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Dave Weld

Born in Chicago in 1952, Dave was first influenced as a child when he found an old Victrola in the basement and wore out the blues 78’s. In high school the Stones, Clapton and Mayall first came out but Dave traded those records for Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin Hopkins, and BB King. After high school Weld moved to New Mexico, and studied guitar under Kurt Black, a jazz player who worked with Benny Carter, Grant Green and others in the New York jazz scene. Also he drove to Nevada and met and jammed with Gatemouth Brown.

Dave’s first band! Hound Dog Taylor’s group of Brewer Philips and Ted Harvey. They had been working with JB Hutto after Hound Dog’s death, and after they came back from breaking iff with JB in Boston, they had a little house gig at Sweet Pea’s. Weld joined the band and played with them for a year.

Brewer Philip and Ted Harvey are well known because their music started Alligator Records, the world largest blues label. Brewer learned from Memphis Minnie, one of the most famous women in blues history! Their recordings and tours with Hound Dog over 16 years signaled an increase in popularity of the blues in middle class America.

Weld bought Hound Dog Taylor’s first Alligator album, heard Howlin Wolf over the radio in the desert one night, packed up and drove back home in his 67′ Ford, and made it with $10 to spare.

Dave found out the West side of Chicago in the black hood was friendlier than the North side, and started sitting in at clubs, and landed a gig with Hound Dog Taylor’s band, Brewer Phillips,

The Garfield, at Homan and Madison was right around the corner from Ed’s house and featured Little Wolf, Hound Dog, and Little Ed’s band stayed there about a year.

Ted Harvey, at Sweet Peas on 43rd St. While there a year, there were shake dancers and fistfights. The gig ended when Brewer was stabbed in the throat by his wife, but they reconciled.

Weld then moved to the 1815 Club on W. Roosevelt, owned and operated by Eddie Shaw who had Howlin Wolfs band, the Wolf Pack. Dave stayed there and played in the band with Chico Chism, Lafayette Gilbert, Hubert Sumlin, Detroit Junior, and Eddie Shaw. The going rate was $15 per night, but Dave played there with Otis Rush, Maxwell St. Jimmy, Guitar Junior, Jew Town Burks, Doug Macdonald, Boston Blackie, Tail Dragger, Little Wolf, Big Bad Ben, Little Aurthur, Johnny Littlejohn and more. The gig ended when the band was taken to the Maxwell St. lockup because of the nude dancers. Shaw bailed them out.

During this time Weld was under tutelage from JB Hutto, a Grammy awarded Blues Hall of Fame slide man from Georgia. He studied at JB’s house for three years until JB introduced Dave to his nephews, Little Ed and James Young. They started the band “Little Ed and the Blues Imperials” and played every joint in the West side for ten years.

Necktie Nates at W Roosevelt was a hotbed of blues and Little Ed and the Blues Imperials stayed there a year, during which Buster Benton came in to play quite a bit. The gig ended when Nate insulted Pookie’s aunt and James jumped down off the stage to give Nate quite a lesson in manners.

About $15 a night, until Bruce Igauer from Alligator recorded them in a historic session “Roughousin’” and they started world tours.

Dave started “Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames” in 1988 with Little Ed’s Blessing and they came out with their first CD “Roughrockin’ in Chicago”, on Parsifal Records in Belgium, and Dave toured Europe, Canada and Japan with his own band.

Little Ed joined Dave’s band twice for two years each time and the second time they recorded for Earwig Music, “Keep on Walkin’”, and this brought them overseas again, as well as local, regional, and national gigs. When Ed went back to his band he was replaced by the great Abb Locke, legendary sax man who is in the band today with Jeff Taylor and Herman Applewhite. They continue working every week since the band was formed in 1988, and Dave made his first UK tour in 2005, with the second to closing slot at the Maryport Blues Festival, going full circle by opening up for Hubert Sumlin and the Legendary Blues Band!

dave weld guitarist