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Lil Ed & The Blues Imperials Biography
Lil' Ed Williams (born April 8, 1955, Chicago, Illinois, United States) is an American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. With his backing band, the Blues Imperials, slide guitarist Williams has built up a loyal following.
Williams and his half-brother James "Pookie" Young, received childhood encouragement and tutelage from their uncle, blues guitarist, songwriter and recording artist J. B. Hutto, and by 1975 the half-siblings had formed the first version of the Blues Imperials. Since 1989, the band's lineup has been Williams (lead guitar and vocals), Michael Garrett (rhythm guitar and vocals), James Young (Bass) and Kelly Littleton (drums). Living Blues magazine described the band as "Roug-and-ready South and West Side blues...Ed's swirling, snarling slide guitar work can be riveting, and The Imperials pound out blues-rock riffs and rhythms behind him as if they're overdosing on boogie juice." Guitar Player called the band "a snarling boogie-blues machine."
A decade later and Alligator Records offered them the chance to record two songs for a forthcoming compilation album entitled The New Bluebloods. Producer and label owner Bruce Iglauer encouraged them to record additional material, and they cut a full album's worth of material at that session that was released as Roughhousin' (1986). They then appeared at music festivals and toured widely. Their second album release was entitled, Chicken, Gravy & Biscuits (1989), and their third LP, What You See is What You Get was issued in 1992. At this point the group disbanded, while Williams issued two solo albums; Keep On Walking, (which paired Williams with former Blues Imperial band member Dave Weld) followed by Who's Been Talking (1998), the latter pairing Williams with Willie Kent.
In 1999 the release of Get Wild marked the group's reunion, and has been followed in subsequent years with Heads Up (2002), Rattleshake (2006), Full Tilt (2008) and Jump Start (2012).
Lil' Ed and The Blues Imperials have appeared multiple times at the Chicago Blues Festival and festivals and clubs around the world. In June 2008, Williams guested on Magic Slim's album, Midnight Blues. In June 2009, Williams appeared as a guest on the radio quiz game show, produced by Chicago Public Radio and National Public Radio, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials have been nominated for eight Blues Music Award as 'Band Of The Year' and have won that award twice.