Living and Playing the Blues: Live Performances and Conversations with Chicago Blues People, a Collection of Interviews and Recordings by Cultural Anthropologist Dr. Caleb Dube.

Material Description

The 88 audiocassettes in this project are part of a larger research collection (31 linear feet) related to Chicago blues musicians and their lives that form part of Dr. Caleb Dube’s doctoral dissertation fieldwork in cultural anthropology. There are 37 separate oral history interviews with 29 individuals and bands complemented by 18 informal conversational and music making sessions recorded from 1995-2005. All materials are currently available for public use onsite at the CBMR. Dr. Dube’s interviews began with musicians and expanded to include venue owners, record label managers, a librarian and City of Chicago arts administrators and programming staff. The performances include recordings of live music in clubs and in informal settings and at presentations from “Blues in the Schools”, a program that brought blues musicians to Chicago Public Schools and explored the use of blues music as an educational tool. The collection was donated to the CBMR by Dube’s spouse a year after his death in 2006. In 2012, the collection was described and organized into five series through a grant funded project with the Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC). The materials encompassed in this proposal are from series V, subseries 2 and 3. Subseries 2 contains Dube’s coursework and dissertation materials. Subseries 3 contains supplemental fieldwork and scholarly research. Both subseries are arranged chronologically by date of recording (where known). Finding aids and descriptive information about the collections are available on these sites: the CBMR (; the BMRC (, the CBMR Collections database online (, and Explore Chicago Collections (


This project will preserve and provide scholarly and public access to over 120 hours of recordings of in-depth interviews with Chicago blues musicians, producers, and presenters, including informal live performances, conducted by DePaul University sociologist and cultural anthropologist, Dr. Caleb Dube. These interviews give unique insight into the work life of practitioners of this foundational African-American art form, one with both a strong local profile and global reach. The project will: 1. digitize 88 audiocassette recordings for long term preservation; 2. create and disseminate collection metadata via publicly accessible online resources, including consortial library and cultural content platforms; 3. provide public onsite access to the digital content; 4. obtain permissions for online digital content access; 5. reach out to faculty, researchers, students, musicians, arts and community groups, and the general public to promote use of these resources in academic and personal research, course development, class projects, and creative work.


Recordings at Risk

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Year Added



Center for Black Music Research (CBMR), Columbia College Chicago


  • Ms. Laurie Lee Moses (Center for Black Music Research)


88 items