Big Dave McLean


Big Dave McLean


  • April 18, 2017
  • April 19, 2017
  • April 20, 2017
  • April 21, 2017
  • April 22, 2017

Canada's Legendary Bluesman

Big Dave McLean is finally getting his recognition, at an age when the rest of us are getting around to contemplating retirement. Only in the last decade or so has there been significant inroads into recording this definitive Canadian bluesman. 

A masterful guitarist and top notch harpist, McLean’s raw and gravelly vocals bespeak of a life lived to the fullest, and a career spent performing in and around those countless small towns that dot the Canadian prairies. When it comes to the blues, however, McLean’s heart firmly beats to the ghosts of the delta greats--especially the incomparable Muddy Waters, with whom he toured over two decades ago. Just how important the Mojo Man was to the development of Big Dave can be gleaned in an 11-minute tribute, aptly titled ‘Muddy Waters for President’. Actually written for the dean of Chicago bluesmen, Muddy died before getting around to recording it. 

McLean’s stage performances also identify him as one of the top bluesmen in Canada and what he knows about the business came to him from blues legends John Hammond Jr. and Muddy Waters. He started out on harmonica in the early '60s and had his first guitar lesson from John Hammond at the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1969. Hammond and Muddy Waters became Dave's lifelong musical heroes and friends. What did he learn from the masters? "Well you gotta be courteous," says McLean. "You know, Muddy Waters told me you can have the best guys in the world in your band, and if they gotta go, if they want to branch out and do their own thing, you’re not gonna stop them from doing what they’re destined to do. You might as well aid them along, help them out. And John (Hammond) was much the same, one of the most courteous gentlemen on this planet, you know, totally helpful, inspiring. You know both of them were just wonderful, wonderful men. I’m so pleased that I had the opportunity to even meet them."


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