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Linsey Alexander Documents Life Through The Blues

"Blues music is not hard- it's just a documentary about life."

Those are the words of Bluesman Linsey Alexander and documenting life is something he has done very well for 50 years. He has taken his Southside Chicago influenced sound and crossed to the north to become a north side regular at Blues clubs like the famed Kingston Mines, reputed to be Chicago's oldest.

Alexander describes his family as "poor but honest and hardworking" sharecroppers. When he was 12-years-old he moved with his mother and sister from Mississippi to Memphis, where he first became interested in the Blues. Early on he worked as a hotel porter and later as a bicycle technician, but when a family friend he only remembers as "Otis" gave him a guitar and taught him enough to start him off, he was hooked.

That first guitar gained fame due to Alexander using it to finance his move to Chicago about five decades ago. He never went back to get it and it's said that it's still there. Once in Chicago he found the style of Blues that really excited him and he set out to play, not to make a living, but because he loved playing. He never expected to do it for a living. After rising to play with people like B.B. King, Bobby Rush, Buddy Guy, Little Milton, Magic Slim, Johnnie Taylor, John Primer, Otis Clay and Eddie Clearwater, he decided that maybe the profession was suited to him.


Alexander has a somewhat laid back style that still manages to convey the Chicago idiom. His expressive guitar relies more on working each note to get the most out of it rather than blinding speed, like B. B. King. Don't get me wrong, they both can crank out the fast riffs, but it's the expression in controlling each note that makes them great. Alexander 's voice is also a bit subdued, which contributes to his ability to truly express emotion.

When you get to Chicago, look up Linsey Alexander. A small club is the perfect place to hear great Blues with someone who truly loves doing it.

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