John Primer is a living link to the departed giants of Chicago blues - Chicago Reader

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🎸Chicago blues music icon John Primer has worked with greats like Muddy Waters, Sammy Lawhorn (who he learned slide guitar from,) and Magic Slim. Recording under his own name since 1991, he's kept busy.| ✍️Steve Krakow👇

Since 2004 Plastic Crimewave has used the Secret History of Chicago Music to shine a light on worthy artists with Chicago ties who’ve been forgotten, underrated, or never noticed in the first place.

John Primer was born March 5, 1945, in Camden, Mississippi, into a family of sharecroppers. His extended family shared a drafty shack on the Mansell plantation, with just a wood-burning stove for warmth. They had no running water, just a shared well a mile away, and they only had an outhouse when they could afford to have one dug. To make ends meet, everyone in the family worked—picking cotton, plowing fields—and while they worked, they often sang together.

Primer frequented Maxwell Street, historically a port of entry for immigrants and in those days still a mecca for salesmen and hustlers of all stripes, including musicians. At the marketplace, he honed his chops and earned some coin. He also met fellow bluesman, a guitarist with a raw, dissonant style and an almost frightening growl of a voice. Primer and Rushing formed the Maintainers, who played regularly on Maxwell Street on Sundays and then started picking up west-side club gigs.

Radio station WXRT recorded several sets at Navy Pier in August 1980, including one by the Waters band in which Primer played; a track from that set appeared on the compilation, where the Rolling Stones shared the stage with Waters’s band and guests such as Buddy Guy, Lefty Dizz, and Junior Wells. The whole celebrated concert was released in 2012 on CD and DVD.

Source: Entertainment Trends (


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