Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The Tail Dragger, with Txapela at Hondarribia Blues Festival
James Yancy Jones, known as The Tail Dragger, is a long-time disciple of Howlin' Wolf; in fact, the Wolf gave James the moniker "Tail Dragger" emanating from one of the Wolf's now-classic songs.
The Tail Dragger followed Wolf from club- to-club, watching and getting pointers from the larger-then-life Howlin' Wolf for more than 20 years. The Wolf allowed "The Dragger" to perform his blues while Wolf took a break on weekend shows. Soon "The Dragger" was playing his own numerous club dates on the West and South Sides of Chicago.
Tail Dragger is from Altheimer, Arkansas and during his formative years he saw Sonny Boy Williamson and Boyd Gilmore perform at house parties and country suppers. Dragger soon heard the records of Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters and Elmore James and his musical tastes were set in stone.
Tail Dragger remains intensely loyal to his early influences. The Tail Dragger, by his own admission, sings only lowdown blues. "Lowdown blues is all I like...All I feel...and I sing what I feel," flatly states The Dragger. "Its's like I get into a trance when I sing the blues, I forget about everything else. Nothing else matters," concludes The Tail Dragger.