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Lil' Ed, A Big Name in the Blues

Lil' Ed, second from left, stands with the Blues Imperials
Lil' Ed, second from left, stands with the Blues Imperials

The slide guitar player Ed Williams, aka Lil' Ed, is continuing a family tradition as he tours and records with his bandmates of 25 years, the Blues Imperials. Williams' uncle, Chicago blues great J.B. Hutto, is a major influence on his career.

Williams has assumed the Chicago blues mantle, along with his half-brother, who plays in the band. Starting out in the '70s, Ed worked at a car wash to pay the bills while his Blues Imperials played gigs around Chicago. When an Alligator Records executive got word of their performances, they ended up with a record deal. Their debut album, Roughhousin', was released in 1986.

The band has had its rough spots since then; Williams dissolved it in the mid-'90s and recorded two CDs with other artists. The Blues Imperials came back together in 1998. Their sixth album, Rattleshake, was released last month. Lil' Ed talks about his music and how his uncle made a difference in his career.

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