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Tail Dragger is a true, dramatic showman who possesses one of the most authentic and distinct Chicago Blues voices anyone will ever hear. While he's influenced vocally by Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, and most directly by Howlin Wolf, much of his material is refreshingly original. Refusing to let anyone in the audience miss his point, he sets up his songs with real-life anecdotes, often hilarious, before illustrating his point with a song. When he sings, he can be tragic or humorous, but you can't ignore him as he transports audiences to the cotton fields of his youth and the rough Chicago ghetto clubs he still performs in today. Born in Altheimer,
Arkansas in 1940, Tail Dragger came to Chicago in the mid-sixties where he supported himself as a mechanic and fell under the spell of all the great blues artists but most particularly, Howlin Wolf. The Wolf let him sit in, taught him how to sing in time with the rhythm, and gave him the name Tail Dragger because he would come in late. He had been called "Crawlin‚ James" as, ever the extravagant showman, he would crawl on the floor like the Wolf did. By the early seventies,
Tail Dragger was performing under his own name six nights a week on the West Side of Chicago, and would feature blues heavyweights in his band such as Eddie Taylor, Hubert Sumlin, Johnny Littlejohn, Carey Bell, and Big Leon Brooks. The shows were for small, local black audiences and didn't make much money, but his charismatic stage presence along with his stubbornly traditional brand of blues (squarely against the dominant r & b sounds of the day) brought him overseas recognition. By the early to mid eighties he was traveling to Europe often to be featured with Vienna's Mojo Blues Band.
He also recorded a single for Jimmy Dawkins' Leric Music label and was featured on "Chicago Blues Party," released on Austria's Wolf records. In 1996, Tail Dragger recorded his first full length CD under his own name, "Crawlin Kingsnake" for St. George records. He returned to Europe after a long absence to steal the show at the 1997 Utrecht Blues Festival. For over a decade, Tail Dragger had a strong association with phenomenal guitarist Rockin Johnny. He was a guest vocalist with the Rockin Johnny Band on their 1997 Delmark CD, "Straight Out of Chicago." He followed this with "American People," recorded for Delmark in 1998. Tail Dragger toured Europe again in 1999 with the Rockin Johnny Band, and they also tore up the 2001 San Francisco Blues Festival. He's also attracted attention from unusual quarters for a bluesman: he starred in the independent movie "Two Rivers" and was the subject of a 1999 article in The New Republic. The one and only Tail Dragger recently released a highly acclaimed DVD and CD on Delmark in 2005 called "My Head Is Bald - Live at Vern's Friendly Lounge" with an All Star Chicago Blues band of Lurrie Bell, Jimmy Dawkins, and Billy Branch, winning the Living Blues DVD of the year award. This recording truly captured the Tail Dragger experience - raw and gritty Chicago West Side "ghetto" blues at its deepest that transports you back to the golden age of 50's/60's Chicago Blues. A new Tail Dragger DVD and CD is coming this November featuring the cult blues guitar heroes, veteran Jimmy Dawkins and "young" veteran, Rockin' Johnny!
Read more: http://www.myspace.com/taildraggercrawlinjames#ixzz13oNCwIyq