Very few Chicago blues artists were able to pierce the R&B charts during the 1970s, when interest in the genre was rock-bottom. But smooth-voiced Artie "Blues Boy" White managed the rare feat with his 1977 single for Altee, "Leanin' Tree." Gospel was White's initial musical pursuit. He sang with a spiritual aggregation, the Harps of David, at the age of 11 prior to coming to Chicago in 1956. More church singing was in store with the Full Gospel Wonders. White claims he was lured into singing the devil's music by a well-heeled gent who drove up to an unsuspecting White in a flashy Cadillac and promised him $10,000 to record some blues songs!
White's '70s singles for PM and Gamma stiffed, but with the advent of "Leanin' Tree," he was able to command a nice asking price on the Chicago circuit. For a while, White tried his hand at running a blues club, Bootsy's Lounge. But performing and recording won out; White waxed a terrific debut LP in 1985 for Shreveport-based Ronn Records called Blues Boy. He signed with Ichiban in 1987 and waxed six fine sets in the soul-blues vein (enough to merit a best-of CD in 1991), utilizing Chicago songwriter Bob Jones (the composer of "Leanin' Tree") and labelmate Travis Haddix as chief sources of material. On 1989's Thangs Got to Change, White enjoyed the presence of Little Milton Campbell, one of his prime influences, on lead guitar. A move to the Waldoxy label resulted in 1994's Different Shades of Blue, 1997's Back Home to Clarksdale: A Tribute to Muddy Waters, and 1999's Can We Get Together. 2002 found White still going strong with a new record, Can't Get Enough, and a new label, Gold Circle. ~ Bill Dahl