By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Even after playing the Chicago blues circuit for decades, the 77-year-old John Primer performs with more energy and enthusiasm than musicians half his age.
Such was the case when Primer played at The Venue in Aurora on Sept. 16 as part of its monthly Blues and Brews night. The night also served as a CD release party for Primer’s latest CD, “Hard Times.”
Of course, no one would expect anything less from the bandleader and lead guitarist for Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim & The Teardrops. The video for “Hard Times” – shot by Geneva’s own Andy Young – depicts Primer going around to blues clubs in Chicago that he had played at only to find them shut down.
While it is sad that so many blues clubs have closed over the years – I am still mourning Chord on Blues in St. Charles shutting its doors several years ago – it is fortunate that places like The Venue welcomes blues musicians with open arms.
The night spotlighted the working class blues that are close to Primer’s heart. Alongside his original songs, Primer also paid homage to his own blues heroes in performing songs like ”Before You Accuse Me (Take a Look at Yourself),” written by Bo Diddley.
Primer and his Real Deal Blues Band also injected plenty of heart into John Lennon’s song “Imagine.” The song imagines the divisions between people being erased, a timely song given the country’s current state of affairs.
Let’s hope Primer and his band will continue to take the stage for many more years to come.