DAILY DIRT: Illinois, Missouri artists remembered during Black Music Appreciation Month

chuck berry

Chuck Berry

Daily Dirt for Saturday, June 24, 2023

Curtis Mayfield, Lou Rawls, Chuck Berry lead the way … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 647 of The Daily Dirt.

1. June is Black Music Appreciation Month, and both Illinois and Missouri have plenty to celebrate.

Here are my favorite Black artists from both states:


Gold medal: Curtis Mayfield of Chicago was one of my favorite singers in my formative years, both with the Impressions and on his own. “Freddy’s Dead” from the “Super Fly” soundtrack is my No. 1 Mayfield effort, although “People Get Ready” was another classic. Mayfield died in 1999.

Silver medal: Lou Rawls, also a Chicago native, sold more than 40 million records in a career that took off with his 1966 masterpiece “Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing.” He also popularized “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” and about a dozen others.  Rawls died in 2006.

Bronze medal: Jennifer Hudson, who shot to fame on the third season of the original “American Idol.” She is also known for her Academy Award-winning role of Effie White in “Dreamgirls.” Another Chicago native, Hudson owns two Grammys, one for her self-titled debut album and the other for the musical “The Color Purple.” 


Gold medal: Chuck Berry. The man, the myth, the legend. Not only a hall of fame singer, the St. Louis native brought a special kind of magic to the stage, with both with his voice and overall theatrics. The man could entertain. Berry had so many hits, it’s difficult to pinpoint just a couple, but I’ll go with “Memphis, Tennessee” and “No Particular Place to Go.” He was 90 years old when he died in 2017.

Silver medal: Tina Turner and Chuck Berry could have split that gold medal, but we gave the nod to Chuck because Tina did not become a Missouri resident until age 16. A product of Sumner High School, Turner have us so many classics, including “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and “The Best.” Turned died earlier this year at age 83.

Bronze medal: Fontella Bass, the “Rescue Me” girl.  Bass, who died in 2012, was from St. Louis.

2. Ironically, George Washington, often referred to as the father of our country, had no children.

He was one of five U.S. presidents with no kids —  James Polk, Warren Harding, James Buchanan and Andrew Jackson were the others.

Conversely, the U.S. president who fathered the most children was John Tyler with 15. Tyler was our 10th president.

3. Speaking of old presidents, One of James Garfield’s favorite meals was squirrel soup.

Garfield’s preferred recipe actually appeared in the “The Original White House Cook Book,” published in 1887. It begins: “Wash and quarter three or four good sized squirrels; put them on, with a small tablespoonful of salt, directly after breakfast, in a gallon of cold water … ”) According to an old exhibit at the White House Visitor Center, Garfield’s doctors even suggested that the soup might “revive his appetite” after he was shot in 1881.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — Think that squirrel soup sounded nasty? President William Howard Taft often loved him some baked ‘possum. 

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He should have wild game for lunch weekly.

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