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Mavis Staples, lots of tributes at Chicago Blues Festival

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Mavis Staples will headline a tribute-heavy schedule at the 29th annual Chicago Blues Festival, scheduled June 8-10 in Grant Park.

Staples will cap the festival's final day -- a schedule that features all female performers at the Petrillo Music Shell, including a tribute to the Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor, who died in 2009, by Melvia "Chick" Rodgers, Jackie Scott, Deitra Farr and Nora Jean Brusco.

Other top slots go to Texas Johnny Brown -- a jazzy Houston guitarist who toured with Bobby "Blue" Bland and Junior Parker -- on June 8 and Floyd Taylor on June 9. Taylor is a Chicago native, Dusable High School grad and son of the great Johnnie Taylor.

Brown's show will be part of a centennial celebration of Lightnin' Hopkins, a fellow Texan. Other Lone Star State natives, including the Rev. K.M. Williams, Milton Hopkins (Ligntnin' Hopkins' cousin) and Jewel Brown open that evening's salute.

Other special events include a special tribute to David "Honeyboy" Edwards by bandmate Paul Kaye, plus a bill of "Muddy Waters Disciples" and nods to Pinetop Perkins, Willie Big Eyes Smith and Mojo Buford in a set featuring Muddy Water's son, Mud Morganfield; Willie Big Eyes Smith's son, Kenny Smith; Bob Margolin, Barrelhouse Chuck, Lil Frank and Bob Stroger.

Yet another tribute, this one to Hubert Sumlin, takes place June 9 at the Front Porch Stage with Steady Rollin Bob Margolin, Eddie Shaw, Kenny Smith, Dave Spector, Johnny Iguana, Bob Stroger & Bob Corritore.

Staples is, of course, the legendary voice from Chicago's family soul group, the Staple Singers. She recently found a new fan base with the 2010 Grammy-winning album "You Are Not Alone," produced and co-written by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. She recently joined that band on stage at the Chicago Opera House.

A full schedule comes later. For more information, call (312) 744-3316 or visit chicagobluesfestival.us.


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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.

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