Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Men Behind The Bluesmen: Theresa Needham

I've enjoyed putting together this series that I call "The Men Behind The Bluesmen," but when I think about it, I'm wrong to call the series that. Because all the blues musicians are not men, and all those who support them and help promote their music are not men either.

Teresa Needham is an example of a woman who helped the bluse music and the musicians who made it during her life. Wikipedia says of her;

Theresa McLaurin Needham (April 17, 1912 - October 16, 1992) was an American tavern owner who became known as "the Godmother of the Chicago blues". She was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001.

Born Theresa McLaurin in Meridian, Mississippi, she married Robert Needham and moved to Chicago in the 1940s. In 1949 she opened a basement club, Theresa's Lounge (sometimes also called T’s Basement), in an apartment building in South Indiana Avenue, in the South Side of Chicago. This attracted a predominantly black audience from the surrounding neighbourhood, but its appeal reached global proportions as a result of the calibre of music offered. It featured live entertainment with Junior Wells and Buddy Guy in the house band, and attracted touring musicians such as Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Otis Rush, Earl Hooker and Howlin' Wolf.

The club relocated in 1983 when the landlord refused to renew the lease, and closed permanently in 1986. Theresa Needham died in Chicago in 1992.


Theresa Needham Tribute page @www.chicagobarproject.com

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