Hip Linkchain

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Hip Linkchain
Linkchain on stage in France.
Linkchain on stage in France.
Background information
Birth nameWillie Richard
Born(1936-11-10)November 10, 1936
Jackson, Mississippi, United States
DiedFebruary 13, 1989(1989-02-13) (aged 52)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
GenresChicago blues, electric blues[1]
Occupation(s)Guitarist, singer, songwriter
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocals
Years activeMid-1950s–1989
LabelsEvidence, Teardrop, Storyville, others

Willie Richard (November 10, 1936 – February 13, 1989), who performed as Hip Linkchain, was an American Chicago blues guitarist, singer and songwriter.[1]

His best-known numbers were "Change My Blues" and "That Will Never Do".[2] AllMusic described him as a "solid, no-frills bluesman".[3] Another music journalist noted, "his composer's talents put him much above the average bluesmen".[4] Linkchain worked with Lester Davenport, Pinetop Perkins, Tyrone Davis, and Little Walter.[5]

Life and career[edit]

He was born in Jackson, Mississippi. His stage name was in deference to his father's nickname, Linkchain, which was due to his habit of sporting logging chains around his neck, and the boy's childhood nickname, Hipstick.[1][6] He was inspired by the blues playing of Sonny Boy Williamson II, Elmore James and Little Milton, all of whom Linkchain heard in the Mississippi Delta, before he relocated to Chicago, Illinois, in 1954.[1] He was raised in Louise, Mississippi, and picked cotton before his move north.[7] Linkchain found regular employment playing blues guitar in the clubs of Chicago throughout the 1950s and 1960s, working at various times with the harmonica players Lester Davenport, Dusty Brown, and Little Willy Foster.

By 1959, Linkchain had formed his own band, the Chicago Twisters, with Tyrone Davis as frontman. Linkchain recorded sporadically, mainly for small independent record labels based in Chicago, and a handful of his singles were released in the 1960s. His debut album, Change My Blues, with Pinetop Perkins (piano), Rich Kirch (guitar), Right Hand Frank Bandy (bass) and Fred Grady (drums), was released by the small Teardrop Records in 1983.[1][7]

Linkchain died of mesothelioma cancer, on February 13, 1989, in Chicago[8]

His best-known album, Airbusters, was originally released by the Netherlands-based label Black Magic in 1988, not long before he died. It was later reissued by Evidence Records.[1][2]



Year Title Record label
1983 Change My Blues Teardrop Records
1993 Airbusters Evidence Records
1996 I Am on My Way Storyville Records
1999 Jimmy and Hip Live! Rumble Records
2007 Westside Chicago Blues Guitar P-Vine Records


Jimmy and Hip Live! was a live album, recorded with Jimmy Dawkins in Champaign, Illinois, in 1982.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Dahl, Bill. "Hip Linkchain". AllMusic.com. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Doc Rock. "The 1980s". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  3. ^ Koda, Cub (1984-07-23). "Hip Linkchain: Airbusters". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  4. ^ Herzhaft, Gérard (1997). Encyclopedia of the Blues (2nd ed.). Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press. p. 126. ISBN 1-55728-452-0.
  5. ^ Edwards, David Honeyboy (1997). The World Don't Owe Me Nothing: The Life and Times of Delta Bluesman Honeyboy Edwards (1st ed.). Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 1-55652-368-8.
  6. ^ Room, Adrian (1997). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins (5th ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 289. ISBN 978-0-7864-4373-4.
  7. ^ a b "Change My Blues". Teardroprecords.com. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  8. ^ ."A Bluesman You Probably Don't Know: Hip Linkchain". Squeezemylemon.blogpsot.com. July 7, 2008. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  9. ^ "Hip Linkchain: Discography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  10. ^ "Jimmy Dawkins: Jimmy and Hip Live". AllMusic.com. 1999-12-25. Retrieved 2015-10-03.

External links[edit]