Blues Clubs in Chicago

Blues Clubs in Chicago

Arthur Big Boy Crudup
Arthur Big Boy Crudup

Though one could hear the blues in 1920s Chicago, the club scene was not well developed until the 1940s. Blues musicians performed regularly at bars and other entertainment venues in African American communities on both the South and West Sides in the ’40s, but rarely outside of these areas. Blues clubs spread out as the city’s black population grew and the genre’s popularity rose, but most remained in or close to African American neighborhoods. By the 1990s, the blues had become widely fashionable, and while the historic pattern largely held, some clubs, especially those downtown and on the North Side, catered to largely non-African American audiences.
Blues Clubs in Chicago Map
clubs
Authors: Michael P. Conzen and Max Grinnell (Research assistance: Christopher P. Thale)
Source: Newberry Library

INTRODUCTION TO THE ELECTRONIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHICAGO

The World Wide Web has influenced The Encyclopedia of Chicago from its inception in 1994. As we mapped out the project, we came to realize that the form of the encyclopedia–with its emphasis on multiple pathways through a complex body of knowledge rather than on a single narrative–resembled the structure of the Web. Of course, Web publication also appealed to us for other reasons rooted in our encyclopedic ambitions: by publishing on the internet, we could reach a potentially enormous worldwide audience; we could expand the work’s size beyond the limitations defined by a single printed volume; and we could complement narrative and interpretation with audio and video primary sources in addition to text and still images. But the possibilities didn’t stop there, for as the project grew, so did the Web; this brave new world soon featured interactive maps, split screens, and zooms. We hope these features will make the encyclopedia as lively and various a place to visit as the city itself, and tempt readers to explore its back alleys as well as its grand boulevards. But most importantly, we hope that the electronic version of The Encyclopedia of Chicago, like the print version (University of Chicago Press, 2004) will stimulate readers to think differently about Chicago–by walking new paths through its history.[Website]