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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Delmark Records artist: Tail Dragger - Live at Rooster's Lounge

The concert begins with Wolf's Louise and Dragger and the band are tearing it up. This is an authentic Chicago blues club with an authentic Chicago blues band playing! Louise shows great guitar solos by Rockin' Johnny Burgin and Kevin Shanahan as well as well as great harp work by Martin Lang. Next up is Big Joe Williams's Baby Please Don't Go. Dragger works the crowd as the band stays tight. Shanahan plays a cool older looking worn red 335 and Johnny what looks to be a tobacco burst Epi Emperor. Johnny plays particularly articulate licks and Lang's harp riffs are right on target. The video and sound quality is strong and you can almost smell the inside of this club (if you've ever been in a club like this). There's a dart board behind the drummer and stains on the ceiling tiles. The walls have the 4x8 luan mahogany paneling that was popular in the 60's running both horizontal and vertical. The walls are painted red elsewhere and you can see the inside of the toilet from the stage. This is the real deal. She's Worryin' Me, a Dragger original, finds Dragger crawlin on the floor and some nice raw slide riffs from Shanahan. Johnny takes a nice soulful solo and pulls some particularly cool vibrato bends out of his bag of guitar tricks. Stop Lying, another Dragger original, gives Lang the opportunity to lay down some nice harp riffs and Shanahan again some cool slide riffs. The entire band including Todd Fackler on Bass and Rob Lorenz on drums are tight. Keep It To Yourself, an old Sonny Boy Williamson tune, puts Dragger right in the crowd and gives Lang the opportunity to shine again. Johnny squeezes out some fluid runs that are brief but tasty. Be Careful, another Dragger original, gives the band another opportunity to play a slow number and again Shanahan steps up with some beefy playing. His style isn't scorching fast... it's deep and telling. I love his use of trem bends in contrast to Johnny's articulate blues run solos. Wander, another Dragger original, finds Jimmy Dawkins replacing Shanahan onstage. On Bought Me A New Home, another Dragger original, Johnny takes an extended solo and so does Shanahan. The style difference between these two men parallel Bloomfield and Bishop in Butterfield's band of a few decades ago. Each has his unique style and they are complimentary to each other behind a traditional Chicago blues band. Ooh Baby Hold Me, an old Wolf song, finds the crowd dancing and Dragger charming the women. John Lee Hooker's I'm In The Mood is next up and Johnny pulls out some old Hooker riffs on his guitar. Dragger even changes the timing on the song a few times as Hooker was know to do often when not overproduced. I like the authentic feel of this song in particular especially in Dragger and Johnny's presentations. Everything Gonna Be Alright, a Little Walter tune, is next up. Johnny uses a trill stroke to play the basic melody throughout and it gives the song a real great feel. Last Up Is Little Walter's Blues With A Feeling. Lang gets his harp talking right off of the bat. Dragger shows some of his best vocals on this last song and the band is tight.
There is also some story telling by Dragger as a bonus track which gives you some insight into his life and history.
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