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Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials

lil ed 22 by Paul Natkin.jpg

take a listen!

Lil’ Ed Williams is a giant in the world of Chicago blues. Though he might stand only 5’1”, his music reflects generations of blues heritage in the Windy City.


He was literally born into the blues. His uncle, J.B. Hutto was a master blues slide-guitar player and he undoubtedly passed down an aptitude and tips to his nephew.  But nothing was ever handed to Ed. His band made $6 on their first gig, and had to split it three ways. By 1987, Ed, his brother James ‘Pookie” Young, guitarist Michael Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton got together and have been slashing and grinding out blistering Chicago blues ever since.


The band is a bit of an anomaly in these times. Four guys staying together in a band for some 35 years means that they know everyone’s strength and they play to that every night.  There is a joy in their blues, a feeling that four people playing together as a family can overcome any of the missed steps or troubles in the world.

Through it all, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials have been a stalwart of Alligator Records, the monolithic Chicago blues label that is the largest and most successful blues record company in the world.  Ed beams when he thinks about his relationship with Alligator boss Bruce Iglauer. The two have been together so long that Ed trusts everything Bruce says, and Bruce knows that every song Ed brings to the recording session is going to have a surefire blues feeling. Partnerships don’t get much better than that.

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