Bob Stroger (born December 27, 1930)[2][3][4] is an American electric blues bass guitarist, singer and songwriter. He has worked with many blues musicians, including Eddie King, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Eddie Taylor, Eddy Clearwater, Sunnyland Slim, Louisiana Red, Buster Benton, Homesick James, Mississippi Heat, Snooky Pryor, Odie Payne, Fred Below, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and Billy Davenport.[1]

In 2011 and 2013, Stroger was granted a Blues Music Award as Best Blues Bassist.

Life and career

Stroger was born on a farm outside of Hayti, Missouri.[5] In 1955, at the age of 16, he relocated with his family to Chicago, Illinois.[6] His family settled on the West Side, in an apartment in back of Silvio's nightclub. Stroger was inspired by the sights and sounds from the club. He was further encouraged to try for a career in music, after being employed driving his brother-in-law to play in a blues band with J. B. Hutto.[6] A self-taught guitarist, he formed a family-based band, the Red Tops (the band members wore black berets with a red circle daubed on top). Willie Kent was drafted to boost their proficiency, and the combo was renamed Joe Russell and the Blues Hustlers (Stroger had adopted the stage name Joe Russell, but the name did not endure).[1] He went on to play jazz with Rufus Forman, but it was his meeting with Eddie King which started his lengthy career playing blues. Having started playing the bass guitar, Stroger played on King's single "Love You Baby" (1965).[6]

He backed King for fifteen years before King relocated, after which Stroger stopped playing for a couple of years.[1] His interest was rekindled when he was recommended to Otis Rush, whom he backed in the late 1970s and 1980s.[7] He toured Europe with Rush and played on two of his albums, Live in Europe and Lost in the Blues.[6][8]

Stroger next was a session musician for a while. He worked with Sunnyland Slim[6] and Mississippi Heat in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He then joined Odie Payne in the regular rhythm section for the series of American Blues Folk Festivals.[1] Encouraged by Sunnyland Slim, Stroger began singing and writing his own material.[7] In 1996, Stroger played on Mark Hummel's album, Heart of Chicago.[9] In 1997, he played bass on Golden "Big" Wheeler's album Jump In.[10] The following year, he played with a group of musicians at the Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland. This led to the recording of his debut solo album, In the House: Live at Lucerne, Vol. 1, on which he was accompanied by Ken Saydak and Billy Flynn.[11]

In 2007, Stroger recorded Bob Is Back in Town in Chicago, backed by Steve Freund (guitar), Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (harmonica), Deitra Farr (backing vocals), and Juli Wood (baritone saxophone).[7] The same year he backed Carey Bell on his final recorded work, Gettin' Up: Live at Buddy Guy's Legends, Rosa's and Lurrie's Home (Delmark).[12] He also played on Willie "Big Eyes" Smith's albums Born in Arkansas (2008) and Joined at the Hip (with Pinetop Perkins, 2010).[13]

In 2011, the Blues Foundation presented Stroger with a Blues Music Award in the category Best Blues Bassist.[14] He was nominated in the same category in 2013.[15] He won the Best Bassist Award again in 2013.


Solo albums

YearTitleRecord label
2002In the House: Live at Lucerne, vol. 1Crosscut Records (Germany)
2007Bob Is Back in TownAirway Records
2022That's My NameDelmark Records


Collaboration albums

YearTitleRecord label
1983Blues Meeting in ChicagoStrawberry Records


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Chadbourne, Eugene. "Bob Stroger: Biography, Credits, Discography". Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  2. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. p. 207. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  3. ^ "Bluesharpdog, December 27, 1930: Bob Stroger Was Born in Haity, MO". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Bob Stroger". Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Bob Stroger Website". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e Hanson, Karen (2007). Today's Chicago Blues. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press. pp. 196–198. ISBN 978-1-893121-19-5.
  7. ^ a b c "Bob Is Back in Town". Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Otis Rush, Lost in the Blues: Credits". Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Mark Hummel, Heart of Chicago: Credits". 14 January 1997. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Big Wheeler, Jump In: Credits". Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Bob Stroger & His Chicago Blues Legends Feat. the Ken Saydak Trio, In the House: Live at Lucerne, vol. 1". Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Carey Bell, Gettin' Up: Live at Buddy Guy's Legends Rosa's: Credits". AllMusiccom. 17 April 2007. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Pinetop Perkins, Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith, Joined at the Hip: Credits". 8 June 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  14. ^ "Blues Music Awards 2011: A Delta Bohemian Perspective". 26 May 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Blues Music Awards Nominees, 2013, 34th Blues Music Awards". Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  16. ^ "Sven Zetterberg, Sunnyland Slim, Tor Einar Jacobsen, Knut Reiersrud, Hungry John, Bob Stroger, Kristin Berglund, S.P. Leary, Zora Young - Bluesmeeting In Chicago (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 7 March 2013.

External links