Sounds of the City - June 2022
"All you people, you know the blues got a soul. Well, this is a story, a story never been told. Well, you know the blues got pregnant and they named the baby ROCK N ROLL!"
- Muddy Waters
Playlist suggestion: THE BLUES HAD A BABY AND THEY NAMED IT ROCK N ROLL by Muddy Waters.
As all of the loyal subscribers to Miles Peddled (MP) know, Chicago is the birthplace to and the home of some of the World’s greatest music. Playlist suggestion: SWEET HOME CHICAGO by Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. Thus, as the Side B to the fragrant “AROMAS OF THE CITY” edition of MP (see September 2021 at https://www.milespeddled.com), Management is pleased to introduce the one, the only, the hardest working blog in showbusiness, the Jazzy June 2022 Edition of MP ”SOUNDS OF THE CITY”. Playlist suggestion: I GOT YOU (I FEEL GOOD) by James Brown.
Before addressing the subject matter of this Month’s edition, Management would like to thank its loyal subscribers for the overwhelming response to the spectacular May 2022 edition of MP entitled: FIRST ANNIVERSARY EDITION – EBIKES: PART II. For the most part, the response was extremely positive, and many loyal subscribers have requested more information. Accordingly, some follow-up is in order. Specifically, THE TOP 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO CONSIDER BEFORE PURCHASING AN EBIKE, which are as follows:
How do you intend to use your ebike? Commuting, exercise, errands, trekking, or all of the above? The answer to this question will affect your choice of ebike and obviously the cost. For example, if you are going to use your ebike for commuting and running errands in and near your home, then battery range will not be the major factor in your decision. Purchasing an ebike with a lower battery range will tend to hold down the cost of the bike.
On the other hand, if you intend to use your bike for all things, including long journeys and even bike packing, the battery range is vitally important to your decision. Ebikes with more range generally cost more money.
You need to make the decision as to how you intend to use your ebike. Playlist suggestion: MAKING DECISIONS by Rizon.
As noted above, the range of your ebike may be important to your decision. In connection therewith, please note that the advertised range for ebikes is only an estimate and will not be 100% accurate. Many factors affect the range that you will obtain; such as the following:
· Battery Size:
The bigger the battery the longer the range.
The load on the bike, meaning the weight of the rider and the items that you are carrying, will obviously affect your range.
Flat land equals longer range; hills equal shorter range.
Paved pavement equals longer range; trails shorter range.
A wind at your back equals longer range; a headwind equals a shorter range. Master MP recently miscalculated the effect of a 20 mph headwind which resulted in both Master MP and WONDER WOMAN (WW) losing battery power several miles from their destination. WW let her feelings be known. Playlist suggestion: BAD GUY by Billie Eilish.
How fast do you want to go on your ebike? In very basic terms you are going to have to choose between an ebike that will go up to 20 mph versus one that can go up to 28 mph. Generally, the higher mph bikes cost more money.
Right now there are not many federal, state, or municipal regulations that govern the speed of ebikes. This will change. For example, in California they have passed laws that state that when using a throttle only, the ebike is limited to 20 mph whereas if the bike is pedal assist it can be assisted up to 28 mph. Bottom line, know the regulations for the area where you intend to use the bike.
The most important thing that you need to know about an ebike is that they are FUN! Anybody who rides an ebike comes away smiling and wanting more. Playlist suggestion: SOMETHING I NEED by OneRepublic.
Just ask WW, SANDERELLA, FIRST LADY (FL), JULIA CHILD (JC) and THE RENAISSANCE MAN (RM). They will all attest to this fact. Do not ask the MAD VIKING (MV) – he is never happy.
Now on to the subject matter at hand, SOUNDS OF THE CITY. This Month’s edition of MP will outline 6 different areas in and near the City that the loyal subscribers can bike to to hear the melodious sounds that the City of Chicago has to offer. As usual, Management will rely upon its very intelligent subscribers to use Google maps or the more enhanced DMAPS to fill in any blanks, of which there will be many, in the recommendations set forth below. Here we go:
Entire books have been written about the history of the blues. For example, see The History of the Blues by Francis Davis.
The short version of the story is that the blues began in the southern states such as Mississippi. Post-World War II, the blues migrated North with Chicago becoming home to what is commonly referred to as the “Urban Blues.” In the late 1940’s and early 50’s several great Mississippi Delta bluesmen migrated to Chicago including Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Jimmy Reed.
Chicago was home to two of the major blues recording companies those being BLUEBIRD RECORDS and CHESS RECORDS, the latter of which had Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Howlin’ Wolf signed to their label. They later added Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, and Buddy Guy.
Playlist suggestion: I’M YOUR HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN by Willie Dixon.
There are many great venues in Chicago, but management prefers Buddy Guy’s Legends located at 700 South Wabash, Chicago, Illinois. The club is still owned by Buddy Guy who makes regular appearances. Playlist suggestion: DAMN RIGHT, I GOT THE BLUES obviously by Buddy Guy.
The bike trail to enjoy in and near Buddy Guy’s Legends is the Lakefront Trail South Portion. Enter the trail just east of Millennium Park off of Randolph and you can ride the entire trail south for approximately 11 miles to South Shore Beach where you can take a dip and cool off. Then you can ride approximately 10 miles back directly to BG’s Legends. Total ride 20 miles.
2. FOLK MUSIC
According to DMANOPEDIA (mostly plagiarized from Encyclopedia of Chicago): folk music in Chicago is tied to the City’s role as a national crossroads. In neighborhood taverns Chicagoans embraced a variety of traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, Poland with a little touch of the blues that became the Chicago version of folk music. This amalgamation of music resulted in the founding of the Nation’s foremost school of folk music known as Old Town School of Folk Music (OTSFM). Originally housed in Old Town, it now has two permanent locations: 4544 North Lincoln and 909 West Armitage.
Prominent graduates from OTSFM include Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, Steve Goodman and John Prine. Playlist suggestion: IN SPITE OF OURSELVES by John Prine (featuring Iris DeMent).
One of the best venues in Chicago for folk music is THE HIDEOUT located at 1354 West Wabansia Avenue in Chicago.
For some urban biking that goes right by the Wabansia entrance to THE HIDEOUT use Elston Avenue. On the northwest Elston start at the intersection of Elston and Milwaukee, ride 10 miles to the southeast to the end of Elston, which also happens to be at Elston and Milwaukee, turn around and double back to Wabansia and head to THE HIDEOUT. Total ride 18.5 miles.
3. ROCK AND ROLL
There are many stories of the history of rock and roll, but Muddy Waters said it the best: “The blues and country made love and the baby was named rock and roll.”
One of the earliest individuals who combined the guttiness of the blues with the storytelling of country was Chuck Berry. As John Lennon put it: “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might have named it Chuck Berry.” While Chuck Berry was born in St. Louis his career did not take off until he came to Chicago, listened to the blues greats such as Muddy Waters, and then made his way over to Chess Records. More to follow in the trivia/quiz section.
At one time, Chicago was home to some of the best rock concert halls in the Nation such as the Aragon Ballroom and the Congress Theatre. Nowadays, the best places to go to see a band on the cusp of making it big is a more intimate setting such as Lincoln Hall (2424 North Lincoln Avenue) and Schuba’s Tavern (3159 North Southport).
Another urban ride. Start on the southeast at Lincoln Park and Lincoln Avenue (near the intersection of Lincoln and Armitage) ride in the bike lane down Lincoln Avenue to Lawrence, do a quick turnaround and head to Lincoln Hall. Approximately 8.5 mile ride.
Jazz, like the blues, was born in the south, but made its home in Chicago. King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton became stars of the Chicago jazz scene. Later, they were joined by Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Gene Krupa. Playlist suggestion: DR. JAZZ, by Jelly Roll Morton and the Red Hot Peppers.
In the 1940’s and 1950’s the epicenter for Jazz was the Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago roughly centered at South Michigan Avenue and 43rd Street (a/k/a Muddy Waters Drive). This area was known as the “BLACK METROPOLIS,” and was the home to numerous black owned newspapers, restaurants, theaters and spectacular jazz clubs.
Today, the Bronzeville neighborhood is going through a revival. For an intimate location to experience some local jazz artists visit the M LOUNGE, located at 1520 South Wabash Avenue.
Again, you are going to use the Lakefront Trail south section. Start in the Loop on the Trail and head south for approximately 7.5 miles. Cross over South Lakeshore Drive at the 47th Street Bridge, go 1 mile to 4652 South King Drive and you will be at Peaches Restaurant in the heart of Bronzeville. Enjoy one of the best breakfasts you have ever had with peach infused coffee.
Chicago is home to many World renowned institutions such as the Chicago Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry, but second to none is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO).
The CSO was founded in 1890 and soon began to rival the great orchestras in the United States such as the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Today, the CSO is a world renowned orchestra. Current conductor is Riccardo Muti. Playlist suggestion: THE ITALIAN MASTERS (THE WORKS OF VERDI.PUCCINI.MASCAGNI.BOITO) conducted by Riccardo Muti.
By the way, DARLING DAR’s (DD) son, the G-MAN, lends his talents to the CSO on occasion. Technically it’s the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO). However, the CYSO was just named the 2021 Youth Orchestra of the year! You can check out the concert from 5/22 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_T6z4LnMu4. Good shot of the G-MAN at the 36:21 mark. The European Tour Kick-Off concert is June 19th at 3:00 p.m. at Orchestra Hall and is free! Use this link to reserve your spot! https://cyso.org/event/european-tour-kick-off-concert-festival/.
Symphony Hall located at 220 South Michigan Avenue.
On this one occasion, skip the biking, get dressed up and go see the G-MAN.
What one place can you bike to, sit outside, and enjoy a picnic on the lawn with your favorite beverage and hear all types of music? The answer is Ravinia.
First opened in 1904, Ravinia remains the oldest and most diverse music venue in North America. Each year it hosts approximately 120 events with 600,000 guests.
Ravinia is located at 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park, Illinois. https://www.ravinia.org/calendar
Start your trip at the Forest Glen Woods on the northwest side of Chicago and take the North Branch Trail north through the Skokie Lagoons, cut over on Dundee and continue north for a short distance and you will be at the entrance of Ravinia. Make sure to have packed your picnic lunch or dinner. Total ride approximately 20 miles one way.
Now on to this Month’s Trivia/Quiz section. As previously noted, Chicago became home to the urban blues in large part due to the number of spectacular artists signed by Chess Records. Arguably, Chess Records became the birthplace of rock and roll. So here is how the story goes: On a Friday night in May of 1955, Chuck Berry drove to Chicago to watch his idol, the great Muddy Waters. After Muddy completed his set, Berry went over and asked him for an autograph and told him that he also played the guitar. Muddy suggested that Berry go see Leonard Chess at Chess Records.
The next morning, Berry made his way over to Chess Records and waited in front of the store until Leonard Chess arrived. Berry made his pitch, and Leonard told him to bring back a demo tape.
Berry and his other bandmates including Johnny Johnson on the piano and Eddie Hardy on the drums, recorded 4 songs and brought them back to Leonard Chess. Chess was most fascinated by the upbeat song “Ida Mae.” This was a song that Berry had adopted from a traditional country tune by the name of “Ida Red.” Chess, however, thought the name was too country and he suggested a change based upon a bottle that he saw in the recording studio. The song was then recorded and released under the new name, became an instant hit and is considered to be one of the first rock and roll songs. Name that song. The answer will be in the post-script section of this edition.
As all of the loyal subscribers to MP will recall, the now world famous July 2021 Red, White, and Blue edition of MP provided the charter loyal subscribers with nicknames. Many have joined since then. Thus, in the July 2022 edition Management will be handing out nicknames to the newer subscribers.
In addition, the July edition will address the third rule of biking: Safety first. Playlist suggestion: THE SAFETY DANCE by Men Without Hats.
Time to go, but do not be sad because “We’ll Meet Again, Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When, But I Know We’ll Meet Again, Some Sunny Day.” – Vera Lynn. In the meantime, remember to R, R & R!
POSTSCRIPT: Answer to Quiz:
What Lenard Chess saw in the recording studio which became the name of Chuck Berry’s first hit was a bottle of lady’s eyelash enhancer and Check Berry changed the name of the song from “Ida Mae” to “MAYBELLENE” and the rest is rock and roll history. Playlist suggestion: MAYBELLENE by Chuck Berry.