's spent a lifetime in the blues. Mentored by Robert Nighthawk and Howlin' Wolf, Mary witnessed the birth of the post-war blues style while still a teenager in the cotton country of eastern Arkansas. She moved north to the Chicago area during the late 1950's, in time to witness the flowering of West Side blues and to perform with greats such as Elmore James, Magic Sam and Otis Rush. During the '60's she performed and recorded with her husband, singer guitarist, Morris Pejoe. In the years since, she's sung at countless West and South Side clubs, igniting the call and response between entertainer and audience that usually turns her show into communal truth-telling sessions about the foibles of men and women and life. Mary Lane's sweet, soulful delivery and dead-on phrasing may be new to the current wider blues audience, but she's well-known among her fellow musicians, and even top names like Bobby Rush and Tyrone Davis respect her singing talent. This is Mary's long overdue debut CD and it's almost wholly comprised of her original songs, sung in her own way. Mary's story begins in Clarendon, Arkansas, where she was born in 1935 to a non-musical family that included four brothers and five sisters. She remembers singing and dancing for change on street corners as a child, chaperoned by a guitarist called Al Montgomery. "Tey used to have me on the corner singin'. They throwin' quarters and dollars and stuff in the bucket, I was still singin'." "The first one I sang with in a club was Robert---Robert Nighthawk. That was in a place called Marvell, Arkansas. He lived in Helena and we lived in Marvell, see, on his way to the club, he always would come by and scoop me up and go on up to the little club." "I used to play with Joe Hill Louis. He had the guitar in his hand, he played the drums with his feet, and he had the harmonica around his mouth. Joe Hill Louis, the Be-Bop Boy. He used to be on the radio with Sonny Boy Williamson & The King Biscuit Boys. They used to come on every day at 12:00, a big broadcast from Helena, Arkansas." After moving to Brinkley, Arkansas, Mary often sat in at a club called the White Swan, owned by her uncle. "He always would have me get up there singing with the band." She met Howlin' Wolf in Brinkley. "He (Wolf) used to play at the club, my uncle's club, the White Swan nightclub. He played there every weekend; that's where I met him at." Wolf's band then included Jr. Parker, James Cotton and Oliver Sain. "They used to have a bet on me and James Cotton, that I could beat James Cotton singing (the then new hit song) "Dust My Broom" and they would all have a big laugh off it." She remembers that club fondly. "All the big stars played there" she recalls. "That was the biggest club there was, the White Swan. Right by the railroad tracks, where I met Bobby Blue Bland. They all used to gamble in the back. All the big stars-Junior Parker, Bobby Bland. I was young, about 16." Pregnant with her first daughter, Mary moved north in 1957, stopping in Chicago briefly before settling about 40 miles north in the industrial city of Waukegan. There she met bandleader Morris Pejoe, who had by then recorded for Chess/Checker and Vee-Jay. She related, "I met Morris when I was living in Waukegan. They used to come down there and play at a club called Shug's, right on Sheridan Road. I went down there one night and started singing with them." Mary moved to Chicago around 1961, staying together with Morris through the 1960's. The union produced three daughters, including Lynne Lane, now a promising singer herself. "When we were together I just worked with Morris' band--Henry Gray, and Shorty, and all of 'em. Willie Young used to blow horn with him. He always liked horns. He had to have that brass sound." The Pejoe big band still worked often in Waukegan, as well as West Side clubs such as Silvio's and the Squeeze Club. "We all used to be…"I'm trying to think of this club that was on 16th Street--the Squeeze Club--that's where I met Freddy King and George Crockett." Another 60's hot-spot was Bobo's Lounge on Congress, where "Aron Burton, Willie Kent, all of them used to be over there to the club." "I used to play cards with Elmore James. Me and Elmore James and Cassell (Burrows), Wolf's drummer. We all used to live in this hotel over here on Washington--Cassell and Morris." Mary knew Magic Sam before he went into the service, and sang with him afterwards: "Magic Sam was my friend…he was a cool person." Mary's first recording dated back to this period. A session for Cadillac Baby ca. 1960 went unissued, but a 1963 date for cab driver Fred Young (accompanied by Pejoe on guitar and Louis Lankchan on bass) resulted in a 45 on Young's Friendly Five Label. Both sides-You Don't Want My Loving No More and I Always Want You Near--are redone on this CD. Pejoe's own career was in decline by this time. He cut 45's for ever-smaller independent labels, while band members Henry Gray, Cassell Burrows, Andrew McMahon and Willie Young all drifted away to join Howlin' Wolf's band. Increasing domestic violence ended the marriage by the early 1970's. After the breakup with Pejoe, Mary put together banks for her own shows, but most often she performed in clubs as a guest vocalist with the bands of others, such as Little Johnny Christian and guitarist Hip Linkchain. She began the 1970's with a long stint at the Avenue Lounge, where Lonnie Brooks led the house band. "Lillian Offitt, she used to be over there to a club on Madison at California called the Avenue Lounge. That's where I met Denise LaSalle. We all was workin' over there--me and Denise LaSalle, Abb Locke, Lonnie Brooks, Barkin' Bill. I worked the bar and sung over there. I was there for about two years and a half." Later in the decade Mary worked the door at Pepper's Lounge, then located on Cottage Grove and waitresses at Eddie Shaw's 1815 club. She began the '80's at Theresa's Loung, where Junior Wells, John Primer and Sammy Lawhorn led the legendary house band. "I would work down there in the hole at Theresa's; I worked down there about three years. I was working down there six nights a week. I liked that place, and they liked me." Later she often performed at Brady's, also on the South Side. "I worked out there with Johnny Christian, Roy Hytower and Vance Kelly." Mostly, though, "I always be over here on the West Side." She prefers the rawer West Side blues sound. "On the West Side, to me, it look like it's more of really what's happening, it has more feelings to it, you know. It's all scattered on the South Side. Here they just play the blues. The blues with a feelin'. That's why I always been on the West Side." This record is squarely within that West Side tradition and is rooted in a place where blues is still alive and meaningful. Pianist Detroit Junior used to play with the Howlin' Wolf, of course; while guitarist Johnny B. Moore is a worthy heir to Magic Sam. Second guitarist Robert Mell is himself a second generation West Side bluesman and the great-nephew of Mary's old mentor, Robert Nighthawk. After a lifetime in the music- as a singer, wife, lover, and mother-Mary Lane keeps on meeting her Appointment With The Blues. [ from "I always did like to sing the blues" @ http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/lidden/259/blues.htm ]


A longtime staple of Chicago's West Side blues circuit, singer Mary Lane was born November 23, 1935 in Clarendon, Arkansas. After honing her skills in local juke joints in the company of Howlin' Wolf, Robert Nighthawk, Little Junior Parker and James Cotton, Lane relocated to Chicago in 1957; backed by Morris Pejoe, she soon cut her debut single "You Don't Want My Lovin' No More" for the Friendly Five label. A favorite among peers for her dulcet tones, she nevertheless did not record again for several decades, remaining virtually unknown outside of the Chicago blues faithful; finally, in the early 1990s, Lane recorded a handful of tracks for the Wolf label, leading to 1997's full-length Appointment with the Blues. © Jason Ankeny © 2010 Answers Corporation http://www.answers.com/topic/lane-crater