Michael Coleman (blues musician)

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Michael Coleman
Born (1956-06-24) June 24, 1956 (age 58)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Chicago blues, electric blues, soul blues, funk, soul
Occupations Guitarist, singer, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active Mid 1970s–present
Labels Delmark, various

Michael Coleman (born June 24, 1956)[1] is an American Chicago blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He was voted one of the top 50 bluesmen in the world by Guitar World magazine.[2] Coleman has released five solo albums to date, and variously worked with James Cotton, Aron Burton, Junior Wells, John Primer and Malik Yusef.


Coleman was born in Chicago, Illinois, United States. He began his musical career at a young age, playing alongside his father, Cleother "Baldhead Pete" Williams.[1] As a teenager he played with the Top 40 showband, Midnight Sun, and played the blues with Aron Burton and Johnny Dollar in Chicago's North Side.[2] In 1975 he became a full-time professional musician, and toured Europe with Eddy Clearwater four years later.[1] This led him directly to work for James Cotton, and Coleman remained in his band for a period of almost ten years.[3] Coleman backed Cotton on his Alligator Records album, Live From Chicago Mr Superharp Himself, and in total completed three albums with Cotton.[1][4]

During the 1980s, Coleman backed Junior Wells, Buster Benton, and Jimmy Dawkins, and also worked with Syl Johnson, before embarking on a solo career in the early 1990s.[1] His work was not without controversy, as in his 1987 song, "Woman Loves a Woman", he confessed he was in love with a woman, but then stated "She's in love with a woman too".[5] Coleman formed the Backbreakers as his backing ensemble in 1991.[2] The Austrian record label, Wolf Records, issued Coleman's Shake Your Booty in 1995.

His debut US release was Do Your Thing!, issued by Delmark Records in 2000. It featured a mixture of material encompassing blues, soul and funk, with cover versions of songs previously recorded by Jimmy Reed, Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes. It was noted that the quality of his guitar playing, compensated for a lightweight vocal accompaniment.[3]

In 2006, Coleman led a string of Delmark rostered musicians on the Blues Brunch at the Mart album.[6]

However a combination of his weight and diabetes severely affected his health, and his doctor advised a new lifestyle which saw Coleman lose 150 pounds. Coleman started his 2010 Chicago Blues Tour, by performing at Rosa's Lounge in Chicago.[7]



Year Title Record label
1990 Back Breaking Blues (Chicago Blues Sessions Vol. 18) Wolf Records (Austria)
1995 Self-Rising Blues SAAR Records (Italy)
1995 Shake Your Booty Wolf Records (Austria)
1997 You Can't Take What I Got SAAR Records (Italy)
2000 Do Your Thing! Delmark Records
2002 Chicago Blues Festival 1991 Black & Blue Records
2006 Blues Brunch at the Mart Delmark Records
2008 Harmony Mill Minefield Records


Selected work with other musicians[edit]

  • 1984: High Compression - James Cotton - Arranger, guitar
  • 1986: Live from Chicago Mr. Superharp Himself - James Cotton - Arranger, bandleader, guitar
  • 1990: Harp Attack! - James Cotton - Guitar
  • 1991: Poor Man Blues - John Primer - Guitar
  • 2003: The Great Chicago Fire - A Cold Day in Hell - Malik Yusef - Guitar
  • 2005: "Wouldn't You Like to Ride" - Malik Yusef - Guitar[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin. "Michael Coleman (Blues) Biography". Oldies.com. Retrieved November 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Funky Michael Coleman: Funkiest of the Chicago Bluesmen". Bluessearchengine.com. Retrieved November 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Jason Birchmeier (1956-06-24). "Michael Coleman | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  4. ^ a b "Michael Coleman > Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved November 17, 2011. 
  5. ^ Boykin, Keith (2005). Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America (1st ed.). New York, United States: Carroll & Graf Publishers. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7867-1704-0. 
  6. ^ "Allmusic ((( Blues Brunch at the Mart > Michael Coleman > Review )))". 
  7. ^ "Michael Coleman @ Rosa's Lounge". Chicagobluestour.com. Retrieved November 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Michael Coleman | Discography". AllMusic. 1956-06-24. Retrieved 2014-01-27.