Los Angeles, Discovering Hip Linkchain and Andrew Brown, Jerry Rosen

Posted on 10/08/2009 by Monica Yasher

Blues fans are familiar with most (if not all) of the greatest blues people of the 1950’s and 1960’s.  I won’t list them here, but there is pretty much universal agreement on which blues men and woman are at the top.  One notch below (but not because they weren’t as great) the leaders were many more – in Chicago you had (have) people like Magic Slim, Little Ed, Jimmy Dawkins, Luther Allison, Eddie Clearwater, Mighty Joe Young, Fenton Robinson, Eddie C. Campbell, Eddie Taylor, etc.  But there were many others who, because their recording output was low (and in some cases on labels from other countries), even though they were extremely talented, were more or less invisible except to the blues experts.  I am far from a blues expert when it comes to familiarity with obscure blues people – what I don’t know would fill volumes.  I do have one friend who is much more of an authority and he knows the styles I like and, from time to time, will turn me on to some great, lesser-known artists.  In this blog, I’ll discuss two such individuals.

Hip Linkchain was a first rate Chicago blues figure who was active in the 50’s through the early 80’s.  He had several releases, but his most noticeable ones (both available from Amazon) are “Change My Blues” and “Airbusters.”  Both are exceptional works and are good representations of Chicago club blues in that era.  Linkchain was influenced by Magic Sam (who he covered) and Muddy Waters.  His vocal style is not as smooth or well defined as Sam’s or Waters’; it is rougher, somewhat like Magic Slim’s.  But, Linkchain most definitely had his own thing going on.  What I like about his songs is they are a bit on the funky side.  Check out the funky bass lines on the tunes “I had a dream” and I’m on my way,” on Airbusters.  I also really dig the lyrics to “I had a dream” – “ I had a dream I was a millionaire, ‘woke up, I didn’t have a dime,” etc.  or “I had a dream I owned a Cadillac, ‘woke up, I didn’t even own a Ford” (I know these days we don’t buy American any more – but that is somebody else’s blues). 

Airbusters was originally released on the Dutch Black Magic label and later was and re-released on Evidence.  Like all the great blues guitarists, Linkchain’s lead work was short and sweet.  He didn’t mince licks; he got in and got out – exactly like blues was meant to be played.  You will find elements of Magic Sam, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Dawkins and others in his lead work.  I like how he incorporates a few of Sam’s signature licks into his own style.  Whether you are blues guitarist or a blues fan, these are must have CDs.  Being a guitarist (and an educator), I look at blues CDs as textbooks.  Linkchain’s CDs should be required “reading” for blues majors and those taking it as a GE course.

Another severely under-recorded blues singer and guitarist, from the same era as Linkchain, was Andrew Brown.  Brown moved from Mississippi to Chicago in the late 1940’s and took lessons from the great Earl Hooker.  He recorded several well-received singles in the 50’s and, finally, in 1980 Alligator released three of his songs on its second “Living Chicago Blues” series.  Brown released his Handy Award winning CD “Big Brown’s Chicago Blues” for Black Magic in 1982.  He released a second CD three years later. Sadly, he died of lung cancer soon after that.

Brown’s vocal style was much smoother than Linkchain’s.   His singing was in the spirit of the great Southern R&B crooners such as Bobby Blue Bland.  But his guitar work was phenomenal, as good as any of the greats.  Like Rush and Sam., he excelled in the minor key blues – check out his “Losing Hand.” This tune is powerful and very representative of Chicago bluesman such as Fenton Robinson and jimmy Dawkins.  There is a great Andrew Brown CD with most of his music available online (check out eBay). 

People such as Linkchain and Brown didn’t start emerging until later in their lives and both died right before catching on with the mainstream blues world.  However, their limited output is real, 100% honest, this is how it is done right, blues.  I urge you to buy these CDs.


People who liked this article also liked: My Successes and Failures Running a Blues Label

Copyright: For permission to reprint any portion of this article please contact the author at


American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
Nelson offers a Friday column of blues photography and pictorial support for the interviews covered by the team.

Jim Stick in Colorado
Jim will be focusing on the Blues Festivals in the beautiful state of Colorado, and the artists that live and visit there.

Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

Lastly, we have our roving blues entertainment writer,
Chef Jimi.

And of course, we will surprise you sometimes!

Internet Marketingdata recovery