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Never-Before-Seen Photos of Blues Legends From the ’70s

Photography By

Chicagoan Cary Baker has made a career as a music journalist, record executive, and now, music publicist, for nearly 40 years. He’s represented a diverse range of artists including J.J. Cale, R.E.M., and Bonnie Raitt—but his first love was always the blues. “I took my Chicago proximity seriously and began to document the blues world I saw around me,” he told Living Blues magazine. Baker provided RealClearLife with a portion of the never-before-seen blues photographs he took in the early ’70s as a teenager. Take a look at Baker’s work below and listen to the featured artist’s music (where available). For information on where his photographs are being displayed, click here.

Blind Arvella Gray
Blind Arvella Gray, playing on Halsted Street in Chicago, circa 1972 (Cary Baker)

Listen to Blind Arvella Gray Play “John Henry”

B.B. King
B.B. King plays at a music theater in Highland Park, Illinois, circa 1971 (Cary Baker)

Listen to B.B. King Play “Lucille”

Buddy Guy
Buddy Guy, on a bill with Koko Taylor in Chicago, circa 1971 (Cary Baker)

Listen to Buddy Guy Play “Mustang Sally”

Clara 'Granny' Littricebey
Clara ‘Granny’ Littricebey, singing gospel songs on Maxwell Street in Chicago in 1972 (Cary Baker)
Koko Taylor
Koko Taylor and her band, featuring A.C. Reed (right) and Buddy Guy (left), early 1970s (Cary Baker)

Listen to Koko Taylor Perform “I’m a Woman”

Little Pat Rushing
Little Pat Rushing, near Maxwell Street in Chicago, early 1970s (Cary Baker)
Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis
Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis, year unknown (Cary Baker)

Listen to Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis Perform “Two Train Running”

Charlie Musselwhite
Charlie Musselwhite, in the alley alongside Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, May 1970 (Cary Baker)

Listen to Charlie Musselwhite Perform “Mississippi Beat Part I”