Alexander in performance, 2012
|Birth name||Linsey Alexander|
|Also known as||Hoochie Man|
July 23, 1942 |
Holly Springs, Mississippi, United States
|Genres||Chicago blues, electric blues|
|Labels||Delmark, Linsey Alexander, the L.A.B.B.|
|Associated acts||Eddie Clearwater|
Linsey Alexander (born July 23, 1942) is a blues songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist. He has been a fixture in clubs on Chicago's North Side for nearly two decades and has played with numerous blues musicians, including Buddy Guy, A.C. Reed, Magic Slim, and B.B. King. His album Been There Done That, released in 2012, was rated the best blues CD of the year.
Life and career
Alexander was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in an area along the Mississippi Blues Trail. His family was "poor but honest and hardworking" sharecroppers. He moved to Memphis, Tennessee, with his mother and a sister when he was 12 years old.
Alexander's interest in music started when a family friend he knew only as Otis taught him enough that when Otis left his guitar as a gift at Alexander's home, he was able pick it up and play. Alexander concentrated on singing as a teenager and later developed his guitar playing. His early influences were blues, country music, and rock and roll, including the blues keyboardist Rosco Gordon and the rock-and-roll artists Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley.
In Mississippi, Alexander worked as a porter in a hotel laundry room and later as a bicycle technician. In 1959, he pawned his first guitar to help pay his way to Chicago by Greyhound bus, following a girl he had met in Memphis. In Chicago, he had a series of jobs, working for a car dealer, at a gas station, and as a cook and busboy. He received a pension after he was wounded while working for the Chicago Police Department.
Alexander was pulled into the Chicago South Side music scene, where he heard soul artists like McKinley Mitchell and Bobby Day and the bluesman Howlin' Wolf. His first guitar was never recovered from the pawnshop, but he bought another guitar and formed a band, the Hot Tomatoes, which was "good enough to enter a talent show at the well-known nightclub on 63rd Street called The Place." Alexander went on to form another band, the Equitable Band, which played at the Launching Pad, at 75th Street and Stony Island, for about eight years. When Alexander was playing at Red's, a Chicago club at 35th Street and Archer, he was approached by an agent who introduced him to the popular North Side blues clubs B.L.U.E.S. and Kingston Mines. His entry into "Blue Chicago" (downtown) exposed him to tourists to whom he started selling independently recorded CDs, which are still selling well. Alexander has been a fixture in Chicago North Side clubs for nearly two decades and has played with blues notables including Buddy Guy, A.C. Reed, Magic Slim, and B.B. King. He has performed for audiences in New York, Canada, and Europe and has appeared at the Mississippi Blues Festival. Alexander is a regular performer at Kingston Mines.
Music and performance style
Music critic Jim White called Alexander a "still-present, real-deal bluesman" with "deep, rich, gritty vocals" and "guitar work as strong as his vocals." Alexander plays his own style of electric blues, influenced by soul, R&B, and funk. The original material he writes contributes to the survival of the blues genre. His sense of humor shown in his music and his act sets him apart from most other blues players. He is known for playing his guitar "with the energy of a 20 year old." Reviewer Greg Szalony wrote that "at times [Alexander's] vocal approach is more akin to talking than singing" and noted that his "distorted guitar tones" and vocals as "uncannily close to the late Son Seals."
The music critic David Whiteis wrote that Alexander's guitar style shows "lively improvisational imagination" and is in "good taste" and said Alexander was especially gifted as a songwriter "in command of a lyric vividness." Whiteis described Alexander's song "Saving Robert Johnson" as "a full-scale theatrical vignette set to music ... [that] take[s] on the crossroads myth." Greg Szalony observed that Alexander brings the blues into the present with the lyrics "I want you to e-mail the devil, I want you to poke him on Facebook." Alexander's song "Saving Robert Johnson" was included in the Mississippi Blues Project, a review of Mississippi blues produced by WXPN in Philadelphia.
The Chicago blues historian Karen Hanson wrote in 2007,
Veteran guitarist Linsey Alexander, the "Hoochie Man", plays classic Chicago blues spiced up with the occasional joke or double entendre. Watch him take his guitar for a crowd walk-through, where he'll stop often to flirt with the pretty women. ... These days Alexander is one of the hardest-working bluesmen in the city, appearing as many as six nights a week at Chicago clubs.
- A1 Blues Podcast called Alexander's first international release, Been There Done That, "pure blues of the finest quality" and named it "Blues CD of the Year".
- Big City Blues honored Alexander with a "Best Fan Interaction" award in 2012.
- On June 8, 2014, Alexander was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame at the blues club Buddy Guy's Legends.
- Someone's Cookin' in My Kitchen (2004), Linsey Alexander, the L.A.B.B.
- My Days Are So Long (2006), Hoochie Man
- If You Ain't Got It (2010), Hoochie Man Music
- Been There Done That (2012), Delmark Records
- Come Back Baby (2014), Delmark Records 
- Two Cats (2017), Delmark Records 
- "Eddy Clearwater and Linsey Alexander at Kingston Mines". Wassup! Chicago. Archived from the original on 18 September 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Linsey Alexander: Live at B.L.U.E.S. October 2011". ChicagoBluesNetwork.com. Archived from the original on 15 February 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Linsey Alexander Biography". Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- Stephenson, Mike. "Linsey Alexander Interview" (PDF). Rhthym & Blues. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- Whiteis, David (2012). "Linsey Alexander: Liner Notes from His New CD Been There Done That" (PDF). Rhythm & News. 2012 Festival Issue (729): 9. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Linsey Alexander: Been There Done That". ChicagoBluesGuide.com. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "Linsey Alexander – Someone's Cookin' in My Kitchen (2004)". IsraBox.com.
- MacFarland, Karen. "Blues Fest Set to Wail July 1–3 in Davenport". Quad-Cities Online. Qconline.com. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- "Schedule – Kingston Mines". kingstonmines.com. Kinston Mines. Archived from the original on April 25, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
- White, Jim. "Blues Vet Linsey Alexander Emerges from Chicago". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Marcus, Richard. "Music Review:Linsey Alexander – Been There Done That". Hearst Newspapers. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Malhotra, Ankur. "Linsey Alexander – Chicago Blue Tuesdays". MadisonMusicReview.com. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Szalony, Greg. "Linsey Alexander – Been There Done That". Blues Blast Magazine. TheBluesBlast.com. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Whiteis, David. "CD Reviews October 2012 – Linsey Alexander". Living Blues. Archived from the original on 16 December 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Meister, Jonny. "The Mix: The Mississippi Blues Project". NPR Music. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Hanson, Karen (2007). Today's Chicago Blues. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press. p. 118. ISBN 9781893121195.
- Mandeville, Liz. "Three Flavors of Chicago Blues: Big Ray, Linsey Alexander, Donny Nichilo". ChicagoBluesGuide.com. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Ankur. "Linsey Alexander "The Hoochie Man": Live at the Harmony Bar". MadisonMusicReview.com. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- "Blues CD of the Year – Linsey Alexander – Been There Done That". AB1 Blues Podcast – Blues Music and Interviews. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
- "2012 Happy to Have the Blues Awards". bigcitybluesmag.com. Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine. 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- "Chicago Blues Hall of Fall 2014 Inductees". BluesHallofFame.org. Chicago Blues of Hall Fame. 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- "Linsey Alexander: Discography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- "Linsey Alexander Discography". AirPlay Direct.com. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Thompson, Mark. "Linsey Alexander". ChicagoBluesGuide.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Linsey Alexander, Label Delmark Records". www.discovery-records.com. Retrieved 2017-06-12.