“They want to know
that a fellow fan
is running the label.”

Back in the 1970s, when Alligator was releasing one or two albums a year, Living Blues was just becoming established as the American blues magazine. As a founder of Living Blues, I had advertised Alligator releases there since 1971, displaying album covers and sales pitches for each album.

In the late 70s, my sole employee, Richard McLeese, suggested that I create a different kind of ad directed at the magazine’s readers. He explained it something like this: “Blues fans want a sense of the person behind the records. They want to know that a fellow fan is running the label, choosing the artists and producing the records. They want to hear about the artists, live gigs, recording sessions, and feel your enthusiasm and excitement.”

So I began to write a personal letter for each issue of Living Blues, announcing our new releases, sharing Alligator news and reminiscing about the earlier years of the label. Since then, I’ve written hundreds of these letter/advertisements.

In writing Bitten By The Blues, I consulted some of them to help me recall recording sessions, dates, and other information. As we prepared this website to supplement the book, I realized that these letter/ads included stories and artist portraits that aren’t in the book, and information that might interest you. To launch the site, we’re posting bit by bit these letter/ads from April 2000 onward, which were stored in my computer. Soon I will go back and photo copy the earlier ones and post them as well.

– Bruce Iglauer