ANDREW ODOMAndrew ‘Big Voice’ Odom is a largely undiscovered gem of a Blues singer who plied his trade around the Chicago scene for many years, supplying his soulful vocal lines on many great performances by the èlite guitarists on the club circuit. His rich tone and superb timing might have made him a star, but he didn’t get a breakthrough as a solo artist.

Born in Denham Springs LA in 1936, Andrew Odom learned to sing in Church and in the mid-50s he moved to St. Louis where he began working with guitarist Albert King.

Relocating to Chicago in 1960, he teamed up with his long-term partner Earl Hooker and, because Andrew’s voice had a strong resemblance to BB King and Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland‘s, he was billed as BB Odem, and sometimes as ‘Big Voice’ Odem. He cut his debut solo album ‘Farther on Down the Road’ for Bluesway in 1969, with Johnny ‘Big Moose’ Walker on piano, but it remained unissued for several years. Andrew was the front man for one of the hottest bands around the Chicago club scene in the late 60s, with Earl at the top of his game, and with Pinetop Perkins, Carey Bell and Freddie Roulette behind him. This is the team that played on the brilliant ‘Two Bugs and a Roach’ and ‘Don’t Have to Worry’ albums, but when Earl passed away in 1970, Andrew began fronting Jimmy Dawkins‘ band. He spent most of the next decade gigging and recording with Jimmy including European Blues Festivals, and featuring on the excellent Delmark album ‘All For Business’.

Andrew from his 1969 album ‘Farther on Down the Road’;

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A regular face on the Chicago scene in the 80s, Andrew cut an album for the French Black and Blue label in 1982 with Lucky Peterson on keyboards, backed by Magic Slim and the Teardrops. Andrew often sat in at club gigs with Slim, Buddy Guy, Little Milton and many others who loved his rich voice and passionate delivery. The Canadian band, the Gold Tops with guitarist Steve Katz, invited Andrew to join them, and their 1992 album ‘Goin’ to California’ was one of Andrew’s finest recordings. Sadly, it was released posthumously, as Andrew died from a heart attack while driving between Chicago gigs, just days after his 55th birthday.