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Suburban Chicago mural pays tribute to its blues legacy

Aurora's blues legacy honored in new mural
Aurora's blues legacy honored in new mural 02:15

CHICAGO (CBS) — A new mural in Aurora pays tribute to the city's place in music history, and residents got a first look at an installation that homages a recording series nearly 90 years old.

For eighteen months in 1937 and 1938, Aurora stood as a crossroads where some of the country's blues artists came to record. Now, the stage is set for a new mural honoring the city's connection to the blues.

"Many of you may not know that some of these artists that you see on the wall. Aurora was the place that people came to record. The blues. And over the years, we have forgotten about our history," said Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin. 

Chicago artist Max Sansing's work features the likenesses of Chicago Blues legends Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Hudson "Tampa Red" Whittaker.

Whittaker participated in the Bluebird Records recording sessions on the top floor of the now Leland Tower, formerly the Leland Hotel. It's where artists recorded more than 300 songs. 

"Those sessions were really kind of lost in the fog of history, and they were rediscovered by Fox Valley Blues Society."

Karen Fouts is The Venue's executive director, a space started by music preservationists with nods to Bluebird Records along the walls.

"We can preserve that music and that legacy and share it with current music fans, future generations of music fans," Fouts said.

With the unveiling of the new mural, artist Max Sansing made his mark on Aurora.

"I painted all over the world. And I've traveled, but I've always come back," Sansing said. 

Just like the artists who came before him.

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