Your Chicago: Blues Heaven

(CBS) — As everyone knows, Chicago is home to some of the greatest blues musicians ever: Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolfe, Buddy Guy, Willie Dixon, just to name a few.

But few of us realize that the grounds of the old Chess Records is home to the Willie Dixon Foundation. And in the garden right outside they are keeping the beautiful music alive.

CBS 2’s Rob Johnson pays a visit to Blues Heaven.

Every Thursday during the summer, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., they’re still singing the blues at 2120 S. Michigan Ave.

It feels more like a party, an eclectic mix of nearby residents like Alice Roberts, who is 92 years young, getting out of the chairs to dance.

You can’t help but feel the power of the bands. This week, it featured Dr. Payne and the Blues Relief.

Its namesake, drummer Odie Payne III, in a previous life was a doctor.

“It’s all about the spirit of it. You saw those young ladies out here dancing, all the way up to 90-plus years old. That’s the spirit of it,” he says.

On occasion, guest singers will come up on stage. For example: Debra Jackson, who’s performed with the likes of Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Dixon would have turned 100 this year. His grandson, Keith Dixon, is keeping his memory and that of Chess Records alive.

It’s part museum, part recording studio, with old instruments and pictures of the greats. It’s a place where world famous bands like the Rolling Stones and regular folks can come and pay homage to the blues’ deep heritage.

The musical performances continue through Sept. 10.

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