Monthly Archives: June 2010

Detroit Blues: The Eddie Burns Interview

In the decade following World War II, the epicenters of the urban blues boom were in Chicago, Houston, Oakland, and Los Angeles. But other cities made essential contributions as well, notably Detroit, where musicians from the Black Bottom to Paradise Valley specialized in swing, jump blues, boogie-woogie piano, and electrified country blues. Detroit’s most happening scene was along Hastings Street, with its black-owned shops, clubs, and restaurants, as well as its gambling dens, bordellos, and ongoing house parties. John Lee Hooker, Eddie Burns, Baby Boy Warren, Willie D. Warren, Calvin Frazier, Henry Smith, Washboard Willie, Eddie Kirkland, Bobo Jenkins, and other Detroit bluesmen came here to play for tips and cut storefront singles for local blues entrepreneurs such as Bernie Bessman and Joe Von Battle. Eddie Burns, 82, is the last of Detroit’s early postwar legends to still live in the Motor City. Continue reading