Luther Allison was born in Arkansas in 1939, and relocated to Chicago when he was 12. He learned guitar and would hang around outside the clubs in the hope of being invited in to play. One day his dream came true and Howlin’ Wolf, no less, invited him onstage. Luther often played behind harp legend James Cotton and he eventually came to the notice of Freddie King, who became something of a mentor, and they were among a new generation of Blues players who centred their work on strong, articulate guitar statements, in the style of T-Bone Walker and BB King. Luther played his spiky guitar lines around the West-side clubs in the late 50s and took over Freddie’s residency when The Texas Cannonball got his break with King Records. He gigged and recorded around Chicago, along with other ‘young bloods’ like Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Magic Sam Maghett, as their impassioned guitar work and frenetic vocal style re-wrote the book on Chicago Blues. After a decade paying his dues on the club scene, Luther’s 1968 album ‘Love Me Mama’ was released on the Delmark label.
In 1994 Luther returned to his homeland and recorded three great albums for Alligator Records which won a hatfull of WC Handy Blues Awards. In 1997, just as his ‘Reckless’ album was released, Luther was taken ill on tour and he was diagnosed with lung cancer which had metastasized into a brain tumour and it quickly took his life.