Tail Dragger Live At Rooster's Lounge CD & DVD Review - by J. Blake

Posted on 2/02/2010 by J. Blake

(New York, NY)

For many blues fans living outside of the Mecca of electric blues (Chicago), the name James Yancey Jones (a.k.a Tail Dragger) may not be widely known…but it should be! The 69 year-old Arkansas native relocated to Chicago, in 1966 in an effort to become a professional bluesman. Though his career in music may not have taken off as quickly as he had hoped, Jones’ lucky break came when he met his idol Howlin’ Wolf and was permitted to sit in with the blues giant during live performances.

It was Howlin’ Wolf that gave the young blues apprentice the nickname ‘Tail Dragger’; due to his tendency to show up late to gigs. Of Jones, Wolf said “One day this boy will take my place” and for obvious reasons, among the (now) aging Chicago-bluesman’s many influences (Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Sonny Boy Willimason, etc.), it is The Wolf’s spirit that shines through the brightest when Tail Dragger performs.

In 2009 Tail Dragger took the stage at the Rooster Lounge in Chicago and wowed the venue’s capacity crowd with a night of completely authentic Chicago-style electric blues. Fortunately for blues fans, the fruits of that night’s labors were well documented and have found their way on to both CD and DVD.

Thankfully the bluesman’s style takes an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. In an era of endless Stevie Ray Vaughan imitators, a CD (and DVD) packed with unabashedly Chess-influenced electric blues, is both welcome and refreshing. The term “groundbreaking” may not get used often when reviewing blues music and it certainly does not apply here either, but Tail Dragger’s LIVE AT ROOSTER’S LOUNGE proves that one does not need to reinvent the wheel to deliver 68 minutes of sizzling blues and entertaining anecdotes.

2009 was full of blues albums that were striving for authenticity. There were artists tackling Stax-style “Memphis soul” and others dishing out blues of the delta/folk variety, but no CD of 2009 nailed the Chicago sound like Tail Dragger’s LIVE AT ROOSTER’S LOUNGE. The man simply is Chicago blues! It is not a sound he is shooting for. Whether he’s growling out the lyrics of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Ooh Baby (Hold Me)”, serving up “Baby Please Don’t Go” with a heaping helping of buttery Muddy goodness or performing an original composition; Tail Dragger has Chicago blues pumping through his veins…and there’s no substitute for the real thing.

Check out the LIVE AT ROOSTER'S LOUNGE DVD Trailer:

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Thanks and keep reading American Blues News!!!

Copyright © 2010 - J. Blake. All Rights Reserved

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