Sax great Eddie Shaw in Rockford Dec. 22

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Man who helped back Howlin' Wolf at Big Cities

Blues saxophone great Eddie Shaw, who’s in his sixth decade of performing and touring, will make a stop in Rockford Friday, Dec. 22, at Big Cities Lounge.

Blues fans who recall the resurgence of the genre in the 1960s and ’70s are sure to remember Shaw as the focal point of the band that backed legendary bluesman Howlin’ Wolf. Shaw and his band, now called The Wolf Gang, toured with Wolf until his death in 1976.

After Wolf’s death, Shaw led and managed the band, and landed tours around the globe. He’s also played and recorded with Freddy King, Otis Rush and Magic Sam. Many also know Shaw for his work with his old friend, George Thorogood, whom he met in his later years with Howlin’ Wolf. Shaw joined Thorogood’s Destroyer lineup in 2003, filling in for Arno Hecht.

Hailing from Memphis, Tenn., Shaw began his career at 14 when he began jamming with Ike Turner’s band in the 1950s. His stint with Turner impressed blues great Muddy Waters, who hired him to join his Chicago band before the young sax player shocked the blues world when he quit to tour with Howlin’ Wolf.

Also a talented harmonica player, vocalist and songwriter, Eddie Shaw has written songs for John Hammond, Otis Rush, Willie Dixon as well as Howlin’ Wolf and George Thorogood.

Shaw was the winner of the 1996 Critics Award for Outstanding Blues Musician, and most recently grabbed the 2006 Blues Music Award for Best Instrumental Horn.

Big Cities Lounge is at 905 E. State St., Rockford. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. Cost is $5. Advanced tickets can be purchased by calling the club at 965-6026. Eddie Shaw and The Wolf Gang can be found online at A complete list of upcoming shows at Big Cities is listed at

From the Dec. 13-19, 2006, issue

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