John Primer is the " Real Deal " . John is the direct link to Muddy , to Wolf , to the long-lost Maxwell Street , and to all those classic Chicago juke joins that have long been shuttered and almost forgotten - B.L.U.E.S. on Halstead , The Checkerboard Lounge : " That really makes me feel sad. Those places really kept the blues going for all the local musicians in Chicago. Most of the musicians on the circuit were playing locally. We would all meet at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted and go play. It’s sad that the place closed down. The “Hard Times” music video was filmed inside and outside of the club. The video starts there. From then on, we went to another club that has been closed down for years which Buddy Guy used to own called The Checkerboard Lounge. I used to play there every Monday until it closed down. Going to the spots brings back memories " . From sharecropper beginnings in Camden , MS. John Primer is part of the second generation of musicians who made Chicago a blues stronghold. He's backed or shared the stage with blues and rock royalty like Muddy Waters , Willie Dixon , the Rolling Stones , Junior Wells , Magic Slim , Johnny Winter , Gary Clark , Jr ; Derek Trucks , and many more. At the age of 8 years old , John Primer borrowed his first guitar and started to strum . Through his Grandmother Laura Nell's tube radio John was instantly hooked on the sounds of " the Kings " - Albert and B. B . ; Elmore James , Muddy and Jimmy Reed , and Little Milton . As a young boy , John first appeared on stage at the local Baptist church , and went on to play at house parties and fish fry's in and around his hometown of Camden , Mississippi . At the age of 18 , feeling restless and in search of a wider audience , and more possibilities , John migrated to Chicago in the fall of 1963 . He quickly found work in an era when modern electric blues and West and South Side sounds were first taking shape . His first band , " The Maintainers" , 1964 , rocked such West Side clubs as The Place , The Bow Tie, and Lovers Lounge . By 1974 John's own unique style , and his success , led him to replace John Watkins in the house band at the famous Theresa's Lounge on the South Side of Chicago . In 1979 master songwriter Willie Dixon persuaded John to join his band " The Chicago All - Stars " . Traveling through the U.S; Mexico , and Europe , John developed his skills as a rhythm guitarist , a lead slide player , and a powerful singer . Muddy Waters himself recruited John as a guitarist and also as an opening act . Muddy served as a father to John. John stayed loyal to Muddy until his untimely death in 1983 . John signed on with the legendary Magic Slim . For 14 years he toured with Magic Slim and The Teardrops , bringing house-rocking sounds to every corner of the world . In 1995 the veteran blues man left his days as a celebrated sideman behind , releasing his major label debut , " The Real Deal " . To this day John Primer continues to electrify audiences at clubs and festivals , remaining an award-winning driving force in the world of blues music today. . John's latest release , " Hard Times " , is another exciting musical chapter in the career of an American icon . John primer is certainly one of the cornerstones of contemporary blues music : " This is my third or fourth CD on my own label. I think Hard Times is one of the better ones that I have written. There are three CDs on my own label that are all original tunes. I think this is one of the better ones that might go somewhere. All of them have gone places and won awards and things. I think it should be good enough to win something. I’m very happy with it, and I write all the time. I just wrote a song today and I am still writing. I haven’t quit. I think this CD is going to be great and people should go out and buy it. Check it out, because it’s all original music. It’s my music, my thoughts, my mind, and what I think about when I write. It is out now." Alongside John Primer on " Hard Times " is the "Real Deal Blues Band " : " My drummer Lenny Media has been in the band about thirteen years now, maybe a little bit longer. He’s one of the outstanding drummers in Chicago. We played with the same guys. We played with Magic Slim and The Teardrops. I left the group when he started playing. When I needed a drummer, I found him. He lives in Chicago and I knew his dad. His dad was a keyboard player and singer. He’s a real nice guy. Steve Bell on harmonica is the son of Carey Bell. I’ve known him for thirty years since he was six years old. Johnny Iguana is on keyboard, and he played with Junior Wells for a long time. I have known Dave Forte for a long long time and he played with a lot of great musicians. He played with Toronzo Cannon when I met him. He’s a great bass player and he did all of the graphic design on the CD. He didn’t take the photo but he did everything else on the CD. Rick Kreher plays rhythm guitar. He and I were in the same band with Muddy Waters at the same time. My seventeen-year-old daughter, Aliya, sings a song. The Real Deal Blues Band came up with the music and it is track number seven called “Tough Times.” We put a lot of work into the CD and we put our heart and soul into it. You can tell by listening to it " . " Tough Times '' is a star turn for John Primer's 17-year-old daughter who sings about all the struggles society has been dealing with during the pandemic . Aliyah reminds all of us how important social interaction and connections are , things that were tragically missed during the pandemic shutdown . There are 13 John Primer penned tunes here , celebrating the life and extraordinary talents of a master storyteller and a distinguished , versatile , musician. John plays rhythm , lead , slide , and writes his own material. Check out John's powerful slide on tracks like " I Won't Sweat it" , " Blues,Blues , Blues " and " Hard Times " . John's vocals are warm and passionate on " Chicago " , a loving tribute to the blues community in the " Windy City ." Trying To Make You Mine " is a master class in guitar work and John's vocals here couldn't be better . " I Won't Sweat It " also features some incredibly fiery harp work from Steve Bell , and a spotlight on some fine work from David Forte on bass and Lenny media on drums . Johnny Iguana on keys is everywhere , essential to the mix , an exciting addition that makes you want to jump up , and tear up , the nearest dance floor . " Hot Meal " is good times blues , plenty of clever lyrics , a slow blues burner that has you grinnin' and swayin' at the same time : “Hot Meal” is like soul food you eat, you know. Cornbread and black-eyed peas and turnip greens and neck bones. That’s-straight-from-the-soul food. It’s soul blues and soul food music" . " Hard Times " is traditional Chicago blues with that contemporary spin . Not straying far from Maxwell Street, John Primer and his incredible bandmates , a solid team of players , show us that the blues is alive and well and in very good hands . Muddy is cheering John on right now , proud that " The Real Deal " shows no signs of slowing down at the young age of 77. A joyous celebration of those "down home blues " , filled with loving passion and heart-felt soul , " Hard Times " is certainly some of John Primer's best work to date . I have been playing this CD over and over and over again. One incredible project and a first-rate release.