Before I moved to St. Louis in 1995 and later Clarksdale in 2002, I used to take cheap Southwest flights from Dayton to Chicago to hear the blues. On the flight over and the El train ride in, I would read this book... and just feel the history, the anticipation, the music. Recommended - Roger Stolle (Cat Head)
Chicago Blues: The City & the Music by Mike Rowe. Chicago has always had a reputation as a "wide open town" with a high tolerance for gangsters, illegal liquor, and crooked politicians. It has also been the home for countless black musicians and the birthplace of a distinctly urban blues-more sophisticated, cynical, and street-smart than the anguished songs of the Mississippi delta--a music called the Chicago blues. This is the history of that music and the dozens of black artists who congregated on the South and Near West Sides. Muddy Waters, Big Bill Broonzy, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, Tampa Red, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Otis Rush, Sonny Boy Williamson, Junior Wells, Eddie Taylor--all of these giants played throughout the city and created a musical style that had imitators and influence all over the world.