Legends of Chicago Blues

Chicago blues guitarist Jimmy ‘Fast Fingers’ Dawkins dead at 76

Fast Fingers on Delmark Records is a Classic Chicago Blues Album

Fast Fingers on Delmark Records is a Classic Chicago Blues Album

The blues world lost another superstar on April 10th, 2013 when Jimmy Dawkins passed away at the age of 76. A few obituary links and a video are included below. Jimmy Dawkins was a monster guitar player who helped define the West Side sound along with other greats like Magic Sam and Otis Rush.

Read the Obituary From the Chicago Sun Times Here

Read the Obituary From the Huffington Post Here

From Vern’s Lounge – Chicago 2005. Jimmy Dawkins on guitar along with Lurrie Bell (guitar), Tail Dragger (Vocals), Billy Branch (Harmonica), Bob Stroger (Bass), and Kenny Smith (drums)

Son Seals – On My Knees (from 80’s TV Show)

Longtime TCBX fans and even casual listeners know how much we truly loved Son Seals. The Bad Axe was a true bluesman and Cornbread and I spent countless incredible nights at clubs around Chicagoland and the Burbs watching Son and his band tear it up. Son almost always featured multiple horn players in his bands during that time period and it was great. Personally I would love to see more blues bands use horns today but unfortunately the economics of leading a band doesn’t always allow for those luxuries. Son was the complete package though, he grew up living behind his father’s Juke Joint and was exposed to all kinds of blues and musicians at an early age. I came across this video today from an 80’s era TV show and enjoyed it because it featured Son in a more traditional blues band setup without the horns. I know Snapper Mitchum is the bass player in this video but like the poster I am not sure of the other members. Can any blues fans name them?

Over the years we have had a chance to do many recordings with Son Seals and did dozens of interviews with him including one memorable remote broadcast where Son decided to stop by and sit in with us for most of the show spinning blues and telling stories. We’ll get some of those interviews up on the site soon but for now enjoy this look back at a Titan of Chicago Blues and one of my own personal favorites…the legendary Bad Axe….Son Seals.

Freddie King live in Europe 1973-74

I still remember the first time I stumbled on a live version of Freddie King’s classic Goin’ Down….it was a late night and I was doing a 6 month stint in Telluride, CO and broadcasting TCBX on KOTO FM. I was previewing some tracks from an album and when he kicked into Goin’ Down it was like my jaw hit the floor. The stinging guitar, the emotion he puts into it, the intensity….it’s all there. Needless to say I played the track on the air almost immediately and from then on I started listening to all the Freddie King I could find. He was an incredible performer and a guy that left this world too soon like so many of the other blues greats.

I found this video of Freddie and thought it was a nice look at him and offered the rare chance to see a whole performance. Imagine what it must have been like sitting there in those front row tables enjoying dinner and a cocktail or 7 while Freddie King tore it up 10 feet away. Wow! If you had a chance to see Freddie King live feel free to share your stories. If you haven’t heard him before he is absolutely required listening when it comes to the blues.


Howlin’ Wolf – Legend of Chicago Blues

Born Chester Burnett he performed under the name Howlin’ Wolf and for many he defined the sound of Classic Postwar Chicago Blues. Along with Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Little Walter among others the Wolf helped lead the charge and brought blues to the forefront of music. Personally, from the second I heard Howlin’ Wolf sing his first lyric I was hooked….instantaneously and for life. So many great songs and legendary stories about his live performances. I like this video because it captures his sense of humor and shows him having fun with the camera and the viewers. Vintage stuff from a true titan of Chicago Blues History. To learn more about Howlin’ Wolf and his life story you can visit the official website here

Would love to see some Howlin’ Wolf stories posted in the comments if anyone has anything they would like to share.