Fernando Jones grew up in a house where Blues music dominated the family record player. A number of prominent Chicago Blues artists are members of his family. Foree Superstar is Fernando's eldest brother. Foree had first taken him into the world-famous Theresa's Lounge by the time he was 4 years old. He thus acquired a love for the Blues. His adoration of the music led him in 2 directions. The first being the self instruction of several musical instruments, initially the guitar and drums, and more recently, the harmonica. The second direction led him to the undertaking of this project.
Fernando prepared himself for his current role of Blues hierophant at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He graduated in 1987. While there, he was involved in a number of African American classes, workshops and symposiums under the tutelage of professors Grace S. Holt and Sterling D. Plumpp. Also, while still a student, Fernando organized landmark festivals that showcased the talents of many of Chicago's seminal music and heritage performers. He was able to secure the patronage from the likes of Buddy Guy, Magic Slim, Foree Superstar, .KoKo Taylor;, Muddy Waters, Jr., and Junior Wells. As an alumnus, he continued to produce programs at the University, such as The First Annual Blues & Heritage Festival in the fall of 1989 that was sponsored by the UIC Black Alumni Association.
His book, I Was There When The Blues Was Red Hot, is a labor of love. This project involved more than 10 years of research, securing trust and conducting interviews. It meant going anywhere and everywhere the music was being played in the Chicagoland area. This included bars, clubs, festivals, and even Downtown street corners.
In the process of compiling this data, Fernando still found the time to write and perform the music he cares so much about. I Was There When The Blues Was Red Hot offers a young African American Bluesman's perspective of the Chicago Blues scene. It is a thorough examination of the lives of several Bluesmen and Blueswomen and a tribute to the genius of the music they help sustain.
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