Along with the first-wave British Invasion bands like The Rolling Stones, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and stateside groups like The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Siegel-Schwall Band were instrumental in The Great Blues Revival of the 1960′s. Like Paul Butterfield, Siegel-Schwall were Chicago-based, serving as the house band at the famed Pepper’s Lounge. They earned their spurs backing greats like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and Willie Dixon.
From 1966 until they disbanded in 1974, they ranked among the most important forces in reaching the baby boomer audience that sustains the blues to this day. The Siegel-Schwall Band also pioneered the cross-fertilization of the blues with other forms, performing Bill Russo’s “Three Pieces For Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra” in 1968 with the San Francisco Symphony and The Boston Pops. Corky Siegel has continued this expansion of the blues with his project, Chamber Blues.
The current band includes two other genuine notables, bassist Rollo Radford and drummer Sam Lay. Radford’s resume stretches from Martha & The Vandellas to Sun Ra, giving him the artistic range to follow wherever Siegel and Schwall want to take the blues. Lay’s credentials are awesome. His stellar work with Muddy Waters, Little Walter and The Paul Butterfield earned him entry in both The Blues and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
“The word ‘legendary’ gets thrown around a lot these days, but it seems appropriate to apply to The Siegel-Schwall Band.” – Triple Door, Seattle