John Brim – the Ice Cream Man of the blues

John Brim was a fixture in the Chicago blues scene of the 50’s. Although his musical career began long before and has continued for 5 decades, 1950 through 1956 saw Brim involved with the cream of Chicago’s working and recording musicians. In no less than 35 recordings for a half dozen labels, John Brim solidified his place in blues history with classics such as Ice Cream Man, Rattlesnake and Tough Times.

John Brim was born April 10th, 1922 near Hopkinsville, Kentucky. His interest in the blues started soon thereafter. Influenced by the records of Tampa Red, Peetie Wheatstraw, and Big Bill Broonzy, Brim started to teach himself harmonica.

By late 1945, Brim decided to take his voice and guitar to Chicago. Almost immediately he met and began working with John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson and Dr. Clayton. Brim also reunited with Homer Wilson. During the next 5 years, Brim met and worked with the founding members of the Chicago blues scene, as well as the “old guard” that was still influencing the younger artists. Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Willie Mabon, Memphis Minnie, Big Bill Broonzy, Tampa Red, Earl Hooker, and Big Maceo all crossed paths with Brim during this time.

The rock group Van Halen recorded his signature song “Ice Cream Man” .. as have many others.