is the guitar-playing, singing, and songwriting son of late legendary blues guitarist
. True to form for this chip off the old block, the young
injects every bit as much energy into his live shows as his father did.
. He began accompanying his famous father to blues festivals in the early '70s. There, he was introduced to a who's who of Chicago blues stars:
, among others. When he was seven or eight, he began having aspirations of becoming a guitar slinger like his father.
benefited from his father and brothers' collections of classic blues and gospel.
After graduating from high school, Bernard
began playing with Koko Taylor
in her touring band. He stayed with Taylor
's band until 1985, when he left to hustle up his own gigs as Bernard Allison & Back Talk
spent a lot of time in Canada with his first band, and later rejoined Taylor
and her Blues Machine
for another two years in the late '80s. After joining his father in Europe for a live recording, Bernard
was asked to join Luther
's touring band and become his European bandleader. Luther
helped his son along with the finer points of showmanship for several years until Bernard
was good enough to lead his own trio or quartet. At Christmastime in 1989, while both were living together in Paris, the elder Allison
arranged to give his son the most precious gift for budding musicians: studio time to record his first album. Bernard
's debut, Next Generation
, was recorded for Mondo Records using musicians from his dad's band. His other European label releases include Hang On
, No Mercy
, and Funkifino.
In December 1996, Bernard
was contacted by Cannonball Records founder Ron Levy
was home in Chicago visiting family at Christmas, and hadn't brought any of his guitars or other equipment with him. Levy
wanted something based in traditional electric blues, with a few bones for newer fans of the idiom who had jumped on the blues bandwagon after 1990. Bernard
released his stunning U.S. debut, Keepin' the Blues Alive
, in early 1997, receiving a great deal of critical acclaim. On his successful tour of clubs around the U.S. in the latter half of 1997, Bernard
was joined by drummer Ray "Killer" Allison
(no relation) and Buddy Guy
bassist Greg Rzab
, among others. Times Are Changing
followed a year later. In mid-2000, Across the Water
was released. Based in Paris full-time, Bernard Allison
has the comfort and security that the multitude of blues clubs and festivals around Europe can provide.