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Established 1981


Artist   Joe Kelley


Publication   Rollin' & Tumblin   
Date  Wednesday, December 31st, 1969  
Auther   Bill Mcbride
     JOE KELLEY "The Blue Shadow"

There's a certain path that most talented blues guitarists take to become popular... put together a band, release a debut cd to get some notice, maybe sell a few discs at your live shows. Then start really living the blues life and hope it doesn't kill you. Now you're ready to hook up with a few blues legends to make a name for yourself. With a little luck, you'll have a crossover hit and sell millions of copies. Want a real challenge? Try doing it in the reverse order. Joe Kelley began his career with the Shadows Of Knight, a Chicago garage band who sold over 6 million copies of the song"Gloria" in 1966. Instead of milking that for the rest of his career, Kelley chose to pursue a life in the blues. "The Blue Shadow" built a reputation as a smoking guitarist playing with the likes of Sam Lay and Wild Child Butler. Relocating to Texasbrought a new set of challenges until finally (as chronicled in the standout track "Houston To Chicago") Kelley returned to Chicago recently and found himself where many musicians start: releasing his debut solo cd and proving to everyone who will listen that he's paid his dues. Not only does he prove himself as a worthy interpretor of classic blues fare (he puts his own stamp on "How Many More Years" by Chester Burnett and "Can't Be Satisfied" by Muddy Waters in particular) but he also throws seven surprisingly good originals into the mix. As a lyricist, he's not going to win any awards for subtlety, but since when is subtlety needed to sing songs with titles like "Livin' Out On The Street" or "Have You Ever Been Busted"? The tight three-piece lineup allows Kelley to flex his muscle as a guitarist while his experience keeps him from veering into overkill territory. He may have gone about it backwards but make no mistake, Joe Kelley has paid his dues.


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