|Chester D. Wilson, cover art |
by Spain Rodriguez. 1989.
My ex-husband Chris played blues guitar, and we owned an indie record label, Blue Jazz Records, which was a labor of love, primarily supported by my day job at Winterland Productions. We recorded blues & jazz bands that played places that are long gone, like the Last Day Saloon, the Lost & Found, the Blue Lamp, or the upstairs bar at the Paradise Lounge. The “big-time” gigs were the Fillmore, Slim’s, The Calalyst in Santa Cruz or Doc Ricket’s Lab in Monterey.
Chester moved with his father to work in the shipyards during WWII, and stayed in the Bay Area, working as a laborer and in construction. At the suggestion of Sonny Boy Holmes, an old friend, Chester taught himself to play the guitar left-handed. It took him a long time, but he was dedicated and began playing gigs again. After he retired, he started to play more regularly, and would play at the 24th and Mission BART station just to get out and stay in practice.
|Chester at the Fillmore! Poster by|
Whit Clifton (Wolfgang's Vault)
Around the time we were working with him, Chester had some fun gigs. He opened for Johnny Winter and John Mayall at the Fillmore, and he played the SF Blues Festival at Fort Mason. "All my songs are true," Chester said in 1989. "They are about traveling, mean-hearted women and tough times. With the death of legends in the Blues like Muddy Waters and Lighting Hopkins, there's not many left who play our style of the Blues anymore."
In the turmoil of my divorce and subsequent moving around, I lost track of Chester, the original tapes, and the mechanical of the cover art. If he’s still around, he would be in his 90’s now. I was honored to know him.
PDF of BAM Magazine review/interview and cover F&B | YouTube video 1990.