The music that was recorded atop the Leland Hotel back in 1937 and 1938 for the Bluebird Label proved to be significant and helped to shape the world of today’s Rock, Country, Jazz and Blues music to an extent far greater than most of the world really appreciates.
Sometime during the fall of 2013, a group of individuals that had been involved in Aurora, Illinois’ Blues On The Fox Festival, decided to form a not-for-profit entity and named it The Fox Valley Music Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to Preserve, Promote and to Protect music that is indigenous to the Fox Valley area of Illinois while also serving the community at large in Music Education, specifically concerning the area’s music past, present and future.
At that same time, one of the Board members of this Foundation embarked upon a project that would serve to pay tribute (Promote) to the music, at least in part, that was recorded back in ’37 and ’38 in Aurora. As of today (early 2015), 12 tracks have been re-recorded by a select group of Chicago area musicians. The recording sessions have taken place over the span of the last 14 months at Kingsize Sound Labs, located in an old print shop factory on the west side of Chicago. Analogue equipment is being used to record and document the sessions.
Volume One of the Tribute Project is slated for a summer release in 2015 with a possible Volume Two release taking place sometime during 2016.
The project is being produced by a Fox Valley area resident and musician by the name of Scott Tipping (Backyard Tire Fire, Magic Box, Electric Dirt, …) with Steve Warrenfeltz of the Fox Valley Music Foundation serving as the Executive Producer. Plans are for the project to be released in the vinyl, compact disc and digital download formats.
The idea behind the tribute project is to pay homage to the original recordings, not by trying to duplicate exactly what was done before, because that’s not possible of course. And, the purpose of this tribute is not to “modernize” the sound, but to re-record the songs in a manner that would pay attention to the Chess Records studio recordings of the 50’s and 60’s and also hinting at some late 60’s British Blues stylistics, thus, bringing them forward a little bit, evidencing the connection between pre and post war blues (and other genres as well).
The following is one of the tracks pulled from the several tribute recording sessions that have taken place thus far. The track was recorded during April of 2014 using a reel to reel analogue tape recorder and remains to be mastered. We present it here for your curiosity and enjoyment, and as a sampling of the project thus far.
Texas Tommy as performed by Robbie Fulks and Band
Recorded April 10, 2014 … Kingsize Sound Labs … Chicago, IL
Texas Tommy Robbie Fulks
Texas Tommy as performed by Yank Rachell & Sonny Boy Williamson
Recorded June 17, 1938 … The Leland Hotel … Aurora, IL
Texas Tommy Yank Rachell with Sonny Boy Williamson