The Bottom Line
Chicago-based writer, musician, publisher, and music producer Lincoln T. Beauchamp Jr. was the publisher of the Original Chicago Blues Annual, a yearly anthology of writing on the blues and blues culture. Over the course of seven critically-acclaimed issues published between 1989 and 1995, Beauchamp offered interviews and essays, prose and poetry that tackled such heady issues as racism, artistic identity, economic injustice and, of course, blues and jazz music. The annual journal published such esteemed authors as Quincy Troupe, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Julie Parson Nesbitt, and Hart Leroy Bibbs, among many others.
- In-depth interviews provide insight into the blues artists' working life
- Original B&W photos capture the look and vibe of the era and blues culture
- Free-form poetry is an acquired taste
- Racial rhetoric is heavy-handed at times
- Anthology collects the best of acclaimed blues annual
- 192-pages, 8.5"x11" trade paperback
- Features 61 vintage B&W photos
Guide Review - Lincoln T. Beauchamp Jr. - BluesSpeak (2010)
Born and raised in the musical hotbed of Chicago, Illinois, Lincoln T. Beauchamp Jr. is a true renaissance man. Blues musician, music producer, writer, publisher, and promoter, the man dubbed “Chicago Beau” by the great Muddy Waters has traveled the world as an ambassador of American music while keeping one eye on his hometown. Sensing the need for a blues music journal that provided a “view from the street,” between 1989 and 1995 Beauchamp published seven editions of the Original Chicago Blues Annual.
Beauchamp’s BluesSpeak collects some of the best writing from those seven issues of the Original Chicago Blues Annual into one lively anthology. Unlike most publications that mix critical reviews of blues music with feature articles, the Original Chicago Blues Annual was more of a literary journal than a typical music magazine. Artist interviews were more in-depth than those in mainstream music rags, and provide invaluable insight into the working life of the blues musician. The annual also published articles that touch upon facets of blues culture like the music industry, as well as poetry.
BluesSpeak is most interesting to the blues fan for its many interviews, which include informative conversations with blues artists like Koko Taylor, Big Daddy Kinsey, Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, and Billy Boy Arnold as well as jazz outfits like the Art Ensemble of Chicago. An interview with Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer reveals the difficulties of selling blues music to the mainstream, and BluesSpeak includes dozens of original B&W photos that have appeared nowhere else. An invaluable resource for the blues historian, and an entertaining read for the Chicago blues fan; let’s hope that Beauchamp has enough left in the archive for a second volume of the excellent BluesSpeak. (University of Illinois Press, published January 27, 2010)
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