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Talented Littlejohn deserved greater fame

John Littlejohn & the Chicago Blues Stars
John Littlejohn & the Chicago Blues Stars
By John Littlejohn

Arhoolie Records: 1969 (reissued on CD 1992)

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This review first appeared in the April 24, 1992 edition of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

It's hard to figure why John Littlejohn (Funchess) never became as popular as other Chicago bluesmen of his generation, artists such as Magic Sam, James Cotton and Buddy Guy.

Regardless, Littlejohn has the kind of instantly accessible yet authentically blues sound that propelled his better-known contemporaries to fame.

On this 1968 set, Littlejohn covers both his own material as well as more familiar covers with equal aplomb. He's a strong singer and an even better guitarist, with a clean sound that draws attention where it belongs – on his imaginative playing.

The five-man combo backing Littlejohn (including two tenor saxes) is as unknown as he, and plays every bit as well. All in all, this is a fine bit of Chicago blues, even if the artist is virtually unknown.