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Screens & Tech

'Who Do You Love' explores the history of Chess Records and the birth of rock 'n' roll

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Pioneers Muddy Waters (David Oyelowo) and Leonard Chess (Alessandro Nivola) in Who Do You Love.

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And another thing I’ll say: this was before civil rights. A black guy couldn’t have done it if he wanted to. That’s why there was this symbiotic relationship between a lot of Jewish people and blacks. I remember going with my dad to a radio station in Atlanta, and not being able to get a black cab to take us to the white neighborhood, or a white cab to pick us up. It was really crazy. 

So given those difficulties, why did your father and Chess stick to signing primarily black artists?  

  We tried with a few white artists. But we didn’t really start making it with the white audience until around 1955, when “Maybellene” [by Chuck Berry] became one of the first crossover records. We were shocked when English bands [like] the Yardbirds, the Stones, the Kinks, started doing our songs. No one ever thought that would happen.

How often did your dad actually say ‘motherfucker?’

Constantly. Day in and day out. I say it myself, man. My uncle did too. And we’re always getting in trouble because it sneaks out at the wrong time.    

★★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)

Who Do You Love

Dir. Jerry Zaks; writ. Peter Wortmann, Robert Conte; feat. Alessandro Nivola, Jon Abrahams, David Oyelowo (not rated)


Who Do You Love? screening

7pm Sun, June 10
Barshop Jewish Community Center
12500 NW Military Hwy
(210) 302-6820

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