Monday, August 25, 2008

RIP Little Arthur Duncan

Sad news from the Chicago Tribune:
Little Arthur Duncan left Mississippi as a teenager for Chicago, where he befriended blues giant Little Walter and learned to play the harmonica. Mr. Duncan became an accomplished harp player and gutbucket blues singer who performed across the city and in Europe and ran two clubs on the West Side for many years. Mr. Duncan, 74, died Wednesday, Aug. 20, in Kindred Hospital in Northlake of complications from brain surgery, said Rick Kreher, a guitarist who often played with Mr. Duncan.

Born in Indianola, Miss., the hometown of B.B. King, Mr. Duncan came to Chicago when he was 16 and did construction work while playing in bars and clubs around Chicago.

He went into business about 1980, running two West Side clubs—the Artesian Lounge on Lake Street and Backscratcher's Social Club on Madison Street. The club, like his backing band, The Backscratchers, took its name from one of his signature numbers, Slim Harpo's "Baby Scratch My Back."

He played regularly at Rosa's Lounge and Buddy Guy's Legends and in Europe. He threw parties, which were renowned for their lavish spreads of Southern food he prepared, for the city's blues communities at his South Side home.

Visitation will be held at 4 p.m. Aug. 29 at A.A. Rayner & Sons Funeral Home, 318 E. 71st St. A one-hour visitation will precede 11 a.m. services Aug. 30 at Second Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, 7922 S. Hoyne Ave.

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