Cancer struck guitarist Hip Linkchain down before he could shed his status as a Chicago blues journeyman. With a fine album on the Dutch Black Magic logo, Airbusters, to his credit shortly before he died, Linkchain might have managed to move up a rung or two in the city's blues pecking order had he lived longer.
Born Willie Richard in Mississippi, his odd stage name stemmed from being dubbed "Hipstick" as a lad. (White residents of the area gave his seven-foot-tall dad the name Linkchain because he wore logging chains around his neck). Dad and older brother Jesse both played the blues, and Hip followed in their footsteps. He heard Elmore James, Little Milton, and Sonny Boy Williamson while living in the Delta before relocating to Chicago during the early '50s.
Linkchain made inroads on the competitive Chicago circuit during the '50s and '60s, playing with harpists Dusty Brown, Willie Foster, and Lester Davenport. His own band, the Chicago Twisters, was fronted by a very young Tyrone Davis in 1959. Linkchain cut a handful of very obscure 45s for the tiny Lola and Sanns logos prior to the emergence of his debut domestic album for Teardrop Records, Change My Blues, circa 1981. ~ Bill Dahl
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