Luther Allison performing at the 1996 Riverwalk Blues Festival
Luther Allison was one of the many great blues guitarists to come out of Chicago.
Like most bluesman, he was self-taught and learned by listening to the blues extensively. Luther’s big break came in 1957 when he was invited on stage by Muddy Waters. He later played in Howlin Wolf’s band and also backed up James Cotton.
He originally signed with Chicago based Delmark Records in 1967, and later in 1972 became the first of only a small handful of blues artists signed to Motown.
Luther began to tour Europe in the mid 70’s where he was warmly received and eventually moved to France.
He returned to the United States in the 90’s and toured extensively winning four W.C. Handy Awards and releasing several more albums.
Luther died of a brain tumor on Aug 12, 1997. He was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1998.
The Chicago Sun Times called him the Bruce Springsteen of the Blues.
Personal favorites include the funky “I wanna know”, the deep soul of “Luthers Blues”, and for the full impact of what the blues is all about from a true master, check out “Bad Love” on Live in Chicago.
Studio and live albums
Year Title Label Number Notes
1969 Love Me Mama Delmark 625
1972 Bad News Is Coming Motown/Gordy 964
1974 Luther’s Blues Motown/Gordy 967
1976 Night Life Motown/Gordy 974
1977 Love Me Papa Black & Blue 33.524 reissued as Estudio Eldorado 524 (Brazil) and Evidence CD 26015 (U.S.)
1979 Gonna Be a Live One in Here Tonight! Rumble 1001 recorded live in Peoria, Illinois on April 18-19, 1979. reissued as Red Lightnin’ 0036, South Side Safari
1979 Power Wire Blues Rumble 1004 part 2 of the Peoria concert. reissued 1985 as Charly 1105
1979 Live in Paris Paris Album/Buda 2-28501 recorded in Paris, La Chapelle Des Lombards, 1979. Also issued as Ruf 1354, Free Bird 209/FLY06, Pläne 88295, Platinum 161354
1979 Live Blue Silver 3001/3321 part 2 of the 1979 Paris concert. also on Blue Sky/Buda
1980 Time Paris Album/Buda 2-28505
1984 Lets Have a Natural Ball JSP 1077
1984 Life is a Bitch Encore!/Melodie 131 Blind Pig 2287 (1987) in the U.S., retitled Serious
1985 Here I Come Encore!/Melodie 133
1987 Rich Man Ruf 8001 also RFR 1005, Charly CRB 1227
1991 More from Berlin East West LACD 1991-2 live, 1989
1994 Soul Fixin’ Man Alligator 4820 Ruf 1021 in Europe, retitled Bad Love
1995 Blue Streak Alligator 4834 Ruf 7712 in Europe
1996 Live ’89: Let’s Try It Again Ruf 1028 recorded in Berlin, May 1989
1996 Live in Montreux – Where Have You Been? Ruf 1008 recorded 1976-1994
1997 Reckless Alligator 4849 Ruf 1012 in Europe
1999 Live in Chicago Alligator 4869 Ruf 1042 in Europe, recorded 1995-97, 2-disc set
1994 Hand Me Down My Moonshine Inak/Ruf 1047 acoustic
2002 Pay It Forward Ruf 1060 recorded 1984-1994
1999 Standing at the Crossroad Black & Blue 421.1 recorded 1977 in Paris. also Night & Day 210, Blues Reference
2007 Underground Ruf 1132 recorded c. 1968
2009 Songs from the Road Ruf 1157 CD+DVD recorded in Montreal, 1997
Larry Allen Brown