CHICAGO BLUES: Holle Thee Maxwell is "Thee Original Black Blonde Bombshell"

Posted on 10/07/2009 by Monica Yasher

"Smiling Bobby', my blues mentor, introduced me to Holle a number of years ago. I was immediately stricken with her performance abilities. When she picks up a mike, the cord is a fuse, because she explodes on stage. Offstage Holle is a warm and truly wonderful person. She is a pleasure to be around.

About six months ago I ran into her at my ex-favorite club and I will not mention its name because it has changed hands and now is a sports bar. Holle was escorted by the late Manuel Arrington. Manuel was dubbed “Entertainer of The Year” a long time ago and it stuck. Sadly Manuel passed away last April and with his passing the Chicago Blues community lost a great artist and a friend.
Holle has been involved with the Chicago music scene since the early sixties, except for a side journey to California which included a gig as the replacement for Tina Turner. She was a back-up singer for Tina up until Tina left. She started singing at five years old and that first performance netted her ten bucks. It seems that many artists got their start singing in the church.

Holle is a very versatile performer who has dabbled in soul, blues, opera and she tells me her next venture is into country rock. I personally think she is one of the best blues performers ever. She also can be quite bawdy at times and her audiences love it, including me!

The list of people that she has performed with or opened for is quite extensive and include;

Ike Turner - Back–up and lead vocals
Jimmy Smith - Lead vocals
Captain and Tennillle – Back-up Vocals
Reynaldo Rey - Opening act
Red Foxx - Opening act
Slappy White - Opening act
Jack MacDuff - Vocals
Charlie Earland – Vocals
Red Holloway – Vocals
Authur Prysock - Opening act

Holle Thee Maxwell especially loves performing for European audiences and has told me “They have a deep appreciation for entertainers.”

Holle tells me that her songwriting approach is this,
“My approach is purely from THEE subconscious it is in my head all ready...something will trigger it off to come out on paper within 15 minutes or less...if it takes any longer it goes in THEE garbage.”

Her early influences were Shirley Temple, Mae West, Marian Anderson, Josephine Baker and Dinah Shore. For you youngsters they are some of the greatest entertainers that have performed. Mae West was way ahead of her time as Josephine Baker was.

Holle is an extraordinary performer who has played Worldwide, from France to Australia and Australia contained the largest audience she has performed for. That performance was with Ike Turner.

If you keep your eyes and ears open and you frequent the Chicago scene sooner or later you will run into Holle Thee Maxwell You’ll be glad you did.

She has a CD entitled “Holle Thee Maxwell....Thee Black Blonde Bombshell”
Recorded "LIVE" at THEE Maxwell Cafe' Paris, France

It can be ordered from Holle direct @
Leave Name, address Phone number and she will work out how to make payment.

She also has some 45's videos that can be found on


Thanks to hampton-Photos for the video

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