Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Sep 1st 2009 11:30AM by John D. Luerssen
According to the Chicago Tribune, Fortune -- better known as the 'Fortune Tellin' Man' -- was performing at Gene's Playmate Lounge when he passed out. Club owner Eugene Payton called paramedics, but he ultimately succumbed to coronary atherosclerosis, according to a spokesman from the Cook County medical examiner's office.
More than a performance, it was "a social gathering of old friends," Payton told the paper. "He was performing and having a good time. I think maybe he got too excited because all of his old friends were there." It was the first time Fortune, a Mississippi native who migrated to Chicago's West Side in 1952, played at Payton's venue.
Guitarist Dave Specter -- who wrote and recorded the 1993 album 'Fortune Tellin Man' with Fortune -- called him "one of the great Chicago blues singers. He had an amazingly powerful voice, kind of in the style of early B.B. King. He had so much presence he almost didn't need a microphone."
Fortune was jaded by the music industry according to colleagues because he hadn't made any money off of "Too Many Cooks", a song later covered by Robert Cray. The bluesman made his living running a barber shop on South Pulaski Road in the city. He once turned down an offer to perform in Europe because he didn't want to disappoint his shop's customers.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.