Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore – Longtime Friends in the Blues
The emotion, power and intensity of pure and heartfelt Chicago blues are the elements of Longtime Friends in the Blues featuring vocalist Tail Dragger (aka James Y. Jones) and harmonica player Bob Corritore.
The two bluesmen met in early-1976 on Chicago’s west side when they performed at a tribute to Howlin’ Wolf on the day after he’d passed on. Emotion and energy levels must’ve been very high that evening, and Jones and Corritore began a lifetime of friendship and collaboration.
Tail Dragger got his nickname by occasionally being late to gigs in the 1960s, and he embarked on a career as a full-time “lowdown blues” solo artist in the early 1970s. Bob Corritore’s life was changed in 1968 when he first heard Muddy Waters. He lives the blues in various professional capacities as musician, band leader, club owner, radio show host, and general all-round blues advocate and impresario (producing this and several other albums).
The full group of friends clearly understands the gruff, gritty, Delta-fashioned style of Howlin’ Wolf. For that, we acknowledge and thank Henry Gray (piano), Kirk Fletcher (guitar), Chris James (guitar), Patrick Rynn (bass), and Brian Fahey drums). They keep their playing straight ahead in the pile-driving style of the genre, without too much technical flash. Gray also provides some vocals on “Sugar Mama,” as well as some comments on “Boogie Woogie Ball” and “Please Mr. Jailer,” both excellent showcases for his masterful work on piano.
With the exception of John Lee Williamson’s “Sugar Mama,” all the songs were written by Tail Dragger, whose lyrics offer insight, revelation and modest advice. Blues acolytes will definitely rejoice in grooves produced by this potent teaming of Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore. While they may not have created songs as definitive as Wolf’s “Moanin’ at Midnight” and “Evil,” these guys have fashioned an album that has both musical personality and spiritual underpinnings. (Joe Ross, CD Insight)