Dapper in coat, tie and cap, Bennie Smith sits onstage at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups. He's as relaxed as a man out for a leisurely drive in the country. It's 1 a.m., and Saturday night has slipped into Sunday morning, but the long, narrow room is still packed, mostly with twentysomething men and women whose parents may not have even been born when Smith first started playing the blues. The music of Smith's Urban Blues Express fills the scant floor space in front of the stage, urging dancers on with renditions of familiar material ranging from "Drown in My Own Tears" and "Sweet Home Chicago" to "Back at the Chicken Shack" and... More >>>
By Jennifer Silverberg
Bennie Smith is a direct connection to the progenitors of postwar electric blues.