Mighty Joe Young
Though not widely recognized as such, Mighty Joe Young is a Blues giant. One of the first bluesmen to play in the clubs on the North Side of Chicago, Young predated the raucous, distortion-laden histrionics of Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy. Young played his electric blues guitar with a sweeter, rounder tone and favored concise rhythmic phrases over walls of sound. He could still stretch out the blues, however, often wringing every possible inflection from each note, or exploding into lightning quick runs. Young's straightforward vocal phrasing and guitar work led a steady rhythm section of piano, bass, and drums, occasionally embellished by a horn section. They played everything from slow, plodding shuffles to up-tempo scorchers. Despite his lack of mainstream acclaim relative to such legends as Muddy Waters, Young was an influential voice in the Blues world. In the 1960s, Jimi Hendrix turned Young's "Rock Me Baby" into a smash hit.