Michael Coleman (blues musician)

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Michael Coleman
Born(1956-06-24)June 24, 1956
Chicago, Illinois, United States
DiedNovember 2, 2014(2014-11-02) (aged 58)
GenresChicago blues, electric blues, soul blues, funk, soul
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years activeMid 1970s–2014

Michael Coleman (June 24, 1956 – November 2, 2014) was a Chicago blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He was voted one of the top 50 bluesmen in the world by Guitar World magazine.[1] He released five solo albums and worked with James Cotton, Aron Burton, Junior Wells, John Primer and Malik Yusef.


Coleman was born in 1956 in Chicago, Illinois.[2] He began his musical career at a young age, playing alongside his father, Cleother "Baldhead Pete" Williams.[2] As a teenager he played with the Top 40 showband Midnight Sun and with the blues musicians Aron Burton and Johnny Dollar on Chicago's North Side.[1] In 1975 he became a full-time professional musician. He toured Europe with Eddy Clearwater four years later.[2] This led to work for James Cotton, in whose band Coleman played for almost ten years.[3] Coleman backed Cotton on three albums, including Live from Chicago: Mr. Superharp Himself, released by Alligator Records.[2][4]

Coleman backed Junior Wells, Buster Benton, and Jimmy Dawkins and also worked with Syl Johnson in the 1980s. He embarked on a solo career in the early 1990s.[2] His 1987 song "Woman Loves a Woman" contained a controversial lyric, in which he confessed he was in love with a woman, but "She's in love with a woman too".[5] Coleman formed the Backbreakers as his backing ensemble in 1991.[1] His album Shake Your Booty was released by the Austrian label Wolf Records in 1995.

His U.S. debut album 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 group of Delmark musicians on the album Blues Brunch at the Mart.[6]

Coleman was overweight and had diabetes, which severely affected his health. His doctor advised a change in lifestyle, and Coleman subsequently lost 150 pounds.[7] He started his 2010 Chicago Blues Tour by performing at Rosa's Lounge in Chicago.[8]

Coleman died in November 2014, aged 58.[7]



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


Selected work with other musicians[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Funky Michael Coleman: Funkiest of the Chicago Bluesmen". Bluessearchengine.com. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin. "Michael Coleman (Blues) Biography". Oldies.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: Carroll & Graf. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7867-1704-0.
  6. ^ "Allmusic ((( Blues Brunch at the Mart > Michael Coleman > Review )))".
  7. ^ a b "Michael Coleman Dies at 58". Chicago Blues. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Michael Coleman @ Rosa's Lounge". Chicagobluestour.com. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  9. ^ "Michael Coleman | Discography". AllMusic. 1956-06-24. Retrieved 2014-01-27.