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Robert “Mojo” Elem

When discussing deep bluesmen who may also be great entertainers, the conversation can eventually bypass towards the coolest bassman/singer/showman the Windy City provides in its blues arsenal, Big Mojo Elem. Being a vocalist, he possesses a comparatively high-pitched tone of voice that alternately drips with honey and malice. Being a bassist, his exclusive method of the device makes him practically original. Unlike many bass players, Elem rarely plays standard strolling bass patterns, rather utilizing a single-note groove that lends to any music group he’s an integral part of a decidedly juke-joint groove. So that as a showman, he possesses a power that makes various other performers half his age group appear to be they’re seated. Delivered in Itta Bena, Mississippi, Elem was raised in fertile blues place. Originally a guitarist, he assimilated licks and concepts by observing experts like Robert Nighthawk and a Ike Turner first-hand. By his 20th birthday, he previously found its way to Chicago and was nearly instantly pressed into professional program playing rhythm electric guitar behind Arthur “Big Youngster” Spires and harmonica guy Lester Davenport. By 1956, Elem got switched to the recently showed up (in Chicago) electrical bass, only to stand out from your pack of guitarists searching the night clubs looking for function. He created a music group with harp participant Earl Payton and authorized on a Freddie Ruler as their business lead guitarist, playing on King’s initial solitary for the El-Bee label in past due 1956. After Freddie’s achievement produced him the bandleader, Big Mojo remained with King on / off for another eight years. The ’50s and ’60s also discovered him doing golf club work — mainly on the Western part — with Magic Sam, Junior Wells, Shakey Jake Harris, Jimmy Dawkins, and Luther Allison, with a brief stint in Otis Rush’s music group as well. Apart from a stray anthology slice and a right now out of printing album for a little Western label, Elem’s profession is not documented in very much depth, but he continues to be among the liveliest players around the picture.

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