Urban Djin played for Buddy Guy’s Legends for over 7 years, delighting our lunch crowds with a shining smile and a one of a kind sound. Unlike other musicians he would walk amongst the tables in his classic red cowboy garb enjoying the interaction of the guests. He was one of a kind performer, person, and friend, we miss his joy at Legends everyday and no matter where ever he travels he has a home here.
The following is a collection of experiences Urban had while living in Maxwell street from 1982 to 1996. Maxwell Street was a community unlike any other made up of musicians, food vendors and more, you could find just about anything there. It was the heart and hub of Chicago blues, hosting many of the greatest musicians to ever live. Whatever Maxwell Street became in its heyday it was a mecca of wonder that will never replaced but it will always be remembered.
(Continued from Vanities)
Watch Your Step! Watch Your Step!
The neighborhood looked a lot rougher than it actually was. Every day I would see people who had missed the entrance to the expressway after dark lock their cars nervously as they passed. They really didn’t need to. They only made themselves potential targets by displaying fear. I never ran into a situation I couldn’t handle. And I had female neighbors who lived alone. They felt just as safe as I did. Everybody knew everybody else. If you left your car’s lights on somebody would yell up to let you know. It was like a small town in the shadow of downtown. Every once in a long while somebody from somewhere else who assumed that I didn’t belong there because of my white skin would try to mess with me. Nothing I couldn’t have finessed all by myself, but I never had to. Inevitably one of the guys selling gold chains, or tube socks, or XXX video tapes would walk over and ask me what was up. Just being a good neighbor. The thug understood that he was the one who was out of place.
One day a musician friend who was from a small town in southern Indiana came over to hang out and play music. He was pretty freaked out by the look of the area so I waited with him at the bus stop on his way home. While we were standing on the corner, some guy ran across the street towards us shouting incoherently and waving a pistol. “How much you want for that piece?” I piped as he got close. He mumbled something unintelligible. “Let’s see it.” He handed me the 9mm Beretta for inspection. It was loaded and chambered. I put the safety on and handed it back to him. “Can you get me a revolver? Short barrel 38?” I asked. “I need something more reliable.” He mumbled again and trotted off. I have no idea what that was all about. I didn’t need or want a gun, but it seemed like the thing to say. Everything was always for sale at Maxwell Street. “How much you want for that?” was a reliable ice breaker. My friend never came back. His life had already started flashing before his eyes!