Chicago Tribune: “More fiery
and energetic every year”

“Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials is James “Pookie” Young, from left, Mike Garrett, Lil’ Ed Williams and Kelly Littleton.” Photo Paul Natkin

The only question for Chicago blues fans in January, is which Buddy Guy show to pick during the 81-year-old guitar hero’s annual run at his South Loop nightclub, Legends. One way to distinguish his 16 performances, at least in advance, is by the opening act — fortunately, the proprietor has put some thought into picking top names. […]

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials. Although they’ve been steadily releasing albums and playing clubs and roadhouses since their first gig on the West Side in 1975, the Blues Imperials grow more fiery and energetic every year. Taught by his uncle, underrated Chicago bluesman J.B. Hutto, bandleader Ed Williams initially worked as a car-wash buffer to enable his music career; behind his colorful fezzes and jackets and party-time shows is a steady work ethic. The Blues Imperials roll out a stomping album on local label Alligator every couple of years — 2006’s Rattlesnake was a peak.

By Steve Knopper. Read the full story, in the Chicago Tribune