Get this crazy baby off my head!


Mighty Joe Young With His South Side Band

Mighty Joe Young With His South Side Band - Chicago Blues - 2003 - Grammercy

Mighty Joe Young (Young was using the name well before the movie of the same name was released) arrived on the Chicago blues scene from Louisiana a bit late in the game and never really received the critical attention he deserved. Add in health problems related to a pinched nerve in his neck, and Young's solo recording dates were relatively few (he was, however, an active sideman, working for a time as Otis Rush's rhythm guitarist) given his obvious talent as an electric guitarist and as a strong and sturdy vocalist. It features Young with the rhythm section from his club band at the time: Sylvester Boines on bass and Alvino Bennett on drums, along with Chicago session pianist Bob Reidy, and horn men Charles Beechham (trumpet) and Walter Hambrick (tenor sax). Together they produce a classic South Side sound. Highlights include the elegantly done opener, "Rock Me Baby," a solid cover of Percy Mayfield's "Baby, Please," and a pair of horn-augmented gems, the instrumental soul piece "Just a Minute" and the blues/R&B blend of "Lookin' for You." Nothing here is too flashy, but that ends up being part of the charm. © Steve Leggett, All Music Guide

Great album as Mighty Joe Young performs live in Chicago in 1972 with his crack South Side Band, which includes a bassist, drummer, pianist, and horn section. Young plays classic Chicago blues with a soul flavour. Great vocals and scorching guitar licks along with a terrific back up band make this a brilliant blues album. The album was originally released as part of Samuel Charters' Legacy of the Blues series on the Stockholm-based Sonet Records imprint. It was also released on Verve and Universal records, entitled "The Sonet Blues Story." Try and listen to his great "Chicken Heads" album, and his "Blues With a Touch of Soul" album can be found on this blog, along with a more detailed bio of the great man.


1. Rock Me Baby - Traditional
2. Baby Please - Percy Mayfield
3. Just A Minute - Mighty Joe Young
4. Drivin' Wheel - Roosevelt Sykes
5. Wishy Washy Woman - Mighty Joe Young, Oscar Wells & the Trailblazers
6. Early In The Morning - Mighty Joe Young
7. Sweet Kisses - Maurice Simpkins
8. Lookin' For You - Mighty Joe Young
9. It's All Right - Traditional
10. I Have The Same Old Blues - Traditional


Mighty Joe Young (vocals, guitar)
Sylvester Boines (bass)
Walter Hambrick (tenor sax)
Charles Beecham (trumpet)
Alvino Bennett (drums)
Bob Reidy (piano)


There was a time during the late '70s and early '80s when Mighty Joe Young was one of the leading blues guitarists on Chicago's budding North side blues circuit. The Louisiana native got his start not in the Windy City, but in Milwaukee, where he was raised. He earned a reputation as a reliable guitarist on Chicago's West side with Joe Little & his Heart Breakers during the mid-'50s, later changing his on-stage allegiance to harpist Billy Boy Arnold. Young recorded with Arnold for Prestige and Testament during the '60s and backed Jimmy Rogers for Chess in 1958. After abortive attempts to inaugurate a solo career with Jiffy Records in Louisiana in 1955 and Chicago's Atomic-H label three years later, Young hit his stride in 1961 with the sizzling "Why Baby"/"Empty Arms" for Bobby Robinson's Fire label. Young gigged as Otis Rush's rhythm guitarist from 1960 to 1963 and cut a series of excellent Chicago blues 45s for a variety of firms: "I Want a Love," "Voo Doo Dust," and "Something's Wrong" for Webcor during the mid-'60s; "Something's Wrong" for Webcor in 1966; "Sweet Kisses" and "Henpecked" on Celtex and "Hard Times (Follow Me)" for USA (all 1967), and "Guitar Star" for Jacklyn in 1969. Young even guested on Bill "Hoss" Allen's groundbreaking 1966 syndicated R&B TV program The Beat in Dallas. Late-'60s session work included dates with Tyrone Davis and Jimmy Dawkins. Delmark issued Young's solo album debut, Blues With a Touch of Soul, in 1971, but a pair of mid-'70s LPs for Ovation (1974's Chicken Heads and an eponymous set in 1976) showcased the guitarist's blues-soul synthesis far more effectively. Young's main local haunt during the '70s and early '80s was Wise Fools Pub, where he packed 'em in nightly (with Freddy King's brother, Benny Turner, on bass). In 1986 Joe began work on a self-financed recording that would finally allow him to have complete artistic control. At this time he also discovered surgery was needed on a pinched nerve in his neck. Following the operation, complications arose that affected his ability to play guitar. As part of psychical therapy he continued to work on the album sporadically until Mighty Man was finally released in 1997. Unfortunately health problems continued to plague Mighty Joe and he passed away on March 25, 1999 in Chicago. He was 71. © Bill Dahl & Al Campbell, All Music Guide