"I don’t know what it is about Chicago, but as soon as I could taste the air there I felt at home. On my first day in town, a chance introduction to the then resident DJ in Virgin on Michigan Avenue - DJ Madrid Perry, led to a long-term friendship and access to the most exciting music new and old from Chicago. It was fascinating to get a guided tour and see sites like the location of the Music Box, where in the early 80’s DJ’s like Ron Hardy were looping instrumental breaks of their favourite records on a reel to reel, unknowingly making the music of the future.
"But on one February Monday morning I found myself in heaven, at 2120 S. Michigan Ave - Chess Records label and studios. Now the Willie Dixon Blues Foundation, this unassuming building was home to Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf and the R&B records that turned me onto music forever.
"Curiously there’s a signed picture of Elvis Costello in the lobby which has a note to the effect of ‘Thanks for the tour of where it all began - sorry for causing such a commotion!!’ My tour guide, between hysterical laughing fits, explained that on a day when a couple were getting married in a Blues themed wedding, Elvis had turned up for a look around unannounced. When the bride saw him she roared ‘I can’t believe you got Elvis Costello to sing at my wedding’ and fainted on the spot!!
"But it’s hard to put a finger on what makes Chicago such a soulful place, whether it’s its people, its history or the random encounters you can have every time you step outside, it’s there in abundance…