Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore – Longtime Friends In the Blues

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Bman’s Blues Report (March 5, 2012)

I just had the opportunity to review the new recording by Bob Corritore and Tail Dragger. Longtime Friends In The Blues will be formally released on March 20, 2012. Tail Dragger wrote 9 of the ten tracks included on this Chicago Blues infused release. The band is made up of numerous veteran artists. In addition to Tail Dragger on vocals and of course Corritore on harp, Henry Gray plays Piano, Kirk Fletcher and Chris James play guitar, Patrick Rynn plays bass and Brian Fahey plays drums. The recording begins with I’m Worried and Tail Dragger takes no time in demonstrating his trademark vocals and his Howlin’ Wold influence. Sugar Mama finds Tail Dragger and Henry Gray trading off on vocals. This track shows some particularly cool guitar riffs and of course always Corritore staying tight with his harp. Birthday Blues is a great uptempo blues with strong soloing by Corritore. She’s Worryin’ Me is a great tune with Corritore winding his harp up a little and great understated guitar work under the mix. Cold Outdoors is another solid track with some strong piano work by Gray and of course solid vocals by Tail Dragger and some great harp voicing from Corritore. So Ezee is a cool driving blues and possibly the best track on the release. The tempo is just solid and Corritore is right on the back of Tail Dragger blowin his harp and the guitars kick in some really great riffs. Through With You is the first slow blues on the release and is very effective in grabbing the sound. All of the instrumentalists get a chance to show their stuff and Dragger leads the way. Done Got Old picks the tempo back up and gets the groove going really well. This is real Chicago! Boogie Woogie Ball, another of my favorites, gives Gray a chance to take the lead and he doesn’t hold back. He does a great job on hammering out a great boogie on the keys and leaves space for some nice guitar soloing as well as the rest of the band to strut their stuff. Please Mr. Jailer, another slow blues track finds Tail Dragger beggin the jailer to have mercy on his girl. This is another strong track and another where Corritore blows some great licks. You like Chicago blues? This is the place!

As a side note Corritore and Tail Dragger first met at a Howlin’ Wolf tribute in Chicago the day after Wolf died back in 1976. Gray performed and recorded with Wolf for 12 years.

– Bman


Community Voices of the Pittsburgh Gazette (March 14, 2012)

I believe that some of you probably have gone way too long without some good, old-fashioned, down and dirty, real-deal Chicago-style blues. I really do believe that.

But in order to give you some, BlueNotes has to jump the realease date on one of the best traditional blues CDs we’re heard in along time. I don’t usually write about a CD before it’s released. Partly because I don’t like to break those release dates, and partly because BlueNotes always seems to be running a few days behind himself. But here goes.

“Longtime Friends in the Blues” (Delta Groove Music) will be released next Tuesday, March 20.

It features Tail Dragger (if that name wasn’t taken, it could be BlueNotes’ middle name) on all the low-down vocals, with help from veteran piano-man Henry Gray on one track. It features Gray on piano all the way through. And it features the greasy harp work of Bob Corritore, who manages to keep that down-home attitude all the way out in Phoenix, Ariz.

The big deal here is the vocal work of Mr. Dragger (given his nickname when he was learning the blues ropes from Howlin’ Wolf), or James Yancey Jones, a name that’s almost as good. He loves the grease and grit, and is a master of the songful slow burn. Catch any of the tracks for a good example — “I’m Worried,” “Sugar Mama,” “Birthday Blues,” and more.

The rest of the band — Kirk Fletcher and Chris James, guitars; Patrick Rynn, bass; and Brian Fahey,  drums — simmer nicely underneath it all, as piano, harp and vocals work their mojo on some fine, basic blues.

This music is the meat and bones of traditional Chicago blues. If you need a fix, here’s a good supply. Don’t forget to inhale.

– Jim White


News Review (March 8, 2012)

Not many people can channel the soul and sound of Howlin’ Wolf, though many have tried. Mick Jagger did it very convincingly when he sang Wolf’s “Commit a Crime” for Barack Obama at that recent blues-night shindig at the White House, and James Yancy Jones (aka Tail Dragger) brings the Wolf back with just as much conviction on this collection of songs, ably supported by Bob Corritore on harp and the estimable Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitars. But don’t take my word for it; Howlin’ Wolf once said it himself, saying of a young Mr. Jones, “One day this boy will take my place.” He’s no longer a boy, and that only makes him sound more like Wolf, all rough, raspy and raunchy as a roadhouse jukebox Saturday night. When these guys cut loose on “I’m Worried,” it’s like time travel. And when Tail Dragger sings “Done Got Old,” he speaks to and for a lot of us old blues fans. But, though we may creak when we rock, and ache when we roll, we can still move to a cut like “Boogie Woogie Ball,” a number that just might get the Wolf to howlin’ from his grave.

– Jaime O’Neill


Propermusic (March 2012)

Legendary Chicago blues vocalist Tail Dragger combines forces with Arizona’s very own blues ambassador and harmonica extraordinaire Bob Corritore to deliver a heartfelt album of pure, unadulterated, low down and dirty Chicago Blues. Featured performers include piano legend Henry Gray, guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Chris James, along with a rhythm section consisting of bassist Patrick Rynn and drummer Brian Fahey. Corritore’s previous release Harmonica Blues on Delta Groove won the 2011 Blues Music Award for Best Historical Album of the Year.


Regator (March 12, 2012)

Chicago blues performer, Tail Dragger has a new release in collaboration with Bob Corritore on Delta Groove, Longtime Friends In The Blues. Tail Dragger has built a career on his Howlin’ Wolf inspired style while Corritore is not only a fine harmonica player, but also a terrific producer of classic Chicago styled blues recordings. Corritore and Tail Dragger met the day after Wolf passed in 1976 at a tribute to Wolf and became friends, hence the album title. Corritore has assembled a terrific band here that includes former Howlin’ Wolf pianist Henry Gray, guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Chris James with patrick Rynn on bass and Brian Fahey to help evoke the spirit of the great Wolf.

Tail Dragger certainly does a credible job in suggesting the music of the legendary Wolf and the solid band provides performances firmly in Wolf’s style. The guitarists Fletcher and James certainly along with pianist Gray, Corritore’s harp embellishments and the rock solid rhythm provide of pastiche of Wolf’s recordings . The sound of Wolf is evoked from the opening moments of I’m Worried and Sugar Mama (the latter includes Gray sharing the vocal); through the relentless Through With You; the driving shuffle of Done Got Old; the rollicking Boogie Woogie Ball that spotlight’s Gray two-fisted piano; and the closing Please Mr. Jailer, where Tail Dragger pleads to the judge let his woman go free when she is accused of murder but she wouldn’t hurt a flea. Tail Dragger is not quite as powerful a singer as Wolf was, and his diction is a bit slurred, but like his prior recordings on Delmark, has provided us with solid and idiomatic recordings backed by a thoroughly idiomatic and sympathetic backing band. There are mostly originals in a Wolf vein that are nicely performed. This certainly will appeal to fans of Tail Dragger as well as lovers of traditionally oriented Chicago blues.

 – Ron W


Blues Underground Network (March 2012)

Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore’s first meeting was on January 11, 1976, which took place at the 1815 Club in Chicago. They both performed that night as part of a tribute to the Legendary Howlin’ Wolf, whom had passed away the day before. That meeting forged, from that day on, both a lifetime friendship and a great musical collaboration.

 Bob Corritore has been “a lifelong advocate of the blues who continues to play an active role in promoting the music by helping it flourish into the 21st century through his many endeavors“. Of his critically acclaimed hailed release, “Harmonica Blues”, I wrote, “Their are Blues Albums out their that are absolutely essential to have in one’s collection, and Bob Corritore And Friends “Harmonica Blues” is certainly one of them“. Bob is a Club Owner, Record Producer, Band Leader, and Radio Host, and with each year that passes, his ascent to Legendary status becomes that much shorter.

 The fact that Tail Dragger, who’s real name is James Yancy Jones, was at Howlin’ Wolf’s Tribute, should come as no surprise, as for more than 20 years he followed Wolf from club to club, watching and getting pointers from the larger-then-life Legend. Besides letting Tail Dragger perform his blues in between sets on the weekends, Howlin Wolf also gave Tail Dragger his moniker, which was due to “his reputation of showing up late for gigs“. Many still feel that Tail Dragger’s delivery is quite reminiscent of Howlin’ Wolf, something that is abundantly clear after only listening to his and Bob Corritore’s new release “Longtime Friends In The Blues”, for just a few seconds. In fact Howlin’ Wolf once said “One day this boy (Tail Dragger) will take my place .”

In addition to Tail Dragger (Vocals) & Bob Corritore (Harmonica), “Longtime Friends In The Blues” features Kirk Fletcher (Guitar), Chris James (Guitar), Patrick Rynn (Bass), Brian Fahey (Drums) and Henry Gray (Piano/Vocals on Track 2/Comments on Track 9 & 10).  “In 1956, Howlin’ Wolf asked Henry to join his band. Henry did and remained Wolf’s main piano player until 1968 .”

Howlin’ Wolf’s influence becomes apparent on “Longtime Friends In The Blues”, after only a few short seconds into the album, as Tail Dragger blasts out the words, “I’m Worried, Babe I’m Worried About You”. From that moment on the band jumps in and takes us for one heck of a great Chicago Style Blues ride.

 Track 2 is the John Lee Williamson (Sonny Boy Williamson) cover ‘Sugar Mama’ which is introduced via Bob Corritore on Harmonica, of which he wails on throughout this great interpretation. Henry Gray steps in with Vocals on this Track, as Tail Dragger and him share lyrics and although it was still early in the Album, I had a feeling this was going to be one of my favorites.

Another early favorite was Track 3 ‘Birthday Blues’, which was one of a half dozen Tracks of the up tempo nature. This was a great Track with everyone noticeable giving their all.

Track 6 ‘So Ezee’, is exactly that, So Ezee to listen to. Lots of Corritore once again driving thru this one on his Harp, along with great Guitar work from James and Fletcher, as Henry pounded away on the Piano. A great Track indeed.

 Speaking of pounding the Piano, Henry Gray, takes center stage and goes all Boogie Woogie Blues on the keys on Track 9 ‘Boogie Woogie Ball’ and certainly shows us that even at the young age of 87, he is still second to none with performers half his age.

 “Longtime Friends In The Blues” finishes off with the longest Track on the album, ‘Please Mr. Jailer’, a song that has Tail Dragger begging the jailer to please have mercy on his girl. Another great performance by all especially Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore and a nice song to end “Longtime Friends In The Blues”.

 “Longtime Friends In The Blues” is yet another rock solid Chicago Style Blues Album, but really, when you consider who was involved on this one, it could not have come out any other way. Great Vocal work from Tail Dragger, second to none Harp from Bob Corritore, plus the outstanding performances from Henry, Kirk, Chris, Patrick, and Brian, make “Longtime Friends In The Blues” a real winner.

 Lots of great stuff on this one…

– John Vermilyea


La Maza Blues (Argentina) (March 19, 2012)

Se Viene el disco de Taildragger Y Bob Corritore, acompañado por musicos de gran nivel, produccion de Delta Groove music, verdadero Blues de Chicago de la mano de un superviviente de la era dorada y por un exquisito armonicista, amante y conocedor del blues.

– Paul Pineiro


Star Blues (March 19, 2012)

Bob Corritore is a master harp player. His new project hooks him up with Tail Dragger for top-notch blues playing all round. They first met on 11th Jan 1976, the day after Howlin’ Wolf died – a connection kept alive here by Henry Gray who played piano for the Wolf and does sterling stuff here too.

– Gary Blue


Keys and Chords (The Netherlands) (March 18, 2012)

Op 11 januari 1976 ontmoetten James Yance Jones aka Tail Dragger voor het eerst Bob Corritore in de 1815 Club in de West Side van Chicago. Het duo speelde een eerbetoon aan de Howlin’ Wolf, die een dag eerder het tijdelijke voor het eeuwige inruilde. Dat was het symbolisch begin van een lange vriendschap en uiteraard een eindeloze muzikale collaboratie. Nu heeft Chicago performer Tail Dragger in samenwerking met Bob Corritore een nieuw album op het label Delta Groove Records. Tail Dragger is geïnspireerd door de stijl die Howlin’ Wolf ooit zo kenmerkte. En dat is gepassioneerde blues. Tail Dragger’s ruw en zanderig stemgeluid verweeft zich perfect in de vette harmonica sound van Bob Corritore. De ouderwetse ‘down and dirty’ Chicago sound herleeft. Producer Bob Corritore slaagde er weer in om een schitterende set-up in de studio te laten plaatsnemen. De geweldige backing van voormalige Wolf pianist Henry Gray, de gitaristen Kirk Fletcher en Chris James, de baslijnen van Patrick Rynn en Paladins drummer Brian Fahey roepen onvermijdelijk de sfeer van Wolf in het leven. Veteraan Gray komt zelfs vocaal ‘Sugar Mama’ vertolken. De drijvende shuffle van het raspende ‘Done Got Old’ en het onstuimige feestje in ‘Boogie Woogie Ball’, zijn eindeloze hoogtepunten. In ‘Please Mr. Jailer’ smeekt Tail Dragger de rechter om zijn vrouw vrij te pleiten na een beschuldiging van moord. Waar hebben wij dit nog gehoord, Mr. Jones? Van de tien tracks is dus enkel ‘Sugar Mama’ -een classic van John Lee Williamson- niet van Tail Dragger’s hand. Niemand kan Howlin’ Wolf zo close benaderden als Tail Dragger. Schitterend schijfje dat nu al hoog in mijn persoonlijke top 10 van 2012 zal prijken.

– Philip Verhaege


ABS Magazine (France) (2012)

Ce disque qui paraîtra début 2012 mérite déjà toute notre attention. Bob Corritore, l’harmoniciste, dee-jay, producteur et patron de club, a rencontré pour la première fois le chanteur James Y. Jones (aka Tail Dragger) le 11 janvier 1976 au Club 1815 dans le west side de Chicago lors d’un tribute to Howlin’ Wolf qui était décédé la veille. Ce fut le début d’une réelle amitié entre les deux hommes. Dès qu’ils le peuvent, ils se retrouvent pour jouer, comme quasi chaque année au Rhythm’ Room, le club de Bob à Phoenix, Arizona. « Chaque rencontre est l’occasion de bonnes parties de rires et de musique, nous confiait Bob lors du dernier Lucerne blues festival qui offrait d’ailleurs un avant-goût de ce superbe compact 100% blues où les deux principaux protagonistes y sont accompagnés par la légende du piano blues Henry Gray (qui chante aussi), le guitariste Kirk Fletcher, l’excellent tandem Chris James (guitare) – Patrick Rynn (basse), ainsi que Bryan Fahey aux drums. Dix titres de blues majoritairement Chicago, profonds, intenses, marqués par la voix si particulière de Tail Dragger qui, dès le morceau d’introduction I’m Worried, laisse plâner l’ombre du Wolf. Mais qu’on ne s’y trompe pas, il ne s’agit pas de reprendre des standards, ici beaucoup de nouveau matériel, et neuf titres sont écrits par Tail Dragger, le dixième (Sugar Mama) étant de John Lee Williamson. Un son « raw » à souhait, un blues à ras de terre qui transpire l’âme de la Windy City. Un enregistrement comme on n’en a pas entendu depuis fort longtemps. Attention, soyez vigilents car ce compact a bénéficié d’un faible tirage…

 – Marcel Bénédit


Nashville Blues Society (March 20, 2012)

James Yancy Jones was born in Altheimer, AR, and relocated to Chicago in the Sixties, going to work for Howlin’ Wolf. It was the Wolf who penned him with his nickname, as James was often late for gigs. Harmonica master Bob Corritore is more recently known as a club owner, producer, and radio host in Phoenix, who won a Blues Award for Historical Album of the Year in 2011 for the phenomenal “Harmonica Blues.’ He spent much of his youth in Chicago, absorbing the blues knowledge that would serve him throughout his career. And, on January 11, 1976, Tail Dragger met a young Bob at the 1815 Club on Chicago’s West Side for a tribute to Wolf, who had passed the day before. That began their thirty-five-plus year friendship, and led to the release of their latest CD for Delta Groove, “Longtime Friends In The Blues.”

Fans, these ten cuts are what it’s all about–raw, powerful, gutbucket, rough-and-tumble Chicago blues from two men who have lived and loved the blues their entire lives. And, they are backed by Henry Gray, another Howlin’ Wolf alum, on piano, Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass, and Brian Fahey on drums. Check out their take on “Sugar Mama,’ which features Henry Gray on additional vocals. The sly tale of a young lady that’s a little TOO young is the underaged heroine of one of Tail Dragger’s original tunes, “Birthday Blues.” “Cold Outdoors” has Tail Dragger singing over a loping, Jimmy Reed-ish beat, and the set closes with his slow blues plea to “Mr. Jailer” to let his woman go free! Everyone gets into the act on this priceless shot of deep Chicago blues.

We had two favorites, too. Alas, Tail Dragger admits he’s “Done Got Old,” and can’t keep up any more with a woman “way too fast for me!” And, “So Ezee” is a message to everyone, young and old, to ‘use your head for something besides a hat rack!’

This album was a tremendously fun listen. It has that rare “live” feel to it, making you wish you could’ve been in the studio when it was going down. Tail Dragger is a master showman and storyteller, and Bob Corritore’s harp playing is as sharp as ever. If you are a fan of authentic Chicago blues, then let these “Longtime Friends In The Blues’ cure your ills!!

Until next time…..Sheryl and Don Crow.


Blinded By Sound (March 26, 2012)

Stephen King has a short story called “I’ve Been To Rock & Roll Heaven (And You Know They’ve Got a Helluva Band).” It’s a fun story and one of the first things I thought about when I held Longtime Friends In The Blues in my hands.

Take the unmistakable, inimitable voice of Tail Dragger and pair him with one of the blue’s premier harp stylists in Bob Corritore and then assemble a crack bank like Chris James and Kirk Fletcher on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass, Brian Fahey on drums, and the great Henry Gray on piano and vocal for a few cuts and ask yourself: is that any good? You bet your ass it is.

It got me to thinking just a little about the polarizing Howlin’ Wolf London Sessions and how some young British rock royalty tried finding common ground with a hero they revered. The experiment didn’t exactly fail nor did it really succeed. There seemed to be an earnest desire to do something special but the execution wasn’t there and the spirit got lost in translation.

Nothing gets lost on Longtime Friends In The Blues because Corritore and the rest of the superb backing band have a deep, instinctive knowledge of how this music is supposed to be played and they execute that knowledge brilliantly throughout, allowing Tail Dragger to sing the only way he knows how and the music is rich and deep. It also helps nine of the disc’s 10 songs are Tail Dragger originals (John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson’s “Sugar Mama” rounds things out).

Dragger and Corritore are co-frontmen on this album with Corritore answering Dragger’s vocals with harp fills and solos aplenty. It’s an appealing recipe and the results are tasty as both are in top form throughout. Dragger’s voice is as rough, sharp, and raw as ever. Corritore plays a lot but never overplays, fitting those phrases in the right spaces. A little more seasoning from the twin guitar aces James and Fletcher would’ve spiced things up but they’re heard from, too. James gets to fire off a scorching solo on “So Ezee,” part of what makes that track an album highlight. He and Fletcher sneak a few fills on “Done Got Old” and “Through With You,” and their interplay throughout bonds with the rhythm foundation built by Rynn and Fahey.

There’s only one Tail Dragger and he is well-served by a group of friends and musicians who know it, get it, and do it right, and listeners will reap those rewards over and over.

– Josh Hathaway


The Americana Music Journal (March 18, 2012)

The emotion, power and intensity of pure and heartfelt Chicago blues are the elements of Long Time 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


Blues Magazine (Netherlands) (April 18, 2012)

Van sommige dingen kan ik echt heel erg blij worden vrienden, en het volgende is daar weer een voorbeeld van dus. James Yancy Jones alias The Tail Dragger is weer terug.

Hij geldt als een van de monumenten uit de Chicago Blues denk ik, en doet tijden van Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters enz. herleven bij optredens maar is vooral zichzelf, altijd heftig maar ook charmant. Tail Dragger heeft ook allemaal met ze gespeeld vooral en is dus al heel lang bezig in de muziek zoals U begrijpen zult. Ondanks dat hij trouw blijft aan de stijl van vroeger, is hij nog steeds een zeer hot item in de live optredens kan ik U melden, want deze man zet echt een geweldige show neer altijd, ondanks zijn hoge leeftijd al. Hij heeft ook al heel wat optredens in ons land gedaan, soms geregeld door mensen als Robbert Fossen en Hein Meyer, maar altijd lovend ontvangen. Het is nu weer een tijdje geleden dat hij geweest is, maar daar gaat ongetwijfeld verandering in komen snel, want zie hier is zijn nieuwe album, en hij heeft er al heel wat op zijn naam staan kan ik U melden.

Zijn nieuwe album heet LongTime Friends in The Blues met niemand minder dan een andere held uit de Chicago Blues: Mr Bobby Corritore. Deze mannen kennen elkaar al jaren en nu dus samen op een album weer eens. Tail Dragger heeft altijd sowieso goede muzikanten om hem heen kan ik U vertellen, maar deze vrienden gaan wel een eind terug. Maak je borst maar nat voor het beste uit de Chicago Blues.

Tail Dragger- Vocals
Bob Corritore Bluesharp
Henry Gray- Piano- vocals
Kirk Fletcher- guitar
Chris James- Guitar
Patrick Rynn- bass
Brian Fahey- drums

Ja, dat is wel een heel bijzonder rijtje denk ik zomaar, o.m. Gray speelde zelf ook al met Wolf en Waters, een icoon dus. Het album is gloedje nieuw en verschenen bij Delta Groove, de stal voor dit soort dingen.

Op dit nieuwe album een paar covers, maar vooral ook weer nieuwe stukken gepend door de Tail Dragger zelf uiteraard. Ja, 10 nummers gevuld met stampende, zwetende, oppeppende, jankende, en veelzeggende Chicago blues van een torenhoog peil.

I’m Worried opent de rij van muziekjes, en is een Drivin’ blues a la Wolf die er al meteen heerlijk in hakt. Dan Sugar Mamma, van Williamson een slow blues a la top natuurlijk met een zeer enerverende Fletcher.
Birthday Blues is een Chicago shuffle in de beste traditie.

She’s Worry me is een van de langere tracks; een uitstekende slowblues, met een jankende Corritore, een heerlijke track overigens, met die heerlijke Chicago loopjes op de gitaar. So Ezee, is een boodschap voor de oorlog die mensen veroorzaken, en een “peace advice” dus van de meester zelf. Through With You klinkt ook al zo onheilspellend, en is natuurlijk een perfecte slow blues, niet meer en niets minder, maar zo als het ook echt moet. Boogie Woogie Ball, laat de schijf weer swingen als the Hell, en dat zal live niet minder zijn. Het album sluit af met weer een donkere Please Mr Jailer slow blues.

Ja duidelijk verhaal dus, een excellent schijfje dus, hier kan je gewoon niet omheen denk ik, en ik kan niet wachten tot onze vriend weer naar ons land komt, en ik zal zeker vooraan staan weer want die man blijft in de Chicago blues een van de laatste mannen uit deze bijzonder bluesscene. Zulke oudgedienden, en “Heartfelt mannen die dit nog neer zetten met zijn allen, dat getuigt van een hele grote buiging mijnerzijds. Thank You so much all!

– Frank van Engelen


Botanique (France) (April 12, 2012)

C’est le légendaire géant du blues, Howlin’ Wolf, qui a affublé James Yancy Jones du sobriquet de Tail Dragger. Faut dire que Chester Arthur Burnett était son idole. Et que James avait tapé dans l’oreille de cet incontestable pionnier! Jones est aujourd’hui âgé de 72 ans. Il est originaire de l’Arkansas et vit depuis très longtemps à Chicago. Après la disparition de Wolf, son guitariste Hubert Sumlin allait apporter sa collaboration à notre Tail Dragger, un authentique disciple du blues, un adepte du ‘lowdown and dirty blues’, c’est-à-dire le blues basique sans concession. Il a enregistré trois elpees sur le célèbre label chicagolais Delmark : “American people”, “My head is bald” et “Live at Rooster’e Lounge”. Il a aussi joué en compagnie d’autres passionnés comme Jimmy Dawkins, John Littlejohn, le Rockin’ Johnny Band et les talentueux champions du blues autrichien, le Mojo Blues Band.

Bob Corritore est considéré comme un des meilleurs harmonicistes de blues contemporains, un musicien blanc qui dirige un club de blues extrêmement réputé, le Rhythm Room. C’est à Phoenix, en Arizona, où il se produit le plus souvent, flanqué de son Juke Joint Blues Band. Bob est aussi l’organisateur de l’All Star sessions.

L’équipe de Delta Groove a réuni de belles pointures pour entourer notre paire black & white : Chris James et Patrick Rynn, des habitués du Rhyhm Room ainsi que le colosse noir Kirk Fletcher aux cordes. Tail Dragger a une plume prolifique. Il signe neuf des dix plages. Il ne faut guère patienter longtemps pour constater que notre artiste est bien le légataire d’Howlin’ Wolf. Sa voix grave est surpuissante, volontiers ‘louvoyante’. Il libère une force impressionnante tout au long d’“I’m worried”. Il est talonné par Corritore qui distille beaucoup de notes savoureuses dans sa musique à bouche. Une seule reprise : le “Sugar mama” de John Lee ‘Sonny Boy’ Williamson. Un slow blues à ras de terre, efficace et chargé d’émotion. Il y partage le chant avec le vieux pianiste Henry Gray, un autre ancien de la bande à Wolf! “Birthday blues” est sculpté dans du Chicago blues de classe. Tout s’emboîte à merveille. Corritore et Fletcher ne tiennent plus en place. Et ce blues 5 étoiles aussi nuancé que fluide, se répercute également à travers des titres lents, empreints d’une grande sensibilité, comme “She’s worryin’ me” et “Please Mr Jailer”, des plages imprimées sur un tempo bien enlevé tels que “So ezee”, “Done got old” ou encore lors du pur boogie woogie “Boogie woogie bell”. Excellent!

– Jean-Claude Mondo

BluesOnline.pl (Poland) (April 2012)

Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore po raz pierwszy spotkali się w chicagowskim klubie w 1976 roku, gdzie grali koncert upamiętniający zmarłego dzień wcześniej Howlin’ Wolfa. Na krążku Longtime Friends In The Blues nie brakuje odniesień do twórczości tego właśnie bluesmana.

Krążek rozpoczyna “I’m Worried” zaśpiewany przez Taila dokładnie w klimacie starego, dobrego Wolfa. Chicagowskie granie opatrzone pyszną, pulsująca non stop harmonijką Corridore to znakomita zachęta do zagłębienia się w materiał płyty.

“Sugar Mama” nieco zwalnia tempo, tym razem Dragger ma wsparcie oprócz Corritore także w Kirku Fletcherze – gitarzyście zespołu.

Właściwie cała płyta to jeden wielki hołd oddany Chicago i bluesowi, z którego zasłynęło to miasto na północy Stanów Zjednoczonych. W “Birthday Blues” używający raczej tradycyjnego brzmienia harmonijki Corritore ma szansę na zaprezentowanie swoich możliwości, a muzykom towarzyszy na fortepianie Henry Gray, który w latach 50. i 60. muzykował z Howlin’ Wolfem.

A jak cudownie Dragger intonuje “She’s Worryin’ Me”. Gitarzyści klasycznym hammeringiem powtarzają ostinatowe frazy, ale w tej piosence najbardziej liczy się niemal rozdzierający głos wokalisty.

“Cold Outdoors” to następny chicagowski blues, tym razem z bardziej wyeksponowaną partią pianina. Ale oczywiście nie brakuje tu tym razem lekko przesterowanych brzmień harmonijki Corritore. I to on gra solo, w które wsłuchuje się legendarny pianista Wolfa.

“So Ezee” rozpoczyna się świetną inwokacją, a potem wręcz wybucha harmonijka. Sekcja nabija równy rytm znany choćby z takich hitów jak “Sweet Home Chicago”, ale o to przecież chodzi. No i potrafi zatrzymać się w pędzie na jedno skinienie Draggera. Ekstraklasa z jednym z najlepszych harmonijkarzy na pokładzie.

“Through With You” to z kolei wolny blues z miejscem na dramatyczny zaśpiew i mnóstwo podciąganych nut i dwudzięków zagranych przez gitarzystów. Ale bez obawy – Corritore nie odpuszcza nawet na chwilę. I to znów on – razem z pianistą mają za zadanie wypełnić swoją sztuką część instrumentalną piosenki.

“Done Got Old” to mimo tytułu utwór skrzący się niesamowitą bluesową witalnością. Tail z taką pasją wyśpiewuje kolejne frazy, że tylko pozazdrościć gardła. I znów Corritore gra opartą o najlepsze klasyczne wzorce solówkę.

Henry Gray nie tylko gra na pianinie “Boogie Woogie Ball”, ale także zachęca swoim radosnym głosem innych muzyków do zabawy. No i naprawdę daje ognia tłukąc w czarne i białe klawisze. Słychać, że granie boogie daje mu niewysłowioną od lat radość.

Płytę kończy przepyszny, utrzymany w stylu “Little Red Rooster” “Please Mr. Jailer”. jak cudnie Tail Dragger opowiada i jak idealnie sekunduje mu Bob Corritore. Tak – blues potrafi połączyć muzyków z różnych kultur i kontynentów.

Po “Longtime Friends In The Blues” nie należy spodziewać się eksperymentów. To chicagowskie granie najwyższej próby, pełne pasji i witalności. I bez udziwnień. Po prostu – czysty blues. Koniecznie! (5 Stars)

– Rozmiar Czcionki


Elmore Magazine (April 11, 2012)

Since 1976, Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore have been performing the raw intensity of lowdown blues at its sticky, sweaty best. Their album, Longtime Friends In The Blues delivers you straight to a steamy Chicago juke joint in the late ‘50s. It comes as no surprise that the legendary Howlin’ Wolf bestowed James Yancy Jones his name, “Tail Dragger”. Tail Dragger is a spitting image of The Wolf, right down to his rough, down-and-dirty voice. Tail Dragger and Corritore don’t just play. These lowdown blues musicians feel every steamy note of their blues.

In “Through With You,” legendary pianist Henry Gray (who performed with Howlin’ Wolf for twelve years) spills out emotional piano riffs while Corritore bends and curves his harmonica notes. Tail Dragger introduces his track, “So Eeze” with a dialogue, which leads seamlessly into a conversation between Gray’s piano, Corritore’s harmonica, Kirk Fletcher’s and Chris James’s slide guitar riffs, Patrick Rynn’s bass, and Brian Fahey’s drum kit. “Please Mr. Jailer” ends the album with the quintessence of the blues, stinging listeners with Tail Dragger’s every raspy, scratchy plea.

Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore play what they feel: lowdown blues with intense steam and no apologies.

– Jade Bonacolta


Bluebeat Music (March 2012)

Featuring HENRY GRAY, KIRK FLETCHER, CHRIS JAMES & PATRICK RYNN, this set of straight ahead Chicago Blues is raw & intense with standout band support — stellar harmonica & gutteral vocals from the individualistic TAILDRAGGER.

– Charlie Lange


It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (April 23, 2012)

Longtime Friends In The Blues will be formally released on March 20, 2012. Tail Dragger wrote 9 of the ten tracks included on this Chicago Blues infused release. The band is made up of numerous veteran artists. In addition to Tail Dragger on vocals and of course Corritore on harp, Henry Gray plays Piano, Kirk Fletcher and Chris James play guitar, Patrick Rynn plays bass and Brian Fahey plays drums. The recording begins with I’m Worried and Tail Dragger takes no time in demonstrating his trademark vocals and his Howlin’ Wold influence. Sugar Mama finds Tail Dragger and Henry Gray trading off on vocals. This track shows some particularly cool guitar riffs and of course always Corritore staying tight with his harp.

– Zorn


BluesNews.ru (Russia) (April 22, 2012)

Там где убывает черного, пребывает белого. Процесс в последнее десятилетие стал ясным, как ясный день: негры не только покинули аудитории, где звучит блюз, они сдали белым и сам блюз. Престарелые обломки прежней роскоши, типа старика Тейдраггера, ещё тревожат покой всё более стерильной блюзовой среды, ещё хрипят и извиваются в духе великого Вулфа, самим присутствием оживляя сцену.

Колорит самого персонажа делает диск привлекательным: негр поёт, словно время не властно, оно остановилось минуток на 50, пока крутится пластинка и остановилось эдак на годе 1953-м. James Y. Jones (истинное имя 72-летнего старика) поразительно артистичен в пении простого как шарманка деревенского блюза. Он не сдаётся, не уступает годящемуся ему в сыновья Бобу и прочим белым ребятам. – Дело в том, что аккомпанируют белые и в этом победная формула подобных проектов – черная стариковская харизма + техничное «веселье» белых «мальчиков».

Боб – один знаменосцев чикагского стиля. Превосходно тренированный гармонист в данном случае он исповедует простоту ровно настолько насколько того требует задумка – сделать красивую оправу для грубого алмаза-Драгер, причём так, чтобы оправа вышла под стать камню. Боюсь, если бы Драггер сделал бы подобную запись со своими лабухами из прошлых черных составов, едва ли вышло бы так освежающе. «Longtime Friends In The Blues» – «новый чёрно-белый чикагский стиль» высшей пробы.
В 2007 Драггер приезжал в Москву.

P.S. Tail Dragger, вопреки распространенному заблуждению, не «Висящий Хвост», а значит на чёрном сленге «Себе на уме» (заметающий следы хвостом, то есть скрытный. Так его называл Вулф).


BluesBreeker.nl (Netherlands) (March 2012)

We schrijven 11 januari 1976, een dag na de sterfdag van Howlin’ Wolf. In een club in Chicago ontmoetten 2 mannen elkaar, James Yancy Jones was een van hen. Hij trad die avond op als eerbetoon aan zijn meester Howlin’ Wolf die hem ook zijn artiestennaam had bezorgd; Tail Dragger, vernoemd dus naar een van de nummers van de grote Wolfman. De 2de persoon in kwestie was Bob Corritore, die danig onder de indruk was van de performer die Tail Dragger toen al was. Het begin van een samenwerking was geboren, resulterend in weer een nieuwe CD, met de toepasselijke naam “Longtime Frieds in the Blues”

Uitgebracht op het Delta Groove label, dus de bekende namen vliegen weer voorbij. Henry Gray op piano, Kirk Fletcher die samen met Chris James de gitaarpartijen voor zijn rekening neemt. Patrick Rynn op bas en drummer Brian Fahey completeren het illustere gezelschap.

Ik ben niet kaal, ik heb gewoon geen haar meer!

Deze oneliner is misschien wel het kenmerkende van Tail Dragger. Neem het leven zoals het is maar maak er het beste van en geniet. Zijn leven ging niet altijd over rozen , een gevangenisstraf wegens moord, Whiskey, de vrouwtjes en the Blues zijn de hoofdingrediënten van Tail Draggers leven en daar gaan zijn songs ook vaak over. De blues beleven en bezingen, de blues ten voeten uit wat ook tot uiting komt op deze CD waarvan 9 nummers van de hand van Tail Dragger kwamen.

Het moet gezegd, het is een erg goeie CD geworden, hoogtepunten te over. Wie van het gedreven vette mondharmonica werk houdt zit gebakken maar beurteling schitteren ook de overige bandleden.

Fraaie gitaarpartijen, een portie boogie woogie met Henry Gray in topvorm. Dat doet hij ook nog eens op een ander nummer, de enige cover op het schijfje, Sugar Mama, van Sonny Boy Williamson. Hier neemt Gray de zang voor zijn rekening en dit nummer is voor mij het hoogtepunt. Daarmee heb je dan ook het enige minpuntje van de CD, Tail Draggers stemgeluid vind je naar verloop van tijd misschien wat monotoon klinken, terwijl het voor anderen weer de reden kan zijn om dit kleinood aan te schaffen. Het mag de pret niet drukken, volop luisterplezier!

De erfenis van Howlin’ Wolf verpakt in 10 nummers. De liefhebber van Chicago blues kan zijn hart ophalen aan deze ijzersterke release.

– Huub Houben


Folk Bulletin (Italy) (April 2012)

L’11 gennaio 1976 al club 1815 nel west side di Chicago, Taildragger (vero nome James Y. Jones) e Bob Corritore si incontrarono per la prima volta. Era il giorno dopo la morte di Howlin’ Wolf ed entrambi si trovavano lì per suonare in un tributo al grandissimo artista appena scomparso. Quel giorno nacque un’amicizia destinata a durare sino ad oggi. Un’amicizia che si è concretizzata nella realizzazione di questo disco di purissimo Chicago blues “vecchia scuola” in cui la carismatica voce di Taildragger incontra l’ottima armonica alla Little Walter di Corritore. Se state cercando qualcuno che evochi la passionale e genuina intensità del blues suonato nei juke joint del south side di Chicago, tra gli anni Cinquanta e gli anni Sessanta, beh, li avete trovati. Originario dell’Arkansas, Taildragger si trasferì a Chicago negli anni Sessanta dove ben presto strinse amicizia con l’uomo che non solo gli inventò il soprannome, ma che lo indicò anche come unico successore ed erede. Stiamo parlando dell’immenso Howlin’ Wolf da sempre ispiratore (insieme a Muddy Waters) del sound di Taildragger. Bob Corritore è un vero hard working man e la sua passione per il blues lo ha portato durante questi anni a lavorare tantissimo non solo come musicista ma anche come giornalista, dj e proprietario di locali per mantenere viva la fiamma del blues. Corritore ha suonato e registrato con tanti grandi del blues: Koko Taylor, Little Milton, Pinetop Perkins, Honeboy Edwards e Robert Jr Lockwood. Ottimi anche i comprimari: Henry Gray al piano (al fianco di Howlin’ Wolf per dodici anni con a partire dal 1956), Kirk Fletcher e Chris James alle chitarre, Patrick Rynn al basso, e Brian Fahey alla batteria.

Un ottimo disco, nel solco della tradizione ma soprattutto … nel nome del Lupo.

– Angelina Poggi


Blues & Rhythm (UK) (March 20, 2012)

Long time buddies Tail Dragger and harp player Bob Corritore get together on a set of traditional Windy City blues, backed by a stellar outfit comprising Howlin’ Wolf band veteran Henry Gray on piano, Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitar, rock-solid Patrick Rynn on bass, and Brian Fahey on drums. Originally from Arkansas, James Yancy Jones moved to Chicago in the 1960s, where he allied himself with Howlin’ Wolf, who bestowed his stage name on him. Dragger became a full time performer in the 1970s, and his philosophy of ‘lowdown blues is all I like…all I feel…and I sing what I feel’ has stood him in good stead. This session was recorded in Tempe, Arizona in 2011, and production was by Corritore.

On an all-original set (apart from Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Sugar Mama’) Dragger and the band are firmly in the tradition of classic 1950s Chicago blues, with particular emphasis on the Wolf sound. The opening cut ‘I’m Worried’ could have been lifted out of the Chester Burnett songbook, with the band laying down a knock down-drag ’em out rhythm and Dragger in full-on Wolf mode. Henry Gray shares the vocal with Dragger on ‘Sugar Mama’, Dragger wins the contest!

‘Birthday Blues’ is a kicking up-tempo number in the Jimmy Rogers tradition with fine blues harp; ‘She’s Worrying Me’ utilises the ‘rocks is my pillow, cold ground is my bed’ theme on another Wolf influenced piece. However Jimmy Reed is the influence on ‘Cold Outdoors’ with Dragger getting the slightly slurred, half pissed vocal spot on, and Corritore doing a note perfect Reed pastiche on the harp.

‘So Ezee’ is driven along by thumping drums from Fahey, with superb harp and solid guitar. ‘Through With You’ is stretched out to six minutes plus, it’s a slow, grinding blues, with excellent interplay between harp and guitars; on ‘Done Got Old’, Dragger sings ‘I got old, baby I got to let you go’; hell, I know how he feels! It’s a real blast, a classic Windy City shuffle blues, a real toe tapper.

Pianist Henry Gray is featured on the instrumental ‘Boogie Woogie Ball’, with comments shouted back and forth between him and Tail Dragger pertaining to a ‘big leg girl’. The closing cut, ‘Please Mister Jailer’, is another slowie, his main squeeze has been accused of murder: ‘accused of murder and I know she wouldn’t harm a flea, I’m asking you judge, won’t you listen to me’. Corritore blows mightily, the drummer lays down a thumping backbeat and Gray hammers the ivories, a fitting ending to a superb set of old school, real deal Chicago blues.

If you enjoyed Tail Dragger’s previous outing on Delmark, then you’ll need to add this one to your packed shelves. Strongly recommended, it doesn’t come much tougher than this!

– Phil Wight


American Blues Scene (April 6, 2012)

Fans of traditional Chicago blues are in for one heck of a treat. The title to the latest by Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore, Longtime Friends in the Blues, released by Delta Groove Productions, says it all. Tail Dragger is a long time creator of “low down dirty blues,” having played with Howlin’ Wolf for years in Chicago. Bob Corritore is one of the greatest performing traditional harmonica players in the blues — a title which he easily proves on Friends.

The album is filled with traditional Chicago blues from the best in the windy city. It’s also a virtual nod to the late, great Wolf. Tail Dragger channels the blues master, especially in the first two tracks, with the trademark howl and Wolf-themed licks. Dragger has his own, somewhat slurred vocal style, and Corritore blows an amped up harmonica like the wind behind him — a potent combination. Henry Gray, who played piano with Big Maceo Merriwether and later Howlin’ Wolf, adds a valuable, exciting barrelhouse piano sound to the album. On “Boogie Woogie Ball”, the long time piano master really gets his time to shine, as he plays a rockin’ boogie tune while exchanging an entertaining back and forth with Tail Dragger.

Nine of the ten tracks are original, bringing a great aire of freshness to a traditional sound. Meeting the day after Howlin’ Wolf died, the two incredibly skilled musicians have been friends since the 1970s. With the best in that trad. Chicago sound, including Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass, and Brian Fahey on drums, the album was destined to be a modern Chicago blues hit.

– Matt Marshall


Sound Guardian (Croatia) (April 6, 2012)

Iz nevjerojatne promotivne kuće Delta Groove Productions iz Kalifornije i njene Delta Groove Music, ponovo su počeli pristizati albumi, i to ne bilo kakvi. Naravno, sve to mogu zahvaliti radijskom promotoru agilnom i beskompromisnom Steve Dixonu. Prvi od albuma kojeg ću Vam predstaviti je Longtime Friends In The Blues, baš takvih Taila Draggera & Boba Corritorea, dugogodišnjih prijatelja u bluesu. A evo o čemu je zapravo riječ.

Možemo mi reći ovo ili ono, ali jedno je sigurno, pred svima nama je apsolutno ‘tvrdi’ i nadasve briljantni album tradicionalnog bluesa Longtime Friends In The Blues van serijskog vokaliste Jamesa Yanceya Jonesa aka. Taila Draggera, te osebujnog, duboko tradicionalistički određenog svirača usne harmonike, naprosto briljantnog Boba Corritorea.

Njih dvojica uz pridružene im glazbenike :

Henry Gray: piano / vokal (2) / komentari ( 9 & 10)
Kirk Fletcher: gitara
Chris James: gitara
Patrick Rynn: bas
Brian Fahey: bubnjevi

Već od prve pjesme I’m Worried mnogi će se pitati da li je to Howlin’ Wolf? Ma cijela ta priča čini mi se nekako izvještačena. Zašto? Izvrsni James Yancey Jones aka. Tail Dragger je glazbenik, vokalista koji naravno da ima i njeguje taj prizvuk, poput legendarnog Howlin’ Wolfa, ali da se razumijemo, tu nema nikakve kopije. Radi se samo o pozitivnoj influenciji, koja se jednostavno utjelovila u tijelu Taila Draggera. To je zapravo normalna posljedica njihove dugogodišnje suradnje. Osobno držim da je upravo tu leži ta njihova najveća vrijednost. Međusobno prožimanje i uzajamna potpora. Čini mi se, ma, zapravo jasno mi je kako je sve to ozračje Tail Dragger prenio i na ovu svoju suradnju s van serijskim sviračem usne harmonike, apsolutno izvrsnim Bobom Corritoreom.

Neki pozitivniji pomak u karijeri Taila Draggera kreće nakon 1996. godine. Naime, ovog 71.godišnjeg glazbenika (rođen je 30. rujna 1940. op.a.), život nije mazio. Dapače, živo je život tipičan za blues glazbenika s ne baš lijepim epizodama. No, nakon puno peripetija i taman kada je sve krenulo prema nekoj ustaljenoj pozitivi, dolazi do tragedije. Nakon, povratka Tail Dragger snima svoj prvi album Crawlin’ Kingsnake (1996.) za St. George izdavačku kuću, a tada je navršio ‘tek’ 56 godina (to je mala upozorba svima koji sanjaju o nekom zvjezdanom uspjehu preko noći op.a.). Dvije godine kasnije, svoj drugi album American People (1998.) snima za Delmark Records. Ista kuća 2005. objavljuje mu DVD My Head Is Bald – Live At Vern’s Friendly Lounge te izdanje Live at Rooster’s Lounge, koje je objavljeno i kao CD i kao DVD.

A sada malo o fenomenalnom harpisti Bobu Corritoreu. Blues glazba je nevjerojatno jedinstvena u svojoj težnji da spaja glazbenike različite životne dobi. No, ako je ugođaj i težnja za izražajnom prezentacijom zajednički prisutna i tako determinirana, onda zaista ništa nije problem, ništa nije nemoguće. Naime, Bob ovdje nedvosmisleno prezentira svoju virtuoznost na način koji u svakom svom segmentu traži svekoliku pozornost slušatelja uz uvijek prisutnu usmjerenost ka ogromnom i raznolikom bogatstvu blues glazbe. Bob je sve te vrijednosti snažno percipirao i shvatio, kao nešto što će svakako pomaknuti slušateljevo poimanje idioma tradicionalnog bluesa. I stoga, zapravo i nije čudo da Bob svakim danom sve više, jače i snažnije progradira ka izvrsnosti koja zapravo nema krajnih granica.

Što se tiče suradnje i snimljenog materijala na albumu Longtime Friends In The Blues, Tail Draggera & Bob Corritorea, treba jasno napisati sljedeće, njihova prezentacija svojom kvalitetom mora osvojiti svakog ozbiljnijeg poklonika bluesa. Teško je uopće pisati i dati točnu kvalifikaciju albuma, budući da se radi o materijalima koji u svakom svom segmentu traži svekoliku pozornost i usmjerenost ka ogromnom i raznolikom bogatstvu blues glazbe.
Sve te vrijednosti valja percipirati i shvatiti kao nešto što će svakako pomaknuti Vaše poimanje tradicionalnog bluesa. Stoga nije čudo da ovaj blues dvojac u svakom svom segmentu prezentacije bluesa zrači izuzetnim feelingom i kompletnim ugođajem, toliko bitnim kada je u pitanju blues.

Tail Dragger i Bob Corritore prvi puta su se sreli 11. siječnja 1976. u 1815 Clubu na Chicago’s West Sideu, kada su nastupali na prigodnom Tribute to Howlin’ Wolf koncertu samo dan nakon smrti legendarnog blues majstora. Bio je to simboličan početak jednog prijateljstva i muzičke suradnje koja se proteže sve do današnjih dana. S jedne strane osebujni, originalni i nadahnuti stil Taila Draggeram, naspram tradicionalistički nastrojenog Boba Corritorea s pridruženim im fenomenalnim glazbenicima: velikim pijanistom Henryem Grayjem, koji je nastupao i snimao s legendarnim Howlin’ Wolfom punih 12 godina počevši, od sada već daleke 1956. godine, pa do sjajnih gitarista Kirkom Fletcherom i Chrisom Jamesom, naravno tu je i ‘strašna’ ritam sekcija predvođena osobitim basistom Patrickom Rynnom i bubnjarem Brianom Faheyjem.

Osobno, zaista nisam u mogućnosti izdvojiti niti jednu pjesmu, ama baš SVE su jednostavno ODLIČNE!

Longtime Friends In The Blues, Taila Draggera & Boba Corritorea je album koji u sebi sadrži sve one posebne, intenzivne i neprikosnovene emocije koje ima samo blues. Kada se tome pribroji snažna i ekspresivna glazbena prezentacijska forma, dobijamo izuzetno raritetni album koji će Vas osvojiti svojom snagom i izvrsnošću.

Evo što i drugi pišu: When these guys cut loose on “I’m Worried,” it’s like time travel. And when Tail Dragger sings “Done Got Old,” he speaks to and for a lot of us old blues fans. But, though we may creak when we rock, and ache when we roll, we can still move to a cut like “Boogie Woogie Ball,” a number that just might get the Wolf to howlin’ from his grave., http://www.deltagroovemusic.com

Više o svemu možete saznati na:

Popis pjesama:

1. I’m Worried
2. Sugar Mama
3. Birthday Blues
4. She’s Worryin’ Me
5. Cold Outdoors
6. So Ezee
7. Through With You
8. Done Got Old
9. Boogie Woogie Ball
10. Please Mr. Jailer

(Delta Groove Music)

Yours bluesy,
– Mladen Lončar – Mike


Disco Club (Italy) (April 18, 2012)

Bob Corritore è una sorta di “spalla di lusso” per altri musicisti. Armonicista ma non cantante, i suoi album sono o delle All-star jam ricche di ospiti (tipo Harmonica Blues, recensito da chi scrive un paio di anni fa) bob%20corritore o delle collaborazioni paritarie con leggendari artisti blues, meglio se cantanti, come nel caso di questo Longtime Friends In The Blues. Entrambi cultori del Chicago Blues più ortodosso si conoscono da molti anni, come certificato dal titolo dell’album, e precisamente dal 1976, il giorno dopo la morte di Howlin’ Wolf ad un concerto che lo commemorava. Tail Dragger, all’anagrafe James Yancy Jones prende il nome d’arte proprio da un brano del “lupo” e un altro dei principali protagonisti di questo disco, il pianista Henry Gray è stato il pianista della band di Howlin Wolf nel periodo migliore del grande Bluesman (1956-1968). Esaurite le curiosità, o meglio ce n’è ancora una, Gray nato nel 1925 come BB King, è un altro dei più longevi artisti del Blues ancora in attività, dopo la scomparsa lo scorso anno di Pinetop Perkins e Honeboy Edwards. E lo dimostra in una tostissima Sugar mama, l’unica cover di questo album, cantata in coppia con Tail Dragger. Ottimi i due chitarristi che si dividono i compiti in questa ennesima uscita della Delta Groove, ormai sinonimo di qualità, Kirk Fletcher e Colin James e la sezione ritmica dal suono classico del West Side come Patrick Rynn, basso e Brian Fahey, batteria.

Il resto lo fa il repertorio, nove brani scritti da Jones, dal suono classico ma non mummificato come purtroppo ogni tanto suonano i dischi di blues classico attuali. Tail Dragger ha un vocione ancora importante e vissuto, Bob Corritore soffia nell’armonica con vigore e ottima tecnica, il piano di Henry Gray è sempre presente e incisivo e brani come l’iniziale I’m Worried, dal suono molto influenzato da Howlin’ Wolf, la già citata Sugar mama, le dodici battute classiche della serrata Birthday Blues con tutti i musicisti molto motivati e in grande evidenza sono un buon viatico per l’album. Poi la lunga e sofferta She’s Worryin’ Me ci riporta ai ritmi lenti e cadenzati di Waters e Wolf con una grande prestazione vocale di Tail Dragger. Notevole anche Cold Outdoors con il piano di Gray e l’armonica di Corritore sempre in primo piano a sostenere la voce. So Ezee è uno di quei brani che si è soliti definire “driving blues”, nel senso che viaggiano per conto loro sulle ali della buona musica, uno dei migliori del CD.

Through With You è il classico slow blues che non può mancare in un disco del genere che si rispetti, con delle chitarre taglienti che cercano di ritagliarsi i loro spazi di fianco agli altri solisti, mentre il vocione è sempre in primo piano in alternanza all’armonica. Done Got Old è una ulteriore variazione sul tema mentre Boogie Woogie Ball tiene fede al suo nome, con le mani di Henry Gray che volano sulla tastiera. Please Mr. Jailer è un altro di quegli slow dove il cantante implora il soggetto della canzone, in questo caso il secondino della prigione, di avere pietà per lui e la sua ragazza, un argomento senza tempo per il Blues più sofferto e ben interpretato da Tail Dragger che si conferma vocalist di tutto rispetto in questo brano e in tutto il disco nel suo insieme. Per amanti dei “classici”. Lunga vita!

– Bruno Conti


SMP.Se (Sweden) (April 11, 2012)

Tail Dragger hör inte till Chicagobluesens mest kända namn, trots att han spelade med Howlin’ Wolf på 60- talet och alltsedan dess har varit rotad på hemstadens bluesscen. Möjligen kan det bero på en mycket sparsam skivutgivning i kombination med en fängelsevistelse för dråp på en musikerkollega. Men nu är denne 72-årige bluesnestor ute med ett nytt album, fyllt med stadig elektrisk blues. På munspel har han med sig Bob Corritore som fyller upp med precis den sorts riff och solon som hör stilen till. Det är inga överraskningar, men det låter som det ska och det är sannerligen inte all blues som gör det.

Betyg: 4/5

– Magnus Nilsson


Blues-E-News.com (April 24, 2012)

So I received the CD, popped into the playa and go about my day. Listening again and again driving in the car surfing the net and even found myself jamming along on Harmonica several times! As I listen I feel like I’m stepping back in time, walking into a smoky Chicago juke joint on a cold rainy night. This album oozes old school Bluesy blues… Bob’s harp work is nice and tight following Tail Draggers every word. Hot n Sticky muddy Classic Chicago Blues. The album title is true to its name. Some might be surprised that Corritore and Tail Dragger actually are long time friends. First meeting the day after Wolf passed in 1976 at a tribute to Wolf and became friends. Additionally there is a great assembly of Chicago musicians including Piano legend Henry Gray (former Howlin’ Wolf pianist ) who trades singing wit Mr. Dragger on Sugar Mama.

My 3 favorite songs on this album are “Cold Outdoors” about getting in trouble with his woman and being locked out side in the cold. He really makes you feel for his ply. We all make mistakes right! Next is “So Ezee” song with a message it’s easy to be misled, so wake up and pay attention to your world. Thirdly, “Boogie Woogie Ball” is my favorite song on the album. It’s a great moving song featuring Henry’s great piano playing and Bob’s fine harmonica skill. They appear to really enjoying themselves and Mr. Dragger jokes along the whole song about good stuff!

“This album is really nice and reminds me of why I love the blues. It just takes you some place, a nice place! Smooth and relaxing slow steady swinging blues.”

– Big Wayne Rinehart


News Blues America (April 20, 2012)

Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore’s first meeting was on January 11, 1976, which took place at the 1815 Club in Chicago. They both performed that night as part of a tribute to the Legendary Howlin’ Wolf, whom had passed away the day before. That meeting forged, from that day on, both a lifetime friendship and a great musical collaboration.

Bob Corritore has been “a lifelong advocate of the blues who continues to play an active role in promoting the music by helping it flourish into the 21st century through his many endeavors”. Of his critically acclaimed hailed release, “Harmonica Blues”, I wrote, “Their are Blues Albums out their that are absolutely essential to have in one’s collection, and Bob Corritore And Friends “Harmonica Blues” is certainly one of them”. Bob is a Club Owner, Record Producer, Band Leader, and Radio Host, and with each year that passes, his ascent to Legendary status becomes that much shorter.

The fact that Tail Dragger, who’s real name is James Yancy Jones, was at Howlin’ Wolf’s Tribute, should come as no surprise, as for more than 20 years he followed Wolf from club to club, watching and getting pointers from the larger-then-life Legend. Besides letting Tail Dragger perform his blues in between sets on the weekends, Howlin Wolf also gave Tail Dragger his moniker, which was due to “his reputation of showing up late for gigs”. Many still feel that Tail Dragger’s delivery is quite reminiscent of Howlin’ Wolf, something that is abundantly clear after only listening to his and Bob Corritore’s new release “Longtime Friends In The Blues”, for just a few seconds. In fact Howlin’ Wolf once said “One day this boy (Tail Dragger) will take my place .”

“Longtime Friends In The Blues” consists of 10 Tracks, of which 9 were written by Tail Dragger and the cover ‘Sugar Mama’, was written by John Lee Williamson (Sonny Boy Williamson)and has been recorded by numerous artists, including Sonny Boy Williamson and Howlin’ Wolf .

In addition to Tail Dragger (Vocals) & Bob Corritore (Harmonica), “Longtime Friends In The Blues” features Kirk Fletcher (Guitar), Chris James (Guitar), Patrick Rynn (Bass), Brian Fahey (Drums) and Henry Gray (Piano/Vocals on Track 2/Comments on Track 9 & 10). “In 1956, Howlin’ Wolf asked Henry to join his band. Henry did and remained Wolf’s main piano player until 1968 .”

Howlin’ Wolf’s influence becomes apparent on “Longtime Friends In The Blues”, after only a few short seconds into the album, as Tail Dragger blasts out the words, “I’m Worried, Babe I’m Worried About You”. From that moment on the band jumps in and takes us for one heck of a great Chicago Style Blues ride.

Track 2 is the John Lee Williamson (Sonny Boy Williamson) cover ‘Sugar Mama’ which is introduced via Bob Corritore on Harmonica, of which he wails on throughout this great interpretation. Henry Gray steps in with Vocals on this Track, as Tail Dragger and him share lyrics and although it was still early in the Album, I had a feeling this was going to be one of my favorites.

Another early favorite was Track 3 ‘Birthday Blues’, which was one of a half dozen Tracks of the up tempo nature. This was a great Track with everyone noticeable giving their all.

Track 6 ‘So Ezee’, is exactly that, So Ezee to listen to. Lots of Corritore once again driving thru this one on his Harp, along with great Guitar work from James and Fletcher, as Henry pounded away on the Piano. A great Track indeed.

Speaking of pounding the Piano, Henry Gray, takes center stage and goes all Boogie Woogie Blues on the keys on Track 9 ‘Boogie Woogie Ball’ and certainly shows us that even at the young age of 87, he is still second to none with performers half his age.

“Longtime Friends In The Blues” finishes off with the longest Track on the album, ‘Please Mr. Jailer’, a song that has Tail Dragger begging the jailer to please have mercy on his girl. Another great performance by all especially Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore and a nice song to end “Longtime Friends In The Blues”.

“Longtime Friends In The Blues” is yet another rock solid Chicago Style Blues Album, but really, when you consider who was involved on this one, it could not have come out any other way. Great Vocal work from Tail Dragger, second to none Harp from Bob Corritore, plus the outstanding performances from Henry, Kirk, Chris, Patrick, and Brian, make “Longtime Friends In The Blues” a real winner.

Lots of great stuff on this one…

– John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)

The Blues Blog (Boston Blues Society) (April 26, 2012)

Tail Dragger (James Yancy Jones) – Vocals
Bob Corritore – Harmonica
Henry Gray – Piano, Vocals on 2, Comments on 9 & 10
Kirk Fletcher – Guitar
Chris James – Guitar
Patrick Rynn – Bass
Brian Fahey – Drums

From the liner notes: “Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore first met on January 11, 1976 at the 1815 Club on Chicago’s West Side where they performed at a tribute to Howlin’ Wolf, who had died the day before. This was the symbolic beginning of a lifetime of friendship and musical collaboration.”

According to the Delta Groove biography:Tail Dragger: Mr. James Yancy Jones was from Altheimer, Arkansas. He relocated to Chicago in the 9160′s, where he befriended the legendary, Howlin’ Wolf. He would sit in and play at shows when Wolf was on break. Often late for gigs, Mr. Wolf gave Jones the nickname, Tail Dragger. Tail Dragger has been dedicated to the blues as a vocalist since his early influences. He started his solo career in the 1970′s. “Low down blues is all I like, All I feel … And I sing what I feel.”

Howlin’ Wolf~ “One day this boy (Tail Dragger) will take my place.”

Bob Corritore: Mr. Corritore has been a band leader, club owner, record producer and radio show host, all with the enthusiasm to promote the blues in the 21st century. His album, Harmonica Blues, won a Blues Music Award for Historical Album of the Year. This collection of harmonica masterpieces was honored with the presence an entire line up of legendary performers, including: Koko Taylor, Little Milton, Pinetop Perkins, Honey boy Edwards, Robert Lockwood Jr., and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. He also received a Governor’s award in the state of Arizona for his accomplishments in recording.

Album Review:

Chicago blues with a Delta influence. Like a good friend, this record not only knows your soul, it reads your mind. This record finishes your thoughts before you’ve known you had them. As in ‘I’m Worried, ” and “Sugar Mama,” there are many times in listening to this collection that you want the lyrics to be repeated just once more, and Tail Dragger keeps on. Thinking you want some harp to keep you company? Enter Bob Corritore. This collaboration is equal in these partners don’t overpower each other, which makes you want to hear more from them. Even in the arrangement of the tracks for the recording, there is a mindful sensibility. After “Done Got Old,” you may think, this is some heavy blues that cuts to the core of life’s troubles, such as worry, aging, loss of trust. And then the first bars of “Boogie Woogie Ball” come through! The blues are about resilience, facing life on its terms with all that you’ve got. Just when you need it, Tail Dragger says, ‘Have Joy!”

Track by Track:

1. I’m Worried- Tail Dragger’s voice bellows as this album opens. Bob Corritore’s harp jumps in quickly and the legends march on. Tail has a great ‘whooo-hoo’ that is reminiscent of Son House and the Delta Spirit. In the blues, the resilience is celebrated by calling life’s problems out straight. Mid-song Tail improvs, “Let’s worry!” Piano from Henry Gray adds to the upbeat tempo. The song has a quiet fade that comes to a close which is almost comforting, even though Tail continues to sing about how everyone is worried.

2. Sugar Mama- This Tampa Red original released in 1934 as Sugar Mama Blues No.1, was recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson and Howlin’ Wolf (My Country Sugar Mama) and is a blues standard. There is a guest vocal by Henry Gray which mirrors some of Tail Dragger’s lyrics and sort of extends the call and response frames of this blues classic. “I like my coffee in the mornin’, woman, crazy bout my tea at night. If I don’t get my sugar three times a day, oh darlin’ I don’t feel right”

3. Birthday Blues- Be glad that it’s somebody’s birthday somewhere each day, because you will be spinning this great upbeat, clever song all the time!

4. She’s Worryin Me- Worried and got no where to go? The blues keep the time for the ages. Tail Dragger has got some pain and advice to share in this gem. The harp flows through in the background, with guitar accents and Patrick Rynn’s bass lines keep it interesting. There are layers and layers of instrumentation on this record. The piano, harp and guitars jam together in a great bridge, but yet, given the tone of the topic, the whole song is low key. A masterpiece.

5. Cold Outdoors- Tail’s voice is a bit softer and the band brings some rhythm to this track.

6. So Ezee- Henry Gray commands a strong comment of wisdom at the dawn of this jam. He starts off slow and rises to the level of reverend with a powerful message. “You know, this is the message to the world, the old folks and the young ones too. Wake up and stop cracking jokes and use your head, cause it’s so EASY to be mislead, whatchasay!” The song is then a blare of harp, guitar and swang rhythms with Gray at the piano while Tail takes the lead with a little back and forth with Gray.

7. Through With You- “I want you for my wife, baby you’ve got to change your life!” He knows there’s another man, and the song says he’s through with her, but seems like there’s another chance yet to be had. Life is not always easy, why would love be any easier? Blues, indeed!

8. Done Got Old- A straightforward belt of time and place with Bob on the harp, this song rages on, all the while there are some great guitar licks coming through and Brian Fahey does some steady drum work to keep it all together.

9. Boogie Woogie Ball- Boogie Woogie Ball comes just in time to elevate the entire record through hit Chicago jump blues.

10. Please Mr. Jailer- This heart sung angst of a man begging for his woman to be released is a ballad for the soul. The spirit of it reminded me of the legendary “Gallis Pole” by Leadbelly.


Longtime Friends In The Blues, with its roots in Delta history, Chicago city swank and the advice of life sages, streams blues music as it should be. Blues revelers will be inspired, while new generation listeners will be educated. This is a great, and soon to be historic, record for any collection.

– The Bluebird


Sunday Night Blues Project (May 2, 2012)

Bob Corritore & Tail Dragger have made a very fine cd together. They have a history both as friends and blues players–they met when they played together at a tribute show in 1976 to honor Howlin’ Wolf, who had died the day before. Tail Dragger hired the young Corritore to play with him many years ago. Now Corritore has returned the favor, hiring Tail Dragger for this cd. Bob is one of the very best Chicago harmonica players around; Tail Dragger (aka as James Yancy Jones) is one of the best blues singers anywhere. Together here they make beautiful blues music. In addition to Tail Dragger on vocals, & Bob Corritore on harmonica, “Longtime Friends In The Blues” features a great band made up of Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass, Brian Fahey on drums and the wonderful Henry Gray on piano (and vocals on “Sugar Mama”). Howlin’ Wolf’s influence becomes apparent on “Longtime Friends In The Blues”, when only a few short seconds into the opening track, Tail Dragger blasts out the words, “I’m Worried, Babe I’m Worried About You” sounding just like the Wolf. From that moment on we are on a great Chicago Style Blues ride. The next song is the Sonny Boy Williamson song “Sugar Mama,” which opens with a sizzling harp wail from Corritore and continues with vocals by Tail Dragger and Henry Gray. Following “Sugar Mama” there is no letdown, as we hear “Birthday Blues,” which is simply wonderful. Special kudos to the rhythm section here–they push things along real well here and on all the songs. This is not a nostalgia tour–this is a real fast ride! Next we hear “She’s Worrying Me,” which may be the best song here. Tail Dragger’s vocals here are truly amazing. Tail Dragger wrote that one, and he also wrote “Cold Outdoors,” another chance for Henry Gray to shine on piano. The next track, “So Ezee” is a message song about getting people to wake up. If all moralizing came wrapped in this sort of hot blues, I’d be a fan of protest music for sure! This song is also a showcase for Bob Corritore’s driving harp, along with great guitar work from James and Fletcher. Henry Gray especially shines on the boogie-woogie number “Boogie Woogie Ball.” The closing track “Please Mr Jailer” is the longest of the ten songs on “Longtime Friends In The Blues,” and another great performance by the entire band. “Longtime Friends In The Blues” is a wonderful Chicago Style Blues Album. Great vocal work from Tail Dragger, great harp work from Bob Corritore, plus outstanding performances from Henry Gray, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey. Special note for those who read the liner notes–Chris James & Patrick Rynn are becoming, together, about the best players you can get to make a great blues record. Many thanks for his help with this review to John Vermilyea. You can buy this cd at http://www.deltagrooveproductions.com/


Big City Blues Magazine (May 2012)

If you need a strong dose of that elemental amplified blues, a stirring soundtrack in the neighborhood clubs and juke joints on Chicago’s South and West Sides in the1950s and 1960s, look no farther. Raw and lowdown vocalist James Yancy Jones, aka The Tail Dragger, was born in Altheimer, Arkansas. He moved to the Windy City in the 1960s and first met blues ambassador and harmonica whiz Bob Corritore on Jan. 11, 1976 at a musical tribute to the legendary Howlin’ Wolf, who had died the day before.

Tail Dragger is joined here by an ensemble of A-list musicians including veteran pianist Henry Gray, who really gets to stretch out on a down ‘n’ dirty recall of Sonny Boy Wiliamson I’s “Sugar Mama”, guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Chris James, and a rhythm section of Patrick Rynn and Brian Fahey. Longtime Friends is nearly an hour’s worth on no-apology blues. Highlights among Tail Dragger’s marvelously in-the-vein originals, which fill out the CD, include the slow-burning testimonial “She’s Worryin’ Me”, a caustically cautionary “Through WIth You”, a “message” number titled “So Ezee” and the somewhat qualified “Birthday Blues.” My old buddy, the Wheelchair Man, is grinning and spinning somewhere!

– Gary von Tersch


Blues Blast Magazine (May 24, 2012)

Blues fans, especially the purest of the purists, perennially search for artists that capture the undiluted essence of the genre they love. For them, blues rock, country blues, jazzy blues and “bluez” don’t completely satisfy. “Where’s the next Muddy Waters,” they wonder, or “Who’s the next Howlin’ Wolf?” Thankfully, the second question has been answered by Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett’s friend, James Y. Jones, known as Tail Dragger. Nobody’s singing today sounds more like Howlin’ Wolf’s. Jones earned his blues moniker for his reputation of showing up late for gigs where he was afforded the opportunity to sit in and perform while Wolf was on break. Now, he’s teamed up with a comrade he first met in 1976, blues ambassador Bob Corritore, to let the world know they’re “Longtime Friends in the Blues.” Of the ten songs on this album, only one, John Lee (the original Sonny Boy) Williamson’s “Sugar Mama,” is a cover. Tail Dragger’s nine original tracks pack such an unadulterated, real-deal wallop that this reviewer was sure they’d been performed previously, especially in the Windy City!

Here are three that will make listeners swear Howlin’ Wolf has been reincarnated:

Track 03: “Birthday Blues”–This song proves blues numbers don’t always have to be about touchy topics, such as cheating lovers. Rather, it centers around an annual milestone. “How old are you?” Tail Dragger asks his gal. “I know you ain’t going to tell me,” he adds, knowing that a lady never reveals her real age. Then the real shocker: “You’re sixteen; they told me you’re twenty-two…!”

Track 06: “So Ezee”– Pronounced “easy,” the second word in the title refers to the difficulty of “being misled.” This down-and-dirty ditty is “a message to the world, the old folks and the young ones too: Wake up and stop cracking jokes, and use your head (for more than a hat rack)!” Bob Corritore’s howling harmonica is the highlight here, tearing this track up like a thunderstorm! Henry Gray’s piano is also powerful.

Track 09: “Boogie Woogie Ball”–Quirky number nine on Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore’s list is this tantalizing throw-down, featuring Gray on 88 keys and vocal commentary. His rapport with James Y. Jones is second to none, and even though one might not be able to catch all that they’re saying, the message is clear: it’s party time before “Please Mr. Jailer,” the final ballad, begins. Jump for joy for four minutes and twenty-six seconds!

Other featured, standout musicians include Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitars, Patrick Rynn on bass, and Brian Fahey on drums. These Longtime Friends of the Blues provide a long, refreshing swig from the Fountain of Traditional Chicago Blues. Want proof? Ponder what Howlin’ Wolf himself said: “One day this boy [Tail Dragger] will take my place….”

– Rainey Wetnight


Crossroads Blues Society (May / June 2012)

Let’s make it clear right from the start – this is one of the best traditional blues recordings you will hear this year. Co-leader Bob Corritore is the owner of the renown Rhythm Room club in Phoenix, AZ, host of a blues radio program, the producer of this project and many others, as well as being one of the best blues harmonica players around today. With the passing of Pinetop Perkins, Henry Gray is now the dean of the blues piano players, first getting recognition for his lengthy stint in Howlin’ Wolf’s band. Kirk Fletcher and Chris James are well-schooled in the tra-ditional Chicago blues styles. The rock-solid rhythm section is comprised of Pat-rick Rynn on bass and Brian Fahey on drums.

The star of the show is singer Tail Drag-ger, whose given name is James Yancy Jones. He has been working clubs throughout Chicago since the early ’70s, earning his stage name from Howlin’ Wolf. Tail Dragger would often take the stage to fill in when Wolf took a breather. His deep, raw-edged voice is not for the faint of heart, his raspy voice conveying emotions on an elemental level. All but one of the ten songs were written by Jones.

Whether it’s a shuffle like “Birthday Blues” or a brooding slow blues like “She’s Wor-ryin’ Me”, the band is locked in tight while Tail Dragger belts out stories with familiar themes like love, cheating women, alcohol and the ravages of time. He delivers an energized performance on “So Ezee” with the band setting a wicked pace. On “Through With You”, Tail Dragger takes his time telling his woman that he wants her but she has to give up her other man. The interaction between James and Fletcher’s guitars with Corritore’s harp highlight “Please Mr. Jailer” as Tail Dragger pleads for justice from legal system for his falsely accused woman. He adopts a more sub-dued approach on “Cold Outdoors”, done in the Jimmy Reed style.

Henry Gray shares the vocal duties on the lone cover, “Sugar Mama”, his lighter tone providing a nice contrast to Tail Dragger’s more forceful singing. On “Boogie Woogie Time”, Gray rocks the house with his su-perb piano playing as Tail Dragger exhorts his friend on with stories from their past. Corritore’s contributions are another key to the recording’s success. His eloquent fills and dynamic solos are a constant delight throughout the disc.

These days blues music seems to be headed in a lot of directions, many with only tenuous connections to the music’s heart. If you have a real appreciation for the electric Chicago blues music from back in the formative days of the ’50s, this disc will take you back to those glory days. Superb effort that is highly recom-mended!!

– Mark Thompson


Biltown Blues Society (May 23, 2012)

Raw, powerful and emotionally charged, Longtime Friends in the Blues is blues coming from the old school, with no holds barred, no apologies and no regrets. With the exception of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Sugar Mama”, all the tunes were written by Tail Dragger. Tail Dragger is a long-term disciple and friend of Howlin’ Wolf, who gave him the name. Bob Corritore is one of the finest harmonica players in the world, focusing on the “old school” of playing. This disc also brings together a host of players from among the best in the business including Henry Gray on piano…& vocals on several tunes, Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitars, Patrick Rynn on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. With this kind of a line-up it would be redundant to say that the album is great. A handful of the world’s best player doing what they love most of all has to produce incredible results. We live in a generation that is blessed beyond measure, having had the opportunity to experience so many of the world’s greatest blues performers. Longtime Friends in the Blues is one of those albums that is so hard to describe. It is everything that a blues performance should be, powerful, extremely well played and just plain good. No one is hot dogging, there are no fireworks, no grandstanding, just a bunch of guys giving it all they’ve got…and when you have a group of the best performers in the business, you have a no lose situation. Any blues fan would recognize the powerful unit assembled. If for any reason you are not familiar with this group of performers, this disc is a good place to start.

– Bill Wilson



FNAC.com (France) (May 3, 2012)

J’ai écouté
Tail Dragger et Bob Corritore, une vieille amitié au service du Chicago Blues authentique !
Réagissez !

(5 stars)

Acheter Longtime friends in the blues -Digipack

“Un jour ce garçon prendra ma place” – ainsi parlait le géant Howlin’ Wolf au sujet de ce jeune chanteur, du nom de James Yancey Jones, débarqué fraichement de son Arkansas natal et rebaptisé par le Wolf lui-même : Tail Dragger. Nous étions alors au début des 70’s, et il est vrai que le timbre de voix unique, rocailleux, éraillé au possible, façonné à grandes rasades de litres de Jack Daniels et paquets de cigarettes sans filtre de Chester Burnett, semblait impossible à imiter. Pourtant ce grand échalas au look de cowboy Texan sur son trente et un, au Stetson toujours vissé sur la tête, arrivait à sortir de ses cordes vocales la même puissance et les mêmes sonorités déchirantes que son mentor.

Le 10 janvier 1976 le Loup Hurleur décède, et le lendemain un concert hommage est organisé à Chicago. Tail Dragger est bien sûr présent pour célébrer la musique d’un des géants et pères fondateurs du Chicago Blues, mais aussi son maître spirituel, c’est ce jour-là qu’il va rencontrer pour la première fois et jouer avec ce jeune harmoniciste blanc du nom de : Bob Corritore. Installé depuis 1981 à Phoenix en Arizona cet Italo-Américain est devenu une des figures principales du Blues de cette ville. En effet ce passionné avant tout, porte la casquette multiple de : harmoniciste, animateur de radio sur KJZZ, découvreur et producteur de talents, propriétaire du fameux club de la ville : Le Rhythm Room, et leader du groupe : the Rhythm Room All-Stars ! Bref il est aujourd’hui un des acteurs incontournables du milieu Blues aux Etats-Unis.

J’ai eu l’occasion plusieurs fois de croiser la route de Tail Dragger, ne serait-ce encore que lors de sa dernière venue en France en février dernier, et je conseille à tous ceux qui ne savent pas ce que Chicago Blues veut dire, d’aller passer un moment avec ce grand monsieur qui est un des derniers chanteurs et défenseurs du style unique et originel de la Windy City. Ce fameux son qui fut crée dans les studios aux 2120 south Michigan avenue, de Chess records et popularisé par Muddy Waters, Little Walter ou Howlin’ Wolf. Au cours de ses concerts notre charismatique vocaliste de 72 ans, vous entraine dans les bas fonds du south side à la grande époque, plaçant entre les morceaux de véritables tranches de vie personnelles, n’hésitant pas à pleurer son Blues, au pied de toutes les belles demoiselles de l’assistance. Le véritable sens du Blues est là : raconter son histoire à un auditoire qui compatit et communique réellement avec le musicien, le tout avec une convivialité et un humour irrésistible au 3ème degré ! Si vous voulez avoir un aperçu de cela, les deux DVDs sortis par notre homme sont remarquables, et témoignent totalement du sens profond du Blues !

Qu’elle fut ma joie donc de voir que les retrouvailles entre Bob Corritore et Tail Dragger allaient être aujourd’hui immortalisées au cours de cet enregistrement paru sur le label Delta Groove et produit par Mr Bob en personne. De plus derrière nos deux compères on retrouve une véritable dream team : Kirk Eli Fletcher (jeune guitariste hyper doué et ex-Fabulous Thunderbirds), le duo guitare/basse omniprésent de la Chi-Town: Chris James et Patrick Rynn, Brian Fahey aux drums et une des dernières légendes vivantes du Piano Blues: le Louisianais d’origine, Henry Gray qui vient de fêter ses 87 ans !!!

Malgré que cet opus fût réalisé à Phoenix, tout l’esprit du Chicago Blues authentique est présent, et cela dès les premiers mots jaillissant du gosier écorché et brûlant de notre géant de l’Arkansas : I’m Worried, Je suis inquiet pour toi ! De suite on se retrouve entre le meilleur de Muddy Waters et de Howlin’ Wolf réuni ! Ce morceau serait un peu un croisement entre le Louisiana Blues de Muddy et le Smokestack Lightnin’ du Wolf ! Un riff hypnotisant, répétitif, swinguant et ponctué par des haawwooo ! typiques du loup solitaire, le tout soutenu par un groupe impeccable. Cette ambiance restera présente tout au long de cette oeuvre. Sur la seule reprise, empruntée à John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson, le gros standard : Sugar Mama, Henry Gray vient partager le micro, avec sa voix frêle et émouvante, nous prouvant au cours de ses interventions au piano qu’il est encore un des plus grands représentants du genre crée à Chicago dans les 40’s. Un grand moment !

On retrouve aussi 2 titres que Mr Jones trainait déjà à ces concerts depuis quelque temps : She’s worryin’ Me, et son message au monde comme il le dit : attention utiliser votre tête car c’est si facile d’être trompé ! So Ezee avec ce shuffle millesimé qui vous fait balancer irrémédiablement de gauche à droite ! Sur Cold Outdoors, on passe faire un petit tour chez Jimmy Reed et son groove laidback, nonchalant et si sensuel ! Mr Corritore reprenant même son style d’harmonica si particulier dans les notes sur-aigües avec sa classe et son aisance naturelle.

Etant un inconditionnel de Muddy Waters, j’ai fondu littéralement à l’écoute de ce Through With You, joué au fond du temps comme il se doit, et aux arabesques d’harmonica à la James Cotton. C’est après un véritable Boogie Woogie mettant en vedette : Henry Gray au piano, Boogie Woogie Ball des plus fougueux, suivi d’un autre titre à la McKinley Morganfield : Please Mr Jailer, où notre homme implore le juge de liberer sa femme accusée de meurtre, car il le promet, elle ne ferait pas de mal à une puce !… que se termine ce voyage réussi à la grande époque du Chicago Blues authentique.

Si comme moi vous trouvez que le Blues contemporain produit à la Windy City, a perdu son charme et ses saveurs d’antan, que vous êtes un nostalgique du son des vinyles qui sortaient des studios des frères Chess dans les années 50 et 60 durant l’heure de gloire du Chicago Blues, rassurez-vous Tail Dragger est là, l’esprit de Muddy Waters et de Howlin’ Wolf a pris possession de lui ! Et surtout vivez l’expérience d’un de ses concerts, au cours desquels le Blues avec un grand B, avec toute sa vérité, sa simplicité, sa proximité, sa philosophie, son idiome de base revit grâce à cette personnalité si attachante et pittoresque!

Sûrement un des meilleurs disques de Blues de cette année 2012 !

– Phil


The Big Blue Kitchen (May 11, 2012)

These longtime friends met at a memorial service for Howlin’ Wolf, a heritage that is evident throughout the CD. Mr. Dragger’s vocals are full of rough power, punctuated by the ace band, while Mr. Corritore’s harp provides spirited fills. My picks are I’m Worried, Birthday Blues, but be careful before you dedicate this to a listener!), and Boogie Woogie Ball.



BluesPress.NL (Holland) (May 15, 2012)

Het is Delta Groove weer gelukt. Ze hebben weer een kwaliteits blues cd op de markt gebracht waar je je vingers bij aflikt. “Longtime Friends In Blues” Tail Dragger en Bob Corritore zijn de studio ingedoken en hebben een 10-tal tracks opgenomen waar de ouderwetse vette Chicago sound van afdruipt! En dat met een begeleiding waarvan je alleen maar kunt dromen: Henry Gray-Piano/vocals, Kirk Fletcher-guitar, Chris James-Guitar, Patrick Rynn-bass, Brian Fahey-drums.

De mannen kennen elkaar al sinds 1976, toen ze elkaar ontmoetten bij een eerbetoon aan Howlin’ Wolf, die een dag ervoor was overleden. De virtuoze Bob Corritore is natuurlijk bekend om zijn samenwerking met andere artiesten, tot een full-length album samenwerking tussen deze 2 grootheden was het nog nooit gekomen. Maar nu is het album er: “Longtime Friends In Blues”. Vanaf de opener gaat het gelijk tekeer. Zodra Tail Dragger op een Wolf-achtige manier I’m Worried inzet en na de eerste zin de band invalt en Corritore zijn harp laat brullen is de toon gezet. Zet je schrap voor een ritje old-school jaren 50 Chicago blues. In de enige cover van het album, Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Sugar Mama”, worden de vocalen verzorgd door zowel Tail Dragger als Henry Gray. Natuurlijk is het hele album een vraag (Tail Dragger) en antwoordspel (Corritore) tussen de hoofdpersonen maar ook de andere bandleden krijgen genoeg ruimte om hun kunsten te vertonen. Zo kunnen de gitaristen zich helemaal uitleven in “So Ezee” en gaat Gray helemaal los in “Boogie Woogie Ball”

“Long Time Friends In Blues” is een ​​zeer solide Chicago Style Blues Album, en als je bedenkt wie er allemaal op dit album meespelen kan en mag dit album niet ontbreken in je bluesverzameling. Een echte aanrader!

– Bert Vethaak


World of Harmonica (UK) (May 2012)

“This is without doubt, one of the Best Blues Albums to land on my desk”. Enjoying this played bundles, absolutely stonkin ! This album is really good, there’s good, then there’s like fantastic, this album certainly fit’s the later category. From the moment the postman walked up the path, CD hit the mat, went in the player, all else stopped. An Amazing piece of music, the musicians have crafted here. An album will come back to time and time again. Honestly, with hand on heart this is a true classic, a well worked Masterpiece, timeless in every sense of the word. The Artists are in touch with their musical senses, and knit like a well oiled machine. This is certainly one of my favourite albums listened to, ticking like a clock, rolling like a steam train, perfect musical harmony, , solid production throughout, dynamics the whole shebang, Every track a gem. The lyrics throughtout are just fantastic, delivered with the Mighty rip roaring voice of Taildagger… “So Ezee” O Yer ! What do Ya Say ! Everybody gotta use their heads ! So cool… love Bob’s harmonica playing, pulling off every lick and trick in the book, with perfect timing, phrasing, and a nice pleasant tone. Brothers and Sisters check this album out, it’s in that essential listening catagory. Some of the finest, and most well polished harmonica playing, note perfect, any true lover of quality harmonica music should get their hands on a copy. Highly listenable, you hear the musicians playing there parts beautifully. Henry Gray, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Brian Fahey top marks, and to each and everyone who had there part making this album.

– Shaun Monument May


SK24.fi (Finland) (May 14, 2012)

Tail Dragger alias James Yancey Jones on mies, jonka Howlin’ Wolf nimesi seuraajakseen. Bob Corritore puolestaan on kova bluesfani, jonka fanitus on vienyt R.L. Burnsiden ja Wentus Blues Bandin hiljattain edesmenneen kaverin Louisiana Redin levyjen tuottajaksi. Kaverukset ovat tunteneet toisensa vuonna 1976 kuolleen Howlin’ Wolfin muistojameista lähtien.

Tail Draggerin omista sävellyksistä koostuva Longtime Friends In The Blues on hieman yksitotinen kokonaisuus. Albumi on täynnä syvää ja sysimustaa Chicago-bluesia kaikkein perinteisimmässä muodossa.

Draggerin raspinen ääni ja Corritoren käytännössä lähes loput ilmatilasta täyttävä ja muun bändin (muun muassa Howlin’ Wolfin pitkäaikainen pianisti Henry Grey) melkein peittävä harputtelu on silkkaa lowdown-bluesia. Se oli alun perin genrensä ydinmehua, mutta on nyt jäänyt marginaaliin.

Blues In Britain Magazine (UK) (May 2012)

Take one of the finest old-school Chicago vocalists, one of it’s finest harp players – add a legendary blues pianist, two great guitarists and a hot rhythm section; put them in the studio and inevitably they lay down one of the toughest vintage Chi-Town blues records of recent times.

Tail Dragger’s primal roar is pure Wolf, even down to the howls, and in Corritore he has a harp player who echoes Wolf’s archaic harp on “I’m Worried” whilst Henry Gray lays down his trademark two-fisted piano. John Lee Williamson’s “Sugar Mama” finds Corritore laying down the sort of riffs Williamson would have been playing if he had lived to play amplified harp, whilst Kirk Fletcher and Chris James meld the influences of Sumlin, Jody Williams and Muddy in their fretwork – Gray’s wistful vocals conjuring up echoes of the master.

“She’s Worryin’ Me” has a fiercely intense Wolf feel, Dragger’s guttural roar accentuated by Corritore’s Cotton inspired harp – “Cold Outdoors” has a plaintive Smokey Smothers’ feel that is echoed by Gray’s piano and Jimmy Reed inflected harp – whilst “Through With You” conjures up images of vintage Muddy, simmering with menace – albeit with Wolf styled vocals – Pat Hare influenced guitar, rolling piano and Junior Wells’ styled harp further enhancing the mix.

If you are a fan of Wolf during his Memphis days then this set is right up your street and will simply blow you away. 

– Mick Rainsford


Rock Times (Germany) (May 14, 2012)

Welch eine Freude! Endlich schleicht sich der 1940 geborene Bluessänger James Yancey Jones aka Tail Dragger quasi durch die Hintertür in unser Magazin. Der mittlerweile zweiundsiebzigjährige Künstler wurde zwar in Altheimer, Arkansas geboren, gilt aber zeit seines Lebens als ein Blueser aus Chicago, denn mit Zwanzig zog es den jungen Mann in die Windy City. Zunächst als Automechaniker tätig, bekam seine musikalische Karriere bei einem Auftritt mit Howlin’ Wolf einen kräftigen Schub nach vorne. Ihm verdankt er auch seinen Spitznamen Tail Dragger. Er bekam seinen Nickname von Chester Burnett, weil er ein Trödelant war. Die Stimmgewalt der beiden Sänger liegt nur wenige Zentimeter voneinander entfernt. Vorher firmierte der Sänger unter dem Namen Crawlin’ Jones. Seit den frühen Siebzigern füllte er seinen Kühlschrank ausschließlich durch die Musik. 1993 erschoss er nach einem Gig den Musiker Bennie Joe Houston, angeblich wegen der Gage. Tail Dragger gab an, in Notwehr gehandelt zu haben und ging wegen fahrlässiger Tötung für siebzehn Monate hinter schwedische Gardinen.

Nach der Veröffentlichung von einigen Singles kam 1996 sein erstes Album mit dem Titel “Crawlin’ Kingsnake” auf den Markt und drei Jahre später folgte “American People”, das beim Label Delmark Records erschien. 2009 sorgte “Live At Rooster’s Lounge” für Furore. Die DVD-Ausgabe erhielt 2010 den Living Blues Award.

Wie kamen Tail Dragger sowie der Harp-Spieler Bob Corritore zusammen, zumal das vorliegende Album auch noch “Longtime Friends In The Blues” heißt? Am 11.01.1976, nur einen Tag nach dem Tod von Howlin’ Wolf traf man sich bei einem Tribute-Konzert und die Freundschaft hält bis in die Gegenwart an. Musikalisches Ergebnis sind nun zehn 2011 aufgenommene Songs, die in einer guten Spielzeit von knapp vierundfünfzig Minuten für Begeisterung sorgen.

“Longtime Friends In The Blues” liefert rauen, ungeschliffenen Chicago Blues und hinter den beiden Protagonisten stehen mit Kirk Fletcher sowie Chris James zwei Gitarristen, die ihr Handwerk hundertprozentig verstehen. Man darf sich auf viel Sechssaiter-Einsatz freuen und Henry Gray am Piano ist auch noch mit von der Partie, denn schließlich war er damals ganze zwölf Jahre in der Band von Howlin’ Wolf. Neun Nummern wurden von Tail Dragger geschrieben und der eine Coversong stammt von… nein, nicht Howlin’ Wolf, sondern John Lee Williamson.

In nur vier Tagen eingespielt, darf sich der Hörer schon beim Uptempo-Opener “I’m Worried” über eine Gänsehaut wundern. Tail Dragger hat den Blues und zeigt der jungen Sängergilde, wo der Hammer hängt. Ach, wie herrlich klimpert das Piano in “Sugar Mama” und als Sahnehäubchen singt Henry Gray hier mit. Klasse! Die Blues-Veteranen sorgen für Begeisterung und dann setzt Corritore sein kleines Instrument ein. Welch ein Happening! Im dritten Track regiert der Shuffle-Rhythmus und da ist es an der Zeit, Bass-Mann Patrick Rynn (unter anderem auch Big Pete Pearson,
Jody Williams) und Schlagzeuger Brain Fahey (Little Victor, Louisiana Red, Lynwood Slim, The Paladins) zu loben. Die liefern einen Unterbau, auf dem man ein ganzes Hochhaus errichten könnte.

Wow, “She’s Worrin’ Me” ist das nächste Stück zur Befriedigung der Blues-Begierde. Man groovt im zweiten Gang durch die dynamische Ballade und kommt bei siebeneinhalb Minuten Spielzeit voll auf seine Kosten. Es lebe der kompromisslose 12-Takter aus Chicago. Authentizität ist Trumpf! Noch eine Schüppe drauf legt die Combo mit einem weiteren Longtrack. Abermals in ruhigeren Fahrwassern gibt sich das Gitarren-Duo Fletcher/James in “Through With You” die Kante. Langsam ist hier nur das Tempo.

Soli kann man auch noch reihenweise genießen, ganz gleich ob von den Sechssaitern oder dem Mississippi-Saxofon. Hier und da schiebt sich Henry Gray an den schwarzen und weißen Tasten dazwischen. Fantastisch! Der hat natürlich in “Boogie Woogie Ball” seinen ganz großen Auftritt und irgendwie hat das Stück gar keinen Text. Tail Dragger sowie Gray befinden sich viel mehr in einem Zwiegespräch. Klasse!

Nicht erst beim vorletzten Song wird dem Hörer klar, dass “Longtime Friends In The Blues” viel Live-Atmosphäre transportiert. Hoffentlich bleibt die Freundschaft zwischen Tail Dragger und Bob Corritore noch lange bestehen. Ich habe fertig und genieße die zehn Tracks noch einmal.

– Joachim ‘Joe’ Brookes


Cruisin For A Bluesin (Australia) (May 31, 2012)

There is a hard core of Crusin For A Blusin fans who refuse to believe the blues left Chicago. TAIL DRAGGER and BOB CORRITORE certainly uphold that belief on this album. This is pure West Side at its dirtiest best. Henry Gray, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James, Patrick Rynn and Brian Fahey just add to the dirt. GREAT ALBUM! Tail Dragger certainly invokes the soul and spirit of Howlin’ Wolf.

– Les Taylor


Blues In The Northwest (May 31, 2012)

For all lovers of pure, unadulterated lowdown and sweaty Chicago blues straight out of the clubs and juke joints . . . a great collaboration between two old pals, as the album title, “Longtime Friends In The Blues” suggests. The Arkansas-born Tail Dragger – James Yancy Jones – who relocated to Chicago in the 1960s and Arizona’s much in-demand Bob Corritore – harmonica player, band leader, club owner and even DJ!

Tail Dragger’s stage name was bestowed on him by no less a blues legend than the mighty Howlin’ Wolf, as he often turned up late for gigs and used to sit in while Wolf was on a break . . . and here he delivers the same tough and gritty vocals as the late iconic bluesman. He and Bob Corritore actually met and played together for the first time in 1976 at The 1815 club on Chicago’s West Side, at a tribute for Howlin’ Wolf, who had died the day before . . . the beginning of a lifetime friendship and musical connection.

On this ten track set the songs are all Tail Dragger compositions, apart from one cover, and they are joined by a stellar band comprising of: Kirk Fletcher and Chris James (guitar), Henry Gray (piano), Patrick Rynn (bass) and Brian Fahey (drums) – and together they lay down an authentic tough Chicago blues template from the 50s or 60s, with the album beautifully produced by Corritore, and overseen by label CEO, Randy Chortkoff, the executive producer here

The only cover present is a lovely “Sugar Mama”, from the first Sonny Boy Williamson, with the vocals shared by Tail Dragger and pianist Henry Gray . . . it epitomises the whole collection, with Corritore’s fine harmonica and the intertwining guitars of Fletcher and James, all pushed along by the solid rhythm section of Rynn and Fahey. The upbeat shuffle of “Happy Birthday” is another standout and fairly rattles along, with Tail Dragger’s lowdown and dirty vocal to the fore and fine contributions again from all the band.

Henry Gray’s piano is superb throughout and he gets a chance to shine on the riveting “Cold Outdoors”, with Bob Corritore’s harmonica both tough and tender on this; “So Ezee” continues in the same uptempo vein; with the pace taken down on “Through With You”, a slower blues and Tail Dragger’s ‘Wolf-inspired’ vocal sounding as sinister as the great man.

“Boogie Woogie Ball”, not surprisingly sees Henry Gray to the front again with his rocking boogie piano, and him and Tail Dragger having fun with some spoken word sparring – the rest of the band right on the button, as they are all through. This fine album closes with the lengthy “Please Mr. Jailer”, another slow and intense blues, and a fitting close to a highly recommended release for all who enjoy true, traditional Chicago blues at its honest and ‘real’ best.

– Grahame Rhodes


Bear Family (Germany) (June 2012)

The Tail Dragger, Chicago blues veteran, and Bob Corritore, elegant club owner and record producer from Phoenix, teaming-up for this great set of classic style Chicago Blues, backed by a group of stellar players. TAIL DRAGGER – voc, BOB CORRITORE – hca, HENRY GRAY – pno/voc, KIRK FLETCHER – gtr, CHRIS JAMES – gtr, PATRICK RYAN – bass, BRIAN FAHEY – drums.


Living Blues Magazine (June 2012)

Tail Dragger (James Yancy Jones) has been considered a Howlin’ Wolf imitator for most of his career, but he has now become a bona fide personage in his own right and lugs his own baggage of incorrigibility. Harmonicist/producer Bob Corritore has known Tail Dragger for several decades and finally gets the opportunity to record and produce a full-length project with him. Dragger’s harp-friendly repertoire proves to be a suitable match for Corritore’s talents.

Of Dragger’s several recordings (on Delmark, St. George, and Wolf), this one may best capture the fervid essence of the man and the play-perilous atmosphere of his live shows. Although a studio recording, this has a densely-layered, wall-of-sound feel of a club setting. But also like a club setting, the tight, take-no-prisoners band threatens to dwarf the still-hearty piano playing of guest artist and former Howlin’ Wolf sideman Henry Gray.

In addition to Gray and Corritore (who seems to be everywhere lately), Dragger is backed by guitarist Chris James, bassist Patrick Rynn, and drummer Brian Fahey, who all work regularly with Corritore in Arizona. Hot Californian guitarist Kirk Fletcher also contributes to this project. The solid Chicago-style blues they all bring to this recording is consistently of the first order with special praise for the bludgeoning rhythm section.

Dragger chants the first few words to I’m Worried before the band explodes into the song with a booming tonic bass note that continues to wallop the emotions throughout the track.

John Lee Williamson’s Sugar Mama is presented as a ferociously chugging slow blues and features alternate verses by Dragger and Gray.

While most of Dragger’s vocals do conjure Wolf, he also taps into his fine approximation of Jimmy Reed on Cold Outdoors, which also provides an opportunity for Corritore to dazzle on the high end of the harp.

Birthday Blues has long been one of Dragger’s regular crowd-pleasers, which he will often sing directly in the face of the honoree. Along similar lines are Through With Youand So Ezee, a couple of his preaching blues that may start off as cautionary monologues and develop into surreal sermons sung about any number of topics.

Please Mr. Jailer finds him pleading, not on his own behalf (as those who know his history might assume), but for his incarcerated ladyfriend.Tail Dragger is credited with most of the titles, but many are reworkings of existing themes with spare lyrics delivered with his unique pacing and peculiar logic (“I know you’re gonna lie, and you’re not gonna tell the truth”).

Luciously fat on groove, Longtime Friends is patent Tail Dragger and a potent earful.

– Justin O’Brien


BealeStreet.be (Belgium) (June 2012)

“Longtime Friends in the Blues” is het minste wat je van deze twee “vrienden” kan zeggen. Ze kwamen elkaar voor het eerst tegen op 11 januari 1976 de dag na het overlijden van Howlin’ Wolf in de club 1815 in Chicago West Side, op de “Tribute to Howlin’ Wolf”. Het was natuurlijk niet toevallig dat ze elkaar daar tegenkwamen, want Tail Dragger heeft zijn naam gekregen van Howlin’ Wolf die hem bestempelde als zijn opvolger, en Bob die bevriend was met Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters en bvb Sunnyland Slim, mocht dus zeker niet ontbreken op deze Tribute. Op de cd worden ze bijgestaan door andere groten van de blues scene, Henry Gray (Piano), Kirk Fletcher – Chris James (Guitar), Patrick Rynn(Bass) en Brian Fahey(Drums).

Krachtige, pure en rauwe echte Chicago Blues is wat deze heren ons laten horen. Als je je ogen dicht doet en enkel luistert naar de stem van James Yancy Jones, de Tail Dragger dus, dan weet je perfect waarom Howlin’ Wolf hem zijn opvolger noemde. Naast het energieke harmonicaspel heeft Bob ook de productie voor de cd op zich genomen, terwijl de Tail Dragger op één na (Sugar Mama) alle nummers geschreven heeft.

Pure blues, echte old school, en heel intens. Een echt genot voor je oren. (Jepe)


Cascade Blues Society (June 2012)

If you’re a true-blooded fan of authentic Chicago blues, this new release by Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore is right up your alley. Especially if it’s a dark, gritty to the bone alley that you can only find in inner city streets that a blues soundtrack would be most appropriately fitting. This is that soundtrack. With greasy vocals supplied by Tail Dragger that harkens back to your favorite Chicago singers like Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters, they’re frightening and just oozing full of a lifetime of hardships that makes them so real. Backed by his longtime friend (as the title refers) harmonica master Bob Corritore, who may live nowadays in Phoenix, but has never lost that feel for the Windy City’s sound, this is one of the finest Chicago blues recordings to hit the market in years. And since this is a Delta Groove CD, you know that the label has thrown together a fine mesh of sidemen to compliment them every step of the way. And what sidemen! You just would be hard-pressed to find any finer than Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass, Brian Fahey on drums and special guest Henry Gray throwing down fantastic keys and vocals on one track.

Tail Dragger is credited with penning all but one song on this disc, under his given name James Yancey Jones. They all follow common themes you’ve heard hundreds of times in the blues, but finding somebody who makes that raw sound come so naturally is rather rare in this day and age and is very welcome. Not that Tail Dragger has not been around for some time, as he has a nice collection of recordings on his resume. The only song not written by Tail Dragger is УSugar Mama,Ф the Sonny boy Williamson classic covered by so many artists.

Bob Corritore has certainly been in the limelight over the past few years, with Blues Music Awards nominations for his work with guitarist Dave Riley and taking home the award last year for his historical compilation of recordings from his Phoenix club The Rhythm Room where he plays alongside stellar blues greats over the years titled Harmonica Blues. Corritore is simply one of the finest harp players on the scene today that needs to have more attention thrown his way.

Longtime Friends In The Blues is a must own for Chicago blues fans. As stated, you just will not find anything more authentic or raw than this out there today. Incredibly appealing and just down right sensational. It just doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to traditional blues.


Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange (June 2012)

This collaboration has been a long time coming. These two met in Chicago at a tribute to Howlin’ Wolf the day after his passing, and that was the beginning of a long friendship. Tail Dragger received his name from Wolf because he was always late, he was born James Yancy Jones in Arkansas. Bob was already proficient on harmonica having frequented the blues clubs before he was able to legally and was there to pay his respects to a fellow Bluesman. The two of them leaned their blues in the rough and tumble juke joints and neighborhood bars and clubs of South Chicago.

Mr. Corritore has put together an all-star cast here; Tail Dragger handles all the vocals except one song that Tail Dragger didn’t write, Sugar Mama, which is done by none other than Henry Grey who also plays piano on it. Tail Dragger’s vocals have that feel to them as if this is what he was born to do. Kirk Fletcher and Chris James handle the guitar, bass is Patrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey handles the drums. This band can and does play the material as if they were in a murky club in Chicago in the early 60s. The sound is dark and ever so edgy, rough and raw. When you close your eyes there is a packed sweaty club filled with smoke and these raw blues sounds filtering directly into your blood stream. Tough stuff, the real raw Chicago sound of the 60’s.

– Bob Gottlieb


Half Pint Blues (May 20, 2012)

Legendary Chicago blues vocalist Tail Dragger combines forces with Arizona’s very own blues ambassador and harmonica extraordinaire, Bob Corritore, to deliver a heartfelt album of pure, unadulterated, low down and dirty Chicago Blues. Featured performers include piano legend Henry Gray, guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Chris James, along with a rhythm section consisting of bassist Patrick Rynn and drummer Brian Fahey. Corritore’s previous release Harmonica Blues won the 2011 Blues Music Award for ‘Best Historical Album of the Year.’


Alt Country (Belgium) (April 2012)

“Lowdown blues is all I like… All I feel… And I sing what I feel.” Aan het woord: James Yancy Jones, je wellicht beter bekend als Tail Dragger. Die roepnaam werd Jones ooit nog opgespeld door blueslegende Howlin’ Wolf zelve. De man had nu eenmaal de kwalijke reputatie om graag te laat te komen opdagen voor optredens. Iets wat ook “The Wolfman” niet ontging dus. En over Howlin’ Wolf gesproken. Het was op 11 januari 1976, precies één dag na diens dood, dat onze twee protagonisten van vandaag, Tail Dragger en harmonicavirtuoos Bob Corritore, elkaar voor het eerst ontmoetten. Tijdens een eerbetoon aan Howlin’ Wolf in de 1815 Club in Chicago meer bepaald. Die gig markeerde het begin van een mooie vriendschap, die vroeg of laat ook wel eens moest uitmonden in een samenwerking van de twee. En die is er dus nu: het met een wel erg toepasselijke titel gezegende “Longtime Friends In The Blues” meer bepaald. En daarop gaan alle bluessluizen onvoorwaardelijk open! Het lijkt verdorie wel, alsof we onverwacht in een juke joint in Chicago aan het eind van de fifties belanden. Heerlijk ruw, heerlijk intens gaat het er hier aan toe. Met naast twee supermannen die elkaar op geweldige wijze complementeren (Wat een stem en wat een subliem blaaswerk ook!) ook nog eens de verzamelde talenten van pianist Henry Gray, jarenlang één van de vaste mannen achter Howlin’ Wolf, gitaristen Kirk Fletcher en Chris James en een uit bassist Patrick Rynn en drummer Brian Fahey bestaande ritmesectie op het appel. Het maakt van de tien zich tussen het begin van “I’m Worried” en het slot van “Please Mr. Jailer” afspelende momenten één groot bluesfeest. Eentje dat Howlin’ Wolfs boude voorspelling van weleer eindelijk volop rechtvaardigt. “One day this boy will take my place,” meende die immers ooit over Tail Dragger.


Billings Gazette (April 13, 2012)

It’s all Howlin’ Wolf on this collaboration from a couple of old Chicago blues pals — Tail Dragger, aka James Yancy Jones, and Bob Corritore.

The pair met during a Howlin’ Wolf tribute in 1976, and Henry Gray, the pianist on this set, played with Wolf for more than 12 years. And, it was Howlin’ Wolf who gave Tail Dragger his nickname, apparently for his pattern of showing up late to gigs.

Tail Dragger has long sounded like his mentor, but now at age 72 (or so, even he isn’t sure), his voice has eroded into a ragged, back-of-the-throat yowl.

Nine of the 10 cuts are Tail Dragger originals and he doesn’t mess at all with the dirty Chicago blues style that has served him so well. If not for modern recording equipment, it would still sound like the South Side on a Saturday night in 1968. In the slow-burning “Please Mr. Jailer,” Tail Dragger pleads for the release of his murderous wife, and in the seven-minute “Through with You,” he asks his baby why she keeps cheating on him.

With guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Chris James, there is plenty of showing off here and it’s all just for fun. Corritore’s harp breaks are incendiary, and on songs like “Boogie Woogie Ball” it sounds like Gray is playing with hammers for fingers. Gray, a fine vocalist himself, trades lines here and there with Tail Dragger.


Roots Time Belgium (April 20, 2012)

Bluesveteraan James Yancy Jones uit Arkansas, door Howlin’ Wolf herdoopt als Tail Dragger, is al jaren lang bevriend met harmonicaspeler Bob Corritore uit Arizona. Zij ontmoetten elkaar in januari 1976 in de ‘1815 club’ in Chicago en houden sindsdien contact met elkaar. Dus komt de titel van dit album niet zomaar uit de lucht gevallen. Ook andere vrienden vervoegen het duo, zoals de gitaristen Kirk Fletcher en Chris James en pianist Henry Gray, die nog in de band van Howlin’ Wolf heeft meegespeeld. Bassist Patrick Rynn en drummer Brian Fahey zijn het dynamisch duo uit de ritmesectie. Het resultaat komt neer op een samenballing van pure Chicagoblues van topniveau. De schorre stem van Jones en het harmonicavuur van Corritore laten de nachtclubsfeer herleven van de tijd toen Howlin’ Wolf destijds in obscure locaties met gans zijn lijf de blues uitstraalde

Ook Jones en Corritore zijn beide doorwinterde bluesmannen. Corritore heeft zijn eigen club en promoot de blues waar hij kan, hetzij als producer hetzij als bandleider of co-begeleider. Tail Dragger liep al in 1966 Howlin’ Wolf tegen het lijf en gaat na diens dood zowat door als diens incarnatie. Op dit album is de zanger, die zelf zijn songs schrijft, echter in de eerste plaats zijn eigen enthousiaste zelf. Hij hecht aan zijn emotionele zang de kracht van jarenlange ervaring. De gruizige gitaren maken de Chicago sound nog groezeliger alsof de geest van Howlin’ Wolf zijn schaduw over de instrumenten drapeert. Corritore’s harmonica danst, dartelt of vlijt zich rond Tail Dragger’s zang al naargelang diens stemming. Drummer Brian Fahey houdt de wacht, geruststellend of ‘dirty’ dreigend.

Het vriendengroepje kiest afwisselend voor funkblues of slowblues, alles oerdegelijk en ingeleefd zoals de traditie dat vereist in de clubs in en rond de West Side van Chicago. Bij de slowblues ‘Please Mr. Jailer’ hoopt de zanger het hart van de gevangenisbewaker te vermurwen. ‘Boogie Woogie Ball’ springt er qua dynamiek uit. Henry Gray lanceert zich met extra drive op zijn toetsen, aangemoedigd door maestro Tail Dragger zelf. Ook ‘So Ezee’ inspireert tot dansen, maar dan in trager tempo. Alles wijst erop dat alle muzikanten tezamen daar in de studio een ‘Hell of a Time’ beleefden. Zij geven dit ook door aan de luisteraar. En Bob Corritore deed weer uitstekend werk als producer door die geanimeerde sound te capteren.

– Marcie


Caru (Italy) (April 20, 2012)

Il leggendario cantante blues di Chicago, Tail Dragger, unisce le forze con l’armonicista dell’Ariziona Bob Corritore, vincitore del Blues Music Award 2011 con il suo discoprecedente, Harmonica Blues. Longtime Friend in The Blues è un disco di Chicago blues, suonato nel modo più classico, in cui appaiono anche il mitico Henry Gray, i chitarristi Kirk Fletcher e Chris James, il bassista Patrick Rynn ed altri protagonisti della scena di Chicago.


AZ Weekly (May 17, 2012)

Another blues CD worth a listen is Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore’s “Longtime Friends In The Blues.” This Delta Groove Production was released in March. Nobody in the world today plays harmonica the way Corritiore performs. Corritore has his own blues show on KJZZ radio on Sunday nights. He also owns the Rhythm Room, the oldest blues venue in Phoenix. If Tail Dragger sounds like a strange name, well he’ll stick to it because that’s the nickname that Howlin’ wolf gave him because he showed up late for gigs. Blues vocalist Tail Dragger remains in the old Chicago blues mold, which is some of the best that can be found.

– Stan “Blues Magician” Bindell


Blues Finland (Finland) (April 2012)

Savoyssa tömisteltiin

Helsingin Savoy-teatteri oli viikonlopun ajan pullollaan juurimusiikkia. Tail Dragger ja Bob Corritore puhkuivat Chicagon tuulia. Varsinaisten konserttien lisäksi pidettiin myyjäisiä ja koulutusta

Helsingin Stompin’ at the Savoy -festivaali järjestettiin todellisella jokaiselle jotakin -periaatteella. Kahden illan konsertteihin oli valittu esiintyjät laajalla skaalalla. Mukana oli räyhäkästä vaihtoehtobluesia, skata ja yksi tv-ohjelma Idolsistakin tuttu kasvo. “Virallisen” osuuden lisäksi viikonloppuun mahtuivat parit pitkät bluesjamit, sunnuntainen markkinatapahtuma, kitara-workshop ja koululaiskonsertti.

Etukäteen mielenkiintoisimmaksi nimeksi Savoy-teatterin esiintyjäkaartista nousivat herrat Tail Dragger ja Bob Corritore. Ensimmäistä kertaa Suomessa vierailleen parivaljakon tuoreen levyn perusteella tiesin luvassa olevan jämäkkää vääntöä. “Longtime Friends In The Blues” tarjoaa nimittäin karua vanhan liiton Chicago-bluesia – perusmeininkiä, joka nykyisessä tyylikirjojen tulvassa tuppaa jäämään vaihtoehtoiseen ja jopa marginaaliseen asemaan.

Levyn nimi ei ole tuulesta temmattu fraasi. Dragger ja Corritore ovat tunteneet toisensa jo lähes neljäkymmentä vuotta. Vaikka he ovat vuosien saatossa paljon soittaneet yhdessä, tämä on vasta heidän ensimmäinen kimppalevynsä.

Tail Draggerin laulutyyli tuo elävästi mieleen Howlin’ Wolfin. Ei olekaan suuren suuri yllätys, että samaisen Suden hän mainitsee tärkeimmäksi esikuvakseen. Tail Draggerin ohjelmisto sisältää yksinkertaisen tehokasta perusbluesia, jossa ei juurikaan runoilulle ole sijaa. Vahvalla tunteella ryyditetyt tekstit edustavat useimmiten toteavaa realismia. Hyvästä esimerkistä käy ilmeisen omakohtainen “My Head Is Bald”.

Aitoon vanhan liiton tyyliin Dragger ei viihdy korkealla lavalla “näytillä”, vaan haluaa päästä ottamaan kontaktia yleisöön. Savoyssa hän käppäili heti setin aluksi alas lavalta ja lauloi keikan suoraan eturivin väelle. Samaan aikaan lavalla bändi tarjosi maukasta taustatukea.


BluesPowR (May 2012)

A few slightly more recognizable names in the blues collaborated for this compendium of raw Chicago blues, led by veteran Chicago blues singer James Yancy Jones – nicknamed “Tail Dragger” by his old friend Howlin’ Wolf – and Chicago-born, now Arizona-based (but seemingly omnipresent) harmonica player Bob Corritore, who also produced the project.

Celebrating a friendship that began in January 1976 when Jones and Corritore both performed as part of a tribute to Howlin’ Wolf (who had died the previous day) at the 1815 Club on Chicago’s West Side, Longtime Friends in the Blues includes nine original tracks from Tail Dragger along with a terrific cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Sugar Mama.” Joined by longtime Howlin’ Wolf pianist Henry Gray (who also takes a turn on vocals with “Sugar Mama”), guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Chris James, bassist Patrick Rynn, and drummer Brian Fahey, the two friends work through a stellar set of songs ranging from the shuffling opener “I’m Worried” to the boogie woogie of “Boogie Woogie Ball” and the slow, pleading blues of “Please Mr. Jailer.”

Accompanied by some particularly fine piano and Corritore’s plaintive harp, Tail Dragger’s deep, often Wolf-like vocals take on a bit more of a Jimmy Reed sound for the “Cold Outdoors,” with other highlights including the swinging “So Ezee,” a concerned but patient “She’s Worryin’ Me,” and a real tail-dragger of a tune in “Through with You.” No fancy stuff here: just some solid, hard-hitting Chicago blues from a bunch of guys who clearly know how it’s done.

Mike Rick

Mystic River (April 2012)

Desde 1976, Dragger cola y Corritore Bob han estado llevando a cabo la intensidad de la prima de blues lowdown en su mejor pegajoso, sudoroso.Su álbum, viejos amigos en el blues se ofrece directamente a un garito lleno de vapor de Chicago en los años 50.

No es de extrañar que el legendario lobo de Howlin ‘otorgado James Jones Yancy su nombre, “Dragger cola”.

Dragger Cola es una viva imagen de El Lobo, hasta su áspero, abajo y sucio voz. Dragger cola y Corritore no sólo jugar.

Estos músicos de blues lowdown sentir cada nota de vapor de sus blues.El álbum está lleno de tradicionales blues de Chicago de los mejores de la ciudad de los vientos. También es un guiño virtual para el Lobo tarde, muy bien. Los canales de la cola Dragger …

El blues maestro, especialmente en las dos primeras vías, con el aullido del lobo lame la marca y de temática.

Dragger tiene su propio estilo, un poco arrastrando las vocales, y los golpes Corritore un amplificado armónica como el viento detrás de él una combinación potente.

Henry Gray, quien tocaba el piano con Big Maceo Merriwether y más tarde de Howlin ‘Wolf, añade un sonido valiosa, emocionante piano de barrelhouse al álbum.

En “Boogie Woogie Ball”, el reloj maestro de piano realmente se pone de largo su tiempo para brillar, ya que juega un rockin ‘Boogie sintonía, mientras que el intercambiode un nuevo entretenimiento y hacia atrás con Dragger cola.Nueve de los diez temas son originales, con lo que un gran aire de frescura a un sonido tradicional. Reunido el día después de Howlin ‘Wolf murió, los dos músicos muy cualificados han sido amigos desde la década de 1970.Con la mejor en ese trad. Sonido de Chicago, incluyendoKirk Fletcher y Chris James en la guitarra, Patrick Rynn en el bajo, y Brian Fahey en la batería, el álbum estaba destinado a ser un moderno golpe de blues de Chicago.


Blues News (Finland) (June 2012)

Osuvan nimen kaverit ovat valinneet levylle ”Longtime Friends In The Blues”, ja se juontaa juurensa tietysti miesten pitkäaikaiseen ystävyyteen hamasta 70-luvun alusta asti. Tämän levyn myötä kaverukset vievät meidät kuulijat vielä kauemmas aikojen taakse hikisensavuiseen 50-luvun Chicagoon. Kuten alan ihmiset tietävät, Tail Dragger on saanut nimensä Wolfin esittämän (Willie Dixonin säveltämän) samannimisen kappaleen mukaan. James Yancy Jones ”ansaitsi” kyseisen kutsumanimen, kun seurasi Wolfin jalan- tai tietysti täytyisi sanoa äänen jälkiä, sillä Mr. Tail Dragger laulaa aivan kuin Wolf-vainaa. Levyn muusikot ovat huippuluokkaa, siitä iso kiitos harpisti Bob Corritorelle, joka on löytänyt juuri sopivat soittajat jokaiseen instrumenttiin; kaikki tietävät täysin, mitä ja miten Wolfit täytyy soittaa. Hyvänä esimerkkinä sopisi vaikka John Lee ”Sonny Boy I” Williamsonin Sugar Mama, jossa kuuluu niin Wolfin laulu ja harppu, Sumlinin iki-ihana kitarointi, kuin itsensä Henry Greyn piano ja tukena oleva laulukin. Cold Outdoors on poikkeus rutiiniin, sillä se on miehen toisen suosikin eli Jimmy Reedin kappale, jossa kaikki palaset esitetään jälleen lain ja sääntöjen mukaan, Reedin laulua ja harppua sekä Eddie Taylorin kitaraa myöten. Kun Chicagossa kerran huidellaan, niin kyllä silloin kylän toinenkin suuruus eli Muddy Waters on lähistöllä, kappaleet Through With You ja Done Got Old lähestyvät myös kyseisen miehen tuotantoa. Kuten todettua, levyllä soittaneet muusikot ovat alansa huippua, kitaristit Kirk Fletcher ja Chris James, basisti Patrick Rynn sekä rumpali Brian Fahey, todellinen bluesharpisti Bob Corritore sekä elävä legenda, Howling Wolfin pitkäaikainen luottopianisti Henry Gray, joka lukeutuu niihin muutamiin isoihin nimiin (kuten Otis Spann ja Johnny Jones), jotka ovat saaneet oppinsa itseltään Big Maceo Merriwetherilta. Ne onnelliset Teistä, jotka olitte kevään Stompin’at the Savoy -konsertissa ja näitte Tail Draggerin ja Bob Corritoren esiintyvän Tomi Leino Trion taustoittamana, tiedätte hyvin millaista musiikkia levy pitää sisällään. Ja muiden kannattaa ehdottomasti hankkia se jostain valtakunnan hyvin varustetusta levykaupasta – jos aito, hyvin soitettu, rehellinen
50-luvun Chicago blues kiinnostaa.

Keep on Bluesin’ – Jari Kolari


A1 Blues (June 2012)

These are some of the best songs I’ve heard Tail Dragger do. Bob Corritore plays some very good harp as well as producing this all star CD. This CD has the king of the piano, the great Henry Gray and impressive guitar work by Kirk Fletcher and Chris James. The rhythm section of Patrick Rynn on bass and Brian Fahey on drums makes everything work great.


Chicago Blues Guide (July 1, 2012)

If any one of you would dare to say that the blues is dead then you haven’t heard this latest disc from the folks at Delta Groove. This record is the natural child of Chicago’s great Chess Recording artists, being that Tail Dragger is a protégé of the late great Howlin’ Wolf, one of the Chess label’s most influential stars. Tail Dragger is joined by Henry Gray at the piano, adding his flavor to the mix. Henry also played with the Wolf for twelve years and his addition to the recording really adds to the Chess era sound. Long Time Friends is a celebration of that classic Chicago blues style, yet it sounds fresh and energized while remaining perfectly authentic and true to style throughout. No one fans the flames of love for Chicago’s post war electric blues harder than ex-Chicagoan and musical impresario, Bob Corritore, who goes way back with Tail Dragger to the seediest clubs on Chicago’s blues scene. An accomplished blues harp player, Bob is also a club owner, DJ and record producer with several fine award winning recordings to his credit. At his Phoenix nightclub, the Rhythm Room, Bob has hosted a “who’s who” of blues artists, usually backing them on harp along with his hand-crafted band, the Rhythm Room All-Stars: Chris James (guitar), Kirk Fletcher (guitar), Patrick Rynn (bass) and Brian Fahey (drums). All of them appear on Long Time Friends. This tight little unit of traditional blues professionals shows its familiarity by casting an airtight groove and riding it throughout the disc, thereby imparting a unity of feel that is as satisfying as a great meal. Guitarists James and Fletcher play so seamlessly together it was impossible for me to tell who was playing what and when. On Longtime Friends in the Blues, Bob joins forces with his old friend, the notorious West Side Blues singer/songwriter and Delmark recording artist, James Yancy Jones better known as Tail Dragger. The CD starts when Tail Dragger says “Baby I’m worried about you.” “I’m Worried” blends the voice of Corritore’s moaning harp with Jones’ wailing growl as the band comes in swinging; you’re suddenly transported back to some West Side dive on a Saturday night in the long ago; smoke is thick and the dance floor is packed. You almost smell the ripe, fecund alcohol sweat, smoke and perfume scents of a steamy juke. A hypnotic one-chord groove with its raw, insistent rhythm grabs you by the hips. Tail Dragger’s growling, guttural, emotive voice comes from some tortured place deep in his soul, wailing out over a thick layer of blues, guitars, keys and harp — all laying down a fat groove that goes on and on to form a blues siren song.

“Sugar Mama” is a medium tempo lump-de-lump that gives the two guitarists a chance to show off their considerable skills, trading fills with perfectly timed harp licks. Henry Gray and Tail Dragger share vocal duties on this tune by trading choruses. Here, Henry Gray’s delivery (more in a Muddy Waters vocal style) makes a nice counterpoint to Tail Dragger’s Wolf-like crooning, adding a new dimension to the Chess style mix.

“Birthday Blues” is a pleasant up-tempo shuffle. It has a nice relaxed feel and Tail Dragger shows off his sense of humor with lyrics that gently chide, “How old, how old are you? You tell me you’re sixteen; they told me you were thirty-two.” Bob delivers a nice rhythmic solo on blues harp.

“She’s Worryin’ Me” is a slow blues filled with barrelhouse drama: “Fell on ma knees and I couldn’t even pray! She’d hurt me so bad she drove my spirit away.” This song is so heartfelt you can’t help but be moved by the raw emotion in Tail Dragger’s voice. This song is definitely getting played on my personal playlist (and on my next few radio shows; I can’t wait to share this!)

“Cold Outdoors” is a Jimmy Reed style shuffle, one of my favorite grooves, and Bob has that wonderful first position, lazy, drunk-sounding harp to go with it. Tail Dragger is spot-on with his vocal delivery as Henry Gray fairly channels the spirit of Sunnyland Slim, or possibly Otis Spann, on his piano break. I absolutely love this track.

“So Ezee” starts with an admonishment by Tail Dragger: “This is a message to the world! Wake up and stop crackin’ jokes, cause it’s easy to be misled!” The band jumps off into a swinging little shuffle with a great groove. “Everybody got to use their head. You got to use it in court, use it when you vote, use your head before you crack a joke,” warns Tail Dragger. Bob Corritore shows his versatility, compared to the previous Jimmy Reed style approach, to throwing down some Carey Bell style harp attack, just before someone (either Chris James or Kirk Fletcher) rocks the house with perfect guitar solos on two choruses.

Great swaths of dirty guitar kick off “Through With You,” a slow drag that continues the troublesome woman theme, (Tail Dragger should try a different method of finding mates, his luck with women is terrible, if you are to believe his songs!). The music is dense and heavy with layers of guitars, keys and harp all wailing in response to Tail Dragger’s lament: “bought you a ring and I bought you a wedding dress, too. You got to settle down baby please! Tell me what you going to do…You know you can’t have me and have some other man too.” Henry Gray pounds out his pain on the piano like a jackhammer.

“Done Got Old,” is a great up tempo shuffle with a really interesting interplay of guitar and piano going on; at the same time, Tail Dragger’s vocal line is braided through the top layer like a rhythm instrument in the same way that Louis Armstrong used his vocal like a rhythm instrument. It’s almost too much great stuff, crammed together with no space left unfilled. By the time you get to the end of this song, you need a complete change of pace, which they neatly deliver.

A swampy feeling, boogie piano-led romp, “Boogie Woogie Ball,” features Henry Gray’s infallible sense of rhythm, rockin’ and rolling all over that piano, with fine swinging support from the rhythm section. Tail Dragger improvises some jive talking with Henry over the rhythm that adds to the party feel. A tip of the hat must be given to drummer Brian Fahey, whose loose pocket swings effortlessly, creating a spirited, airy groove. The harp, here played acoustic and without distortion, is dancing around, adding simple train rhythms to counterpoint Fahey’s snappy snare. This is a great tune to spin at your next fete to laissez les bon temps rouler!

The record wraps with a slow blues, “Please Mr. Jailer,” which is a pretty juicy story in the great blues tradition that involves murder, judges and alibis. This, like the majority of songs on this disc, was written by Tail Dragger who is a fascinating story teller with a gift of timing, pathos and sincerity that is compelling enough to hold your attention through the whole disc as he spins these barroom vignettes; each song is a slice of life, revealing raw emotion drenched in layers of blues. If you love real blues, then you’ll want to own Longtime Friends in the Blues.

A true renaissance woman, Liz Mandeville is a singer, award-winning songwriter, guitarist, journalist, painter, educator, radio host and all around bon vivant. She has performed all over the world and has four CDs on the Earwig Music label to her credit.

She just started her own indie label, Blue Kitty Music.


Blues Finland (Finland) (June 28, 2012)

Kuten oheisesta haastattelusta käy ilmi, vannovat herrat Tail Dragger ja Bob Corritore vanhakantaisen ja karun Chicago-bluesin nimeen. Heidän ensimmäisellä, Delta Grooven julkaisemalla yhteislevyllään ”Longtime Friends in the Blues” turha siloittelu loistaa poissaolollaan ja kaiken taustalla häilyy valtaisa Suden varjo. Heti avausraita ”I’m Worried” on silkkaa Howlin’ Wolfia. Junttaavan kitarariffin päälle Tail Dragger purkaa huoliaan raakaan tyyliin. Corritoren harppu ja Henry Grayn piano vuorottelevat lyhykäisissä filleissä. Levyn ainoa lainapiisi, Sonny Boy
Williamsonin ”Sugar Mama”, päästää kitaroitakin etualalle, ja ikinuori Gray duetoi laulajana.Levy säilyttää linjansa alusta loppuun. Vaikka bändi välillä syöksyykin kahden kitaran, harpun ja pianon voimin kilvan soittamaan fillejä, missään vaiheessa se ei heittäydy soittotaidossa kilvoittelun höttöiselle polulle. Kukin musikantti pysyttelee lajityypin raameissa ja satsaa enemmänkin fiilikseen kuin tekniikkaan.

Corritoren harppu nousee monin paikoin päällimmäiseksi instrumentiksi ja alistaa kitaratkin taakseen. Toki Grayn pianokin hetkensä saa. Muusta materiaalista piristävänä poikkeuksena esiin nousee Grayn pianon varaan rakennettu ”Boogie Woogie Ball”. Rivakan ja kepeän jamittelun päälle Dragger ja Gray höpöttävät niitä näitä.

Tail Draggerin teksteissä ei kielikuvilla herkutella, vaan ne ovat tyyliltään lähinnä toteavia. Levyllä kuuluu laajemminkin olevan ideana, että yleisölle tarjotaan vain totuus – mitään siihen lisäämättä tai pois jättämättä. Ja se totuus on tietysti elämänmakuinen blues.

– Marko Aho


Megaliner.ws (Samoa) (June 2, 2012)

“Там где убывает черного, пребывает белого. Процесс в последнее десятилетие стал ясным, как ясный день: негры не только покинули аудитории, где звучит блюз, они сдали белым и сам блюз. Престарелые обломки прежней роскоши, типа старика Тейдраггера, ещё тревожат покой всё более стерильной блюзовой среды, ещё хрипят и извиваются в духе великого Вулфа, самим присутствием оживляя сцену.

Колорит самого персонажа делает диск привлекательным: негр поёт, словно время не властно, оно остановилось минуток на 50, пока крутится пластинка и остановилось эдак на годе 1953-м. James Y. Jones (истинное имя 72-летнего старика) поразительно артистичен в пении простого как шарманка деревенского блюза. Он не сдаётся, не уступает годящемуся ему в сыновья Бобу и прочим белым ребятам. – Дело в том, что аккомпанируют белые и в этом победная формула подобных проектов – черная стариковская харизма + техничное «веселье» белых «мальчиков».

Боб – один знаменосцев чикагского стиля. Превосходно тренированный гармонист в данном случае он исповедует простоту ровно настолько насколько того требует задумка – сделать красивую оправу для грубого алмаза-Драгер, причём так, чтобы оправа вышла под стать камню. Боюсь, если бы Драггер сделал бы подобную запись со своими лабухами из прошлых черных составов, едва ли вышло бы так освежающе. «Longtime Friends In The Blues» – «новый чёрно-белый чикагский стиль» высшей пробы.

В 2007 Драггер приезжал в Москву.

P.S. Tail Dragger, вопреки распространенному заблуждению, не «Висящий Хвост», а значит на чёрном сленге «Себе на уме» (заметающий следы хвостом, то есть скрытный. Так его называл Вулф).”


Blues Again! (France) (May 2012)

Ces deux-là ne se connaissent pas d’hier. Leur amitié est née le soir du 11 janvier 1976 quand ils se sont retrouvés sur la même scène pour rendre hommage à Howlin’Wolf décédé la veille. Tail Dragger, désigné comme son successeur par Howlin’ Wolf lui-même, figure majeure de la scène de Chicago depuis les années 70, énorme voix à l’instar de son mentor, exprime un blues râpeux, sauvage, lien entre tradition et modernité. Il est un des derniers à maintenir l’esprit du son mythique du West side. Bob Corritore qui a forgé son style auprès des grands noms aujourd’hui disparus de la Windy city, provoque toujours l’étincelle qui met le feu aux poudres avec ses riffs déchaînés d’harmonica. N’oublions pas non plus sur cet enregistrement la présence d’un autre compagnon de scène du Wolf, le pianiste Henry Gray qui reprend un titre de John Lee Williamson (‘Sugar Mama’). Excepté cette reprise, Tail Dragger est l’auteur et l’intreprète des neuf autres chansons de ce CD. Kirk Fletcher et Chris James(guitares), Patrick Rynn (basse) et Brian Fahey (batterie) dont les noms ne sont certainement pas inconnus des amateurs, constituent le band idéal pour cette puissante giclée de blues made in Chicago.

– Gilles Blampain


ReviewTheBlues.com (Netherlands) (June 2012)

Met namen als Bob Corritore, Henry Gray (ex pianist van Howlin Wolf), Kirk Fletcher, Chris James en Patrick Ryen en Brain Fahey als ritme sectie kan het op zichzelf al niet meer mis gaan en als Mister Tail Dragger himself het clubje mag lijden zijn we verzekerd van ‘old school Chicago blues’ die je zal raken tot op het bot. Ok, ik ben misschien bevooroordeeld door mijn samenwerking met Tail Dragger op mijn eigen ‘Human Ways’ album enz., maar ik weet zeker dat ik niet overdrijf als ik zeg dat dit echt een van de laatste traditionele bluesmannen is uit Chicago.

Tail Dragger is altijd trouw gebleven aan de roots en laat zich niet meeslepen door geldzaken en commercie. The Blues is waar hij het voor doet en zolang hij zijn verhaal kan vertellen ben ik er zeker van dat hij niet aan stoppen zal denken. “Longtime friends in the blues” is een initiatief van harpist Bob Corritore die ook al een behoorlijke tijd meedraait als muzikant maar ook als producer.

Ook bracht hij vorig jaar zijn solo album “Harmonica Blues” uit met vele interessante gast muzikanten. (net als deze schijf ook op Delta Groove)

Zoals de titel al doet voorkomen zijn Tail Dragger en Bob al lange tijd bevriend en spelen al samen sinds de jaren 70. Op deze plaat staan een aantal tracks die Tail Dragger al eerder heeft opgenomen maar toch weer in een geheel andere sfeer wat mede door Henry Gray lijkt te komen omdat er naar mijn weten op de andere Tail Dragger releases geen piano voorkomt. Henry Gray zingt ook wat coupletten mee met “Suger Mama” en brengt een prachtige boogie woogie op “Boogie Woogie Ball”. Omdat de Mondharmonica en piano mee aandacht krijgen is het niet echt een gitaar plaat geworden dus niet zo veel gitaar solo’s als op bv “Live at roosters lounge” met gitarist Rockin’ Johnny maar Kirk Fletcher en Chris James zorgen samen met de steady ritme sectie voor een strakke begeleiding band. Dus al met al een prachtig album vol met the real deal!

BSMF (Japan) (April 2012)



Sam’s Record Shop (Japan) (June 2012)

1940年生まれの激ヤバ・シカゴ・ブルースマンのテイル・ドラッガーと、これまでの写真では若くは見えるけど、サムズのおぢさまよりは3歳若いだけの 56歳!40年に渡り活動を続けるベテラン・ハーモニカ・プレイヤー、ボブ・コリトー。長きに渡る二人の見事なコンビネーションに基づくリアル・シカゴ・ブルース・アルバム!リアル・へヴィー・シカゴ・サウンドの新しいモノをお探しの方にはコレ


95Music.com (Japan) (April 20, 2012)



Bluesrag (June 2012)

Tremendous sweat equity was invested here. Because steamrollers like “She’s Worryin’ Me” or piledrivers with the slam of “So Ezee” just don’t pulverize all by themselves, you know. Serious manpower’s needed to grind out the meaning of old-world Chicago as flawlessly as does Longtime Friends In The Blues. It’s ferociously fun. And so is its commander. Although named James Yancy Jones by Mom in 1940, Howlin’ Wolf knew better, personally crowning him Tail Dragger in the ’60s. And the legendary graybeard has been coating songs with the lowdown muck from one of the premier slop-jar voices ever since. HIs partner in grime is Bob Corritore, who, having aided and abetted just about anyone who’s ever been blue since the ’70s, has the city’s whole hardcore history at the ready inside his harmonica. By constantly striking out with long, biting phrases from crevices in a wall of shuffling rhythm, that harp becomes the head of the snake. Guitarist Kirk Fletcher and Wolf’s piano man Henry Gray (!!) strike out, too, but spend more time cemented into that all-for-one-and-one-for-all ensemble. Never does anyone leave the comfort of the gutbucket, though. That, in turn, plays right into Dragger’s wheelhouse, baiting his buzzsaw into shredding whatever’s around: the hard slap of “Birthday Blues,” his “Through With You” two-timing lady, this entire set that’s worthy of every houserocker’s admiration. Just don’t break the news that, despite obvious preparedness, they can’t cut heads down at Pepper’s Lounge since it’s no longer 1958.

– Dennis Rozanski


IRDEB (Brazil) (July 3, 2012)

O Educadora Blues começa, na primeira parte, trazendo o novo álbum de “Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore”, intitulado “Long Time Friends In The Blues”, sob selo Delta Groove Productions.

Trata-se de um disco voltado para os admiradores mais conservadores do gênero Chicago Blues e que ainda traz como convidado especial Kirk Fletcher, um dos maiores guitarristas da atualidade.O gaitista Bob Corritore é um dos mais expressivos da atualidade.

– Álvaro Assmar


Blues & Co (France) (Issue 60, 2012)

C’est en cherchant un boulot de mécanicien à Chicago que Le septuagénaire Tail Dragger a découvert avec passion Le blues.  Doté d’une voic profonde et caverneuse, l’homme de l’Arkansas s’est imprégné fortement du style vocal d’Howling Wolf pour qui IL a une Grande admiration.  Sentant son talent de chanteur, Howling Wolf dira de lui « un jour ce garçon prendra ma place ».  Tail Dragger se fera une bonne réputation dans Le West Side de la Windy City.  Ce disque EST produit par l’harmoniciste Bob Corritore qui EST aussi chef d’orchestre et propriétaire de club.  Il a invité Le pianiste Henry Gray, les deux guitaristes Kirk Fletcher et Chris James, la rythmique formée par Patrick Rynn (basse) et Brian Fahey (batterie) à rejoindre Le principal intéressé Tail Dragger.  « Dragueur queue », surnom donné par Howling Wolf, EST l’auteur de tous les titres sauf  « Sugar Mama »  de John Lee  « Sonny Boy » Williamson où as voix s’imprègne totalement de son maître Chester Burnett dit Le loup hurleur.  Bob Corritore n’est pas reste avec son harmonica qui dégage de la chaleur communicative non seulement sur ce morceau mais sur l’ensemble du disque.  « Cold Outdoors » EST  un blues lancinant où cette fois ci Bob Corritore et Tail Dragger jouent dans Le style  « Jimmy Reed »; ce qui convient parfaitement pour ce tempo nonchalant.  « So Ezee », EST peut-être un jeu de mot!  ….en tout cas, cela swingue méchamment!  La batterie de Brian Fahey tonne sourdement sans marteler fortement.  Avant de terminer sur un blues lent  « Please Mr Jailer », j’ai retenu  « Boogie Woogie Ball ».  Ce morceau endiablé et vivifiant vous donne envie de vous trémousser.  Il n’y a certainement rien de nouveau avec ce disque, c’est exact!  Mais alors… Que c’est bon!; cela chaloupe, swingue, balance à n’en plus finir!  C’est de la bonne musique que l’on redemande sans jamais se lasser. Au fait!  Quand je vais prendre la route, IL NE faudra pas que j’oublie de mettre ce disque dans la voiture!

– Bruno Marie


BCR (France) (Issue 29)

Décidément Le label de Randy Chortkoff met en ce moment la barre trés haute! Deux cd reçus, deux indiscutables diamants bruts. D’ailleurs, comme je Le dis souvent rien n’est hasard, mais simplement travail passion, patience et talent! C’est Le cas ici, avec en plus un longue amitié entre les deux principaux intervenants. Pas un hasard non plus is cet album EST classé en tête Des hits parades Des Web Radio Blues (CRB).

On salive en retrouvant ces deux complices qui mettent ensemble leur talent au service du Blues Old School avec en filigrane une amitié et un profond respect. On n’est in dans Le balbutiement, in dans Le gazouillement, on se vautre ici dans un nectar de notes efficaces. Depuis prés de 30 ans, Bob Corritore de Phoenix Arizona roule avec ferveur et passion pour les musiques afro-américaines, que ce soit sur les ondes de KJZZ, et durtout sur scène, ou IL fait véritablement pleurer son harmonica. Musicien, animateur radio, producteur, Bob EST sur tous les fronts en ce qui concerne Le blues. Ce amis sont Tom Cat Courtney, Dave Riley avec qui IL a tourné et participé à un album, Lazy Lester, Otis Clay, Chris James.

Tête de Pont du label Delmark de Chicago, Tail Dragger avec Des albums comme My Head Is Bald, puis Live At The Rooster’s Lounge, capturé live au coeur du West Side de Chicago, nous a habitué à un bon vieux blues pur jus, tradition Muddy Waters; cet album estla réunion amicale Des deux bonhommes! Entre Le génie du ruine babines de Phoenix et Le vieux bluesman sommeillait une veille amitié et une Grande complicité qui transpire sur cet album.

Tail Dragger nous captive par as voix d’outre tombe gorgée d’émotion et de feeling, et Bob Corritore enrobe la mélodie d harmonica avec grand talent. Bien sur d’autres amis sont présents! Le non moins succulent bassiste Patrick Rynn, et Le fidéle et talentueux Chris James qui s’éclate bien à la guitare avec son complice Kirk FletcherDes Mannish Boys. Tout a été capturé avec une sincère complicité, on Le sent à l’écoute. Un travail d’équipe ou chacun combine ses forces et son talent pour approcher au plus prés Le coeur du Chicago Blues.

Ce bon vieux son Old School inventé par la vielle garde dans les fifties EST ici remit à l’honneur en Dix titres. Puissance, profondeur et émotion sont les clefs de voute de cet album. Une voix magistrale, celle de Tail Dragger, un harmonica trainant, qui sait devenir lancinant ou mélancolique, pour rebondir vif et ardent, celui de Bob Corritore, un piano dégoulinant de notes divines, celui d’Henry Gray et Des guitares piquantes au service d’une élégance musicale qui n’a rien à envier aux pères fondateurs. Une amicale collaboration musicale qui se transforme en un jouissif torrent de blues savants et authentiques.

– Joel Bizon


Blues Bytes – June’s Pick Hit! (June 2012)

Blues purists will love Delta Groove’s pairing of Chicago shouter Tail Dragger and harp master Bob Corritore on Longtime Friends in the Blues. This disc of Tail Dragger originals features tight arrangements and a stellar backing band of Henry Gray, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James, Patrick Rynn and Brian Fahey. So let’s give it a listen

Tail Dragger starts out letting us know that he’s concerned about his woman in “I’m Worried.” “I’m worried…babe, I’m worried about you…feel so bad…cause I don’t know what to do!” We really don’t know what Tail Dragger’s worried about but something wrong with his woman is definitely on his mind.

Bob’s harp tones provide the intro for our next cut, “Sugar Mama.” Tail Dragger is flirting up a storm, “please tell me sugar mama…where do you get that sugar from?” Henry Gray lends a supporting vocal in the hunt to determine where Sugar Mama gets her sugar from and the conclusion is from her mama, a sugar plum! Tail Dragger is an inquisitive sort and he’s asking a woman the wrong question in “Birthday Blues.” “I know you ain’t going to tell me…girl, how old are you? I hope you live on…and have so many more…happy birthday…happy birthday to you!”

Rocks is my pillow…cold ground is my bed…highway is my home and I might as well be dead…I’m worried!” “She’s Worryin’ Me” finds Tail Dragger in tough straits as the woman in his life isn’t taking care of him and he’s not sure why. It sounds like a situation that isn’t about to change so hopefully Tail Dragger will move on to greener pastures. “Cold Outdoors” finds Tail Dragger contemplating the changes in the weather and his domestic situation. “Cold outdoors….I believe it’s going to snow…and if you let me come back home….honey, I won’t do wrong no more.” Tail Dragger has been a bad man and is hoping that she has a change of heart and gives him another chance. I’m not sure that confessing all of his sins is a good idea but Tail Dragger lets her know, “if you let me come back you, I’ll gonna be true to you!”

“So Ezee” opens up with a verbal admonishment from Tail Dragger, “you know, this is a message to the Wolf, the old folks and the young ones too. Wake up, quit cracking jokes and use your head….cause it’s so ezee to be misled!” Tail Dragger has the acquired wisdom of his age behind him and its good advice, “everybody got to use their head!” Hopefully the acquired wisdom will serve him well in our next cut, “Through With You”. Tail Dragger’s in a situation where his woman is cheating on him and he’s letting her know, “what are you trying to do…you know you can’t love me…and have another man too…I want you for my wife…baby, you got to change your life!” I’m not sure that I would have Tail Dragger’s patience with this woman but more power to him for trying.

More harmonica fills my ears as Tail Dragger is trying to let a woman down easy in “Done Got Old.” “Done got old…baby, I’ve got to let you go…you done me wrong…I can’t stand it no more!” Piano fills from Henry Gray accentuates Tail Dragger’s determination to move on and let this woman go. Henry’s twinkling keys lead us into our next cut, “Boogie Woogie Ball.” The band’s in good form and enjoying the boogie woogie beat as Henry and Tail Dragger verbally reminisce about a big legged woman from the night before.

Long Time Friends in the Blues closes with a slow ballad, “Please Mr. Jailer,” as Tail Dragger pleads the cause of his woman in jail. “I know she didn’t commit no crime…cause she was laying at home in the bed with me!” Whether or not he’s telling the truth, Tail Dragger is lost without this woman and wants nothing more to bring her back home to him.

Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore have delivered a classic set of old school blues with an armada of great players behind them. They’re out on the road a lot this summer and there aren’t many singers like Tail Dragger on the blues highway anymore, so catch them if you can. And you can find more information about this unique disc and the players as well at http://www.deltagroovemusic.com/.

– Kyle Deibler


Twoj Blues (Poland) (Issue 49, 2012)

Połączył ich blues I Chicago,miasto w którym razem występowali, ale na scenie zagrali dopiero razem w 1976 roku w nieistniejącym dziś klubie 1815.  Był to koncert dedykowany Howlin’ Wolfowi.  To wszystko miało miejsce 36 lat temu, a mnie się wydaje, że at płyta jest dalszym ciągiem tamtego koncertu.  Rozpoczynający temat I’m Worried to klimat tamtych lat, a brzmienie głosu Dragerra I harmonijki Boba przywodzą na myśl Wyjącego Wilka.  Tak też jest w następnych utworach, gdzie Henry Grey na fortepianie, Kirk Fletcher I Chris James gitarami oddają atmosferę typową dla chicagowskiego klubu. Dziewięć kompozycji Draggera I jedna (Sugar Mama) Sonny ’ego Boy’ Williamsona I stanowią kwintesencję tego, czym charakteryzuje się blues z tamtego miasta – chropowatością I emocjonalnością wykonania.  Wartym wspomnienia jest fakt, że Henry Grey jest jedynym muzykiem z tego towarzystwa, który w swoim czasie grał razem z legendarnym Wolf’em.  Jego popis w Boogie Woogie Ball to radosna muzyka na 88 klawiszach, gdzie gwiazdy tego kompaktu usuwają się na chwilę w cień.  Pozostałe tematy to popisy harmonijki oraz drapieżnego głosu, I naprawdę trudno wymienić najlepsze numery, Bo wszystkie trzymają się najwyższej chicagowskiej półki.  Może wolny blues Through With You  z pięknym frazowaniem harmonijki I partiami fortepianu, czy też Birthday Blues z pełnią brzmienia harmonijki wyróżniają się szczególnie, ale to moje subiektywne odczucie I nie należy się tym sugerować.  At płyta to dobry wstęp dla młodych fanów bluesa stanowiąca przykład, że stare brzmienie nigdy nie traci na swej atrakcyjności.

– Wiesław A. Chmielewski


Golden Gate Blues Society Newsletter (August 2012)

James Yancy Jones, born in Altheimer, Arkansas, moved to Chicago in the ’60s and befriended Howlin’ Wolf, who bestowed him with the nickname Tail Dragger due to his habit of being late to gigs. He became a fixture on the Chicago blues scene as a band leader and achieved a fair amount of national recognition with several Delmark releases in the ’90s. Bob Corritore was born in Chicago and immersed himself in the scene from an early age. His producing career started there and he has been a tireless promoter of Chicago blues. When he moved to Phoenix in 1981, he opened a popular blues club, The Rhythm Room, which still successfully showcases blues on a regular basis. He met Tail Dragger in 1976 and they became lifelong friends. So, it is fitting that these two have put together a first rate CD that is pure Chicago blues—they have been formed by the genre!

Tail Dragger provides the raw vocals and Corritore’s brilliant harmonica playing permeates the session. They have chosen some of the best blues players, who provide a rock-solid foundation with like blues sensibilities. Henry Gray was Howlin’ Wolf’s pianist for 12 years. Kirk Fletcher and Chris James are two of the finest blues guitarists, and Patrick Rynn on bass and Brian Fahey on drums round out the impeccable accompanists.

Composition of 9 of the 10 cuts are attributed to Tail Dragger (James Y. Jones). The first cut of “I’m Worried” features a rough vocal refrain, with Corritore beautifully supplying a harmonica backdrop. The blues standard “Sugar Mama” is a standout with Tail Dragger’s vocals strong and forceful and with Henry Gray adding a refreshing vocal response to great effect. “Cold Outdoors” is a delightful Chicago shuffle with Corritore hitting the high notes on harmonica, embellished by Gray’s rippling piano solo. “So Ezee” is a joyful upbeat admonition: “this is a message to the world, old folks and young ones, too, wake up and stop cracking jokes and use your head because it’s so easy to be misled,” with an abandon that’s contagious and the whole rhythm section gives it emotive urgency. In what is the standout cut, Henry Gray is captivating on “Boogie Woogie Ball,” adding comments as he dazzles the keys with breakneck dexterity. “Please Mr. Jailer” closes it out with a vocal plea by Tail Dragger for the release of his woman.

This CD is highly recommended for Chicago blues enthusiasts. Pure and simple, it’s just hands down good gutbucket blues!

– Dorothy Hill


Star Blues (Second Review) (July 8, 2012)

2012 already has a number of top class releases that will vie for the STAR BLUES album of the year award; Bob Corritore and Tail Dragger gelled superbly on their project this year leading to nominations already in Living Blues poll for Bob and their pianist of choice Henry Gray. (He’s getting up there in years now but was subtle when needed on this fabulous album. You’ll know the name from Howlin’ Wolf’s band).

– Gary Blue


Charente Libre (France) (July 2012)

Les amis de nos amis.

Au début, cela devait être de simples retrouvailles entre amis. Finalement, cela s’est transformé en session d’enregistrement qui a donné un album, Longtime Friends In The Blues. Le CD commence à faire parler de lui. En bien forcément, vu le casting. Au chant, Tail Dragger. Sa voix, tour à tour rocailleuse et ensorceleuse, nous propulse direct dans les clubs enfumés des South etWest Sides de Chicago. Là où il a débarqué de son Arkansas natal dans les années 1960, là où il a joué avec HowlingWolf – qui a dit de lui «un jour, ce garçon prendra ma place». Tail Dragger aime s’approcher de son public, l’accrocher. A côté de lui, le toujours souriant harmoniciste Bob Corritore aime partager. Quand il n’est pas dans son club en Arizona, quand il n’enregistre pas son émission de radio – sur le blues, bien sûr –, il court les plus grands festivals pour retrouver ses amis. Parmi lesquels le légendaire pianiste Henry Gray ou les guitaristes Chris James et Kirk Fletcher.que l’on retrouve aussi parmi ces friends. Un pur bonheur!

– Françoise Digel


Sur la Route de Memphis N°107 (July 2012)

Si vous aimez le rockin’ blues de Chicago, voici un album pour vous, concocte par James Yancy Jones, le Tail Dragger, et Bob Corritore, avec d’ecellents musiciens pour faire l’appoint. Ils attaquent a fond de ballon avec un excellent rockin’ r’n’b avec harmonica, “I’m Worried”, et cela dure sans discontinuer, avec des variations de rythme, jusqu’a la fin, avec un superbe “Boogie Woogie Ball” injecte au milieu. Superbe vocal, et quelle peche, mes enfants

– Bernard Boyat


Barn Owl Blues (Netherlands) (July 2012)

Wie beweert dat de blues dood is moet maar eens naar deze cd luisteren. Of sowieso wat door platenmaatschappij Delta Groove wordt uitgebracht. De combinatie van zanger Tail Dragger (James Yancey Jones, zoals hij eigenlijk heet) en harmonicaman Bob Corritore is een gouden greep. Beiden zijn protegés van Howlin’ Wolf en zij ontmoetten elkaar voor het eerst op 11 januari 1976 tijdens een tribute-concert voor Howlin’ Wolf, die een dag na diens dood werd gehouden. De vriendschap die toen werd gesloten houdt nog steeds aan.

Met “Longtime Friends In The Blues” wordt deze vriendschap op cd bezegeld. Een cd met rauwe en ongepolijste Chicagoblues. Van de tien songs zijn er negen door Tail Dragger geschreven en de enige cover is een oudje van de eerste Sonny Boy Williamson. De heren worden hier ter zijde gestaan door de gitaristen Chris James en Kirk Fletcher, pianist Henry Gray, bassist Patrick Rynn en drummer Brian Fahey.

Vanaf de eerste tonen van de vlotte opener “I’m Worried” tot en met de uitsmijter “Please Mr. Jailer” laten de door de wol geverfde bluesmannen de jonkies eens zien hoe het moet.

Meteen al bij het eerste nummer valt op hoe het kreunende gegrom van Tail Dragger samenvalt met de klagende harmonica van Corritore. In “Sugar Mama” is te horen hoe beide gitaristen elkaar aanvullen en de door de harmonica openvallende gaten invullen. Tail Dragger en Henry Gray nemen de zang voor hun rekening, waarbij Gray’s stem een mooi contrast vormt bij Tail Dragger. Een van de mooiste nummer vind ik de bijna zeven minuten lange ballad “She’s Worryin’ Me”. Dit komt vooral door de pure emotie die uit de stem van Tail Dragger klinkt. En dit geldt niet minder voor “Through With You”. De licks van de gitaristen, Henry Gray die zijn vingers bijna kapot slaat op de piano, Corritore’s slepende harmonica die het geheel domineert en wederom de ruwe emotie van de zang. Absolute topklasse.


Een prachtig album vol met onvervalste ouderwetse Chicagoblues. Het plezier, de spontaniteit en het ‘live’-gevoel spatten ervan af. De ouwetjes doen het nog best. Deze staat voorlopig in mijn persoonlijke top 10 van 2012.


Historias del Blues (Columbia) (July 29, 2012)

James Yancy Jones, más conocido como Tail Dragger, es tal vez el personaje que mejor interpreta en la actualidad toda la crudeza, intensidad y pasión de los clubes de blues de las zonas este y oeste de Chicago. Este cantante, ubicado en la ciudad de los vientos en la década de 1960, se hizo en el mundo del blues de la mano del granHowlin’ Wolf, aprovechando los descansos de sus conciertos para presentarse en el escenario y deleitar al público mientras el lobo regresaba.

Por otra parte, Bob Corritore es un armonicista e investigador musical dedicado por tiempo completo al blues en todas sus facetas: productor, músico, promotor, dueño de bar, realizador radial. En 2010 publicó un muy bien comentado disco, llamado “Harmonica Blues”, en el que se reúne con legendarias figuras, con el que ganó un Blues Music Award.

Tail Dragger y Bob Corritore se reúnen en esta producción, recordando el 11 de enero de 1976, la primera vez que se encontraron, en el bar 1815 en el lado oeste de Chicago, tocando en un homenaje a Howlin’ Wolf, quien había muerto el día anterior. De esta forma inició una colaboración musical que se remarca con “Longtime Friends In The Blues”, un nombre que lo dice todo, disco en el que el veterano músico de Chicago demuestra toda su fortaleza vocal y la herencia de Howlin’ Wolf, mientras queCorritore hace lo propio con la armónica, recordando a grandes de este instrumento en Chicago como Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells o James Cotton. Lo que encontramos entonces es blues de Chicago en su forma más pura, que llega a los oídos de manera sucia, sin nada de sobremezclas, interpretado por dos grandesconocedores del blues de Chicago más un séquito integrado por Henry Gray en el piano, Kirk Fletcher y Chris James en las guitarras, Patrick Rynn en el bajo y Brian Fahey en la batería, todos también muy curtidos en lo que es el ambiente de los juke joints de Chicago.

– Diego Luis


Concerto Magazine (Austria) (August 2012)

Five Stars

Einer der wohl authentischsten Bluessänger der Gegenwart Tail Dragger (James Yancy Jones) stammt aus Arkansas, lebt aber seit den 60er-Jahren in Chicago. Er hat sein “Mundwerk” von Howlin’ Wolf gelernt und das Leben eines echten Bluesers hinter sich, mit Allen Höhen und Tiefen, das ihn auch wegen fahrlässiger Tötung für 17 Monateins Gefängnis brachte. Bob Corritore wiederum lebt für den Blues, als Bandleader, Clubbesitzer, Produzent, Radiomoderator und Harmonikaspieler. 1976 haben sich Tail Dragger und Bob Corritore das erste Mal getroffen, als sie für den am Vortag verstorbenen Howlin’ Wolf ein Konzert gaben. Siet damals spielten sie immer wieder gemeinsam. Auf der vorliegenden CD werden sie von einigen Größen Des Blues begleitet, wie Henry Gray (Tasten), der ebenfalls mit Howlin’ Wolf zusammen spielte. Die Gitarristen Kirk Fletcher und Chris James, sowie Patrick Rynn (Bass), und der Schlagzeuger Brian Fahey komplettieren die Band. Jede einzelne Nummer ist ein Juwel von “I’m Worried” bis “Please Mr. Jailer”. Eine Scheibe, die in keiner Sammlung fehlen sollte.

– Franz Richter

Wasser-Prawda (Germany) (September 4, 2012)

Seit Ende der 60er Jahre sind Sänger Tail Dragger und Harmonica-Spieler Bob Corritore schon in der Chicagoer Bluesszene aktiv. Ihr gemeinsames Album “Long Time Friends In The Blues” könnte man gut als Hommage an den großen Howlin Wolf hören. Denn die Intensität, mit der die beiden Musiker agieren, erinnert nicht nur manchmal an ihn.

Eine Platte wie eine Zeitreise zurück in die 50/60er Jahre: Heftig stampfende Grooves, ein Sänger, der sich die Seele aus dem Leib zu singen scheint, eine Bluesharp, die die Band immer wieder nach vorne puscht, man fühlt förmlich, wie die Tanzfläche bebt am Samstagabend. Es ist Zeit für den Blues, irgendwo in der Southside von Chicago. Doch nein – die Platte stammt wirklich aus dem Jahr 2012. Das ist kein ausgegrabenes Stück Musikgeschichte. Das ist lebendiger, blutvoller und mitreißender Chicagoblues, dargeboten von einer Band, die aber genau diesen Stil noch immer so pflegt, wie er damals gut und richtig war. Tail Dragger und Bob Corritore sollen das erste Mal am Tag nachdem Howlin Wolf gestorben war, gemeinsam auf der Bühne gestanden haben. Aber schon vorher verband die beiden die Bewunderung für Muddys Konkurrenz bei Chess Records. Bei “Long Time Friends In The Blues” ist auch noch Veteran Henry Gray als Pianist mit dabei und sorgt so für das ganz klassische Bandgefüge. Bis auf “Sugar Mama”, was vom ersten Sonnyboy Williamson stammt, wurden alle Songs des Albums von Tail Dragger geschrieben. Und sie sind durchzogen von der Altersweisheit und dem Humor eines Menschen, der sein Leben lang mit und für den Blues gelebt hat. Das ist ein Album, das man heute im Musikunterricht einsetzen kann, wenn es um Blues in Chicago geht.

– Bluespfaffe


La Hora Del Blues (Spain) (September 2012)

Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore “Longtime Friends In The Blues” Delta Groove 2012. ¡Pura dinamita!. Si estáis buscando algo de blues que pueda llegaros hasta las mismísimas entrañas, entonces habeis encontrado el disco perfecto en este “Longtime Friends In The Blues”, un titulo que lo dice todo. La amistad entre ambos músicos viene de lejos, exactamente desde el 11 de enero de 1976 cuando se encontraron por primera vez en el 1815 Club, situado en el West Side de Chicago con motivo de un homenaje que se celebraba a Howlin’ Wolf, quien acababa de fallecer el día anterior. Ese fue el principio de una amistad y colaboración que persistiría a lo largo de los años hasta el día de hoy, y la prueba está aquí, con este álbum que han grabado juntos y con el que culmina una etapa en la vida de ambos. La calidad intrínseca del cantante Tail Dragger unida a la pasión visceral por el blues del gran armonicista, productor, dj… Bob Corritore, desemboca en un disco intenso, apasionado, contundente, honesto y sincero. Ambos músicos están acompañados por auténticos maestros del blues de Chicago como son Kirk Fletcher y Chris James a las guitarras, Patrick Rynn al bajo, Brian Fahey batería y el legendario pianista Henry Gray, como veis una reunión explosiva para unas sesiones inolvidables. Un gran trabajo que no podéis dejar de tener en vuestra colección. MUY BUENO. This cd is pure dynamite!. If you are looking for some blues that can hurt you in the deepest part of your heart, you have found the perfect cd. The record title “Longtime Friends In The Blues”, says everything. Both musicians friendship comes from long ago, exactly January 11, 1976, when they met for the first time in the 1815 Club in Chicago West Side, playing on a tribute to Howlin’ Wolf, who had died the day before. This was the beginning of a good friendship and collaboration over the years till now, when they present this album they have recorded together and which culminates a fruitful musical period in both artists musical career. The natural quality of Tail Dragger’s singing together with the blues visceral passion of great harmonica player, producer, dj… Bob Corritore, leads to an intense, passionate, strong, honest and sincere album. Both musicians are backed by genuine Chicago blues masters like Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitars, Patrick Rynn on bass, Brian Fahey drums and legendary pianist Henry Gray, which become an explosive meeting for these unforgettable sessions. In short words, this is a great album that deserves a place in your record collection. GREAT.

– Vicente “Harmonica” Zumel


National Association of Rhythm & Blues DJs (May 2012)

When two veteran Blues musicians and longtime friends come together to record an album, it’s got to be good. That is what bcLongtime Friends In The Blues is. Good! Bob Corritore, a lifelong advocate of the Blues, and Chicago Blues veteran James Vancy Jones, a.k.a. as Tail Dragger, have come together to record a CD that is packed with plain, good ole Blues music that will satisfy the soul. Of the ten cuts on the Delta Groove Music release, there are at least five that will work well. Joining Bob and Tail Dragger are Henry Gray on piano and vocals on several of the tracks, Kirk Fletcher on guitar and Chris James on guitar. Check out I’m Worried and So Ezee. I especially liked Done Got Old. I believe that the dancers who like to get out on the floor with some good Blues music will especially like this one. Bob and Tail Dragger come together for the vocals on this one. Boogie Woogie Ball also caught my attention. It is mostly instrumental with Henry Gray on the keyboards giving vocals like Champion Jack Dupree used to do on so many of his recordings. Chicago-born producer and harmonica player Bob Corritore began collecting Blues albums, playing harmonica and attending Blues gigs after hearing Muddy Waters on the radio when he was twelve. Over the years, Bob has played at many of Chicago’s clubs and even formed his own Blues record label. Tail Dragger was born in Altheimer, Arkansas and ,like so many other Blues artists, moved to the Chicago Blues scene. He has been recording under the name of Tail Dragger for over fifteen years.

– Mike Little


Phoenix New Times (Oct 12, 2012)

Local blues impressario Bob Corritore couldn’t have picked a better partner on the new Longtime Friends in the Blues record. James Yancy Jones — better known as Tail Dragger originally hails from Altheimer, Arkansas, but relocated to Chicago in the 1960s. It was there he met the legendary Howlin’ Wolf, who gave him his signature moniker, but it was the Windy City where he met Corritore too, in 1976, when the two performed a tribute to the late Wolf at the 1815 Club on Chicago’s West Side.

The two share a clear rapport on Longtime Friends in the Blues. Featuring Tail Dragger’s grizzled voice and Corritore’s amplified harmonica, the record finds the duo joined by pianist Henry Gray, guitarists Kirk Fletcher & Chris James, and the rhythm section of bassist Patrick Rynn, and drummer Brian Fahey. It’s a languid, smoky affair: “Sugar Mama” grooves, “So Ezee” invokes the fiery passion of Tail Dragger’s mentor Howlin’ Wolf, while “Boogie Woogie Ball” let’s Gray off the lease for a rolickin’ stroll.

Corritore and Tail Dragger may be separated geographically (Corritore’s owns the Rhythm Room here in Phoenix, and hosts a weekly blues program, Those Lowdown Blues, on local NPR-affiliate KJZZ), but their connection should be as clear during their two-night stand at Corritore’s club as it is on the new record.

– Jason P. Woodbury


Blinded by Sound (Two) (December 20, 2012)

Tail Dragger / Bob Corritore Longtime Friends In The Blues Vocalist Tail Dragger – more on that name a bit later – and harmonica ace Bob Corritore first met at a tribute to Howlin’ Wolf a day after the blues titan’s death back in 1976. They’ve been friends and occasional musical accomplices ever since, but this is their first outing as co-leaders of a band.

Legend has it Tail Dragger – real name James T. Jones – got his moniker from Wolf himself, who complained that Jones was always ‘dragging his tail in late.’ Earlier in his career he came across as a bit of a Wolf imitator, but he’s long since established his own identity – the raspy, growly voice is similar, and he can be just as menacing, but it’s his own personality that comes through loud and clear. He’s a larger-than-life persona, irascible and ornery but with a twinkle in his eye, his delivery brash and belligerent.

Corritore has worked tirelessly through the years and has emerged as one of the finest traditional style harmonica players around – tradition, in this case, as defined by the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter during the ‘golden years’ of Chicago blues. Whether it’s guttural growls or piercing high-end squeals, he’s endlessly expressive, and in true Chicago style his harp is an integral part of the instrumental tapestry rather than mere accent.

And what a band it is – guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Chris James, bassist Patrick Rynn, (as co-leaders themselves, Rynn and James have a pair of fine discs on Earwig Records), and drummer Brian Fahey. Also on hand is piano legend Henry Gray, a long-time Wolf accompanist himself. They’re all solid, seasoned pros who understand the essence of ensemble play, weaving their individual instrumental contributions into a seamless whole with seemingly intuitive ease.

With one exception – Sonny Boy Williamson’s oft-covered “Sugar Sweet” – the material is all credited to Jones, though all the originals are well within standard twelve-bar convention. All but one are classic hard-core shuffles and grinders, with the lone variation a piano-based boogie featuring veteran Grey’s still-sprightly keys and nice acoustic harp from Corritore.
In short, there are no real surprises – just no-nonsense, working class, drown-and-dance-your-troubles-away blues, with pile-driving rhythms, slashing guitars, sparkling piano and buzzing harp forming a formidable backdrop for Tail Dragger’s swaggering, commanding vocals. Like Wolf, he can be harsh and downright scary, but there’s a laconic side as well, and his phrasing is all his own – the trick to delivering classic material like this and keeping it fresh is to inject it all with personality, and despite the familiarity of the forms, there’s no doubt the songs are his.

The blues, by definition, are finite. There’s only so much one can do with a twelve-bar tune, and to a very large extent, much of it’s been done before. But the sheer, primal power and punch of a well-oiled blues band firing on all cylinders remains undiminished. It’s a lot trickier than it seems, and rarely is it done as well as this.

Absolutely magnificent, and very highly recommended!

– John Taylor

Blues Van (Hungary) (July 2012)

Tail Dragger és Bob Corritore 1976. január 11-én, Howlin’ Wolf halálának másnapján, a veseelégtelenségben elhunyt zenész tiszteletére a chicagói 1815 Club-ban adott koncerten találkozott eloször egymással. Megismerkedésük egy életre szóló barátság kezdetét jelentette.

A két nemzetközi szinten jegyzett muzsikus a közelmúltban közös lemezzel jelentkezett. A Longtime Friends In The Blues címu albumon a foszereplok zenésztársai a Rhythm Room All-Stars tagjai, Chris James (gitár), Patrick Rynn (basszusgitár) és Brian Fahey (dob), valamint Howlin’ Wolf egykori muzsikusa, a veterán zongorista-énekes Henry Gray és a Kaliforniából származó gitáros, Kirk Fletcher voltak. A repertoárt egyértelmuen Tail Dragger szerzeményei uralják, mindössze egy feldolgozás nóta, a Sugar Mama hallható a lemezen. Sonny Boy Williamson (John Lee) számának interpretációjában Henry Gray énekel. A Chicago blues stílusú dalokban a szájharmonika- és a zongorajáték került elotérbe, de a gitárosok is lehetoséget kaptak, hogy bizonyítsák tudásukat. A tíz számot tartalmazó CD zárótétele, a Please Mr. Jailer Leadbelly klasszikus dalát, a Gallis Pole-t juttatta eszembe.

A mufajjal még csak most ismerkedoknek ugyanúgy csemege ez a lemez, mint azoknak, akiknek blues folyik az ereiben. A Longtime Friends In The Blues csillagos ötöst érdemel!

– Attila Horváth


Bluessuria.com (Italy) (December 1, 2012)

Eppure non l’ho inserito tra le pagine di Bluessuria solo per essermene dimenticato. Recuperiamo. Quest’album non solo merita una citazione ma può appartenere alle migliori pubblicazioni di questo magro 2012. Il lavoro ha l’intesa persa negli anni dei vecchi album di blues di Chicago. Il tutto è ben oliato, perfetto e travolgente cone un vecchio treno a vapore…c’è una meravigliosa armonia musicale accompagnata da una produzione solida e curata. E se vi è sfuggita la voce di Dragger allora è il caso di recuperare!

I due bluesmen incontrati nei primi mesi del 1976, ad ovest di Chicago, quando si sono esibiti in un omaggio a Howlin ‘Wolf, il giorno dopo erano già in sintonia per un’amicizia coronata da questa emblematica pubblicazione. Con l’eccezione “Sugar Mama” di John Lee Williamson tutte le canzoni sono state scritte da Dragger. Consigliato con l’invito a scovare anche i precedenti album.


BluesNews.de (Germany) (July 1, 2012)

Mir klingeln noch etwas die Ohren. Aber ich musste einfach den CD-Walkman aufdrehen – was für eine Chicago-Blues-CD! An sich bürgen ja schon die Beteiligten für Qualität: Tail Dragger, der mächtige Vokalist aus Chicago, natürlich zumeist klar am Stil von Howlin’ Wolf orientiert, aber doch inzwischen unverkennbar er selbst – kraftvoll und simpel, aber immer auf den Punkt. Bob Corritore, seit vielen Jahren ein fähiger Bluesharper, aber jetzt einer der ganz großen und auf dieser Aufnahme besser denn je.Henry Gray, jahrelanger Begleiter vom Wolf, inzwischen der Grandseigneur des Bluespianos, klingt hier äußerst vital und setzt dem unfehlbaren Ensemblespiel das i-Tüpfelchen auf. Kirk Fletcher an der Gitarre, ein vielseitiger Mann, der hier bis auf den Jump-Blues-Gitarreneinsatz beim Boogie ganz im Chicago-Modus bleibt, ebenso wie sein Kollege Chris James von den Rhythm Room All-Stars, die durch die genau passend groovende Rhythmusgruppe Patrick Rynn, bs, und Brian Fahey, dms, komplettiert werden. Tail Dragger recycelt mehr oder weniger die paar Themen, die er schon seit Jahren beackert, mit Ausnahme eines amüsanten “Birthday Blues”. Die exquisite Chicago-Schiene wird nur für einen stampfenden Ein-Akkord-Titel à la Wolf, als er noch in Memphis war, verlassen sowie für einen Piano-Boogie, bei dem Henry im Vordergrund steht und gemeinsam mit Dragger rumlabert. Bei “Sugar Mama”, auf dem Papier die einzige Fremdkomposition, alles andere wird Tail Dragger zugeschrieben, wechseln sich die beiden mit dem Gesang ab. Doch ansonsten ist dies Draggers Show: Er shoutet, was das Zeug hält, und die Band spielt einen so tollen Chicago-Sound dazu, dass man die Kopfhörer gleich wieder aufsetzen will.

– Klaus Kilian


Programm.ARD.de (Germany) (October 13, 2012)

Chicago-Blues von Tail Dragger und Bob Corritore, die dieses Genre absolut authentisch fortfahren


Back To The Roots (Belgium) (October 2012)

Op 11 januari 1976 ontmoetten Tail Dragger en Bob Corritore elkaar voor het eerst in de 1815 Club op Chicago’s West Side.  Ze speelden er samen op een eerbetoon aan Howlin’ Wolf die daags voordien was overleden.  Dat was het begin van een vriendschap en een muzikale samenwerking die nooit zou ophouden.  In zijn onnavolgbare stijl serveert Tail Dragger rauwe, vett ongepolijste Chicagoblues.  Corritore begeleidt sober maar adequaat op harmonica en achter de twee staat een adembenemende band.  Kirk Fletcher en Chris James vullen de gitaarpartijen in en de pulserende ritmesectie bestaat uit bassist Patrick Rynn en de meesterlijke drummer Brian Fahey (The Paladins).  Pianist van dienst is Henry Gray, een oudgediende uit de Wolfstal trouwens.  Behalve ‘Sugar Mama’ van Sonny Boy Williamson 1 ontsproten alle nummers uit Tail Draggers pen.  Vernieuwend is dit album zeer zeker niet, maar voor fans van Chicagoblues is het oerdegelijk en aanbevelenswaardig
– Franky Bruneel


BCR Magazine (France) (Spring 2012)

Voici Le tout nouveau, tout chaud cd du chanteur de Chicago Tail Dragger accompagné de Bob Corritore à l’harmonica. Celui-ci endosse aussi Le rôle de producteur avec son l’équipe habituelle: Brian Fahey (drums), Patrick Rynn à la basse, les guitaristes Chris James, Kirk Fletcher et du pianiste vétéran Henry Gray, toujours aussi vert. Cet album respire Le bon Chicago Blues, celui que l’on aime à entendre. Ce cd a une âme, fin, délié et d’une limpidité incroyable, IL comporte Dix titres don’t neuf somt signés de la main de Tail Dragger. La seule reprise EST «Sugar Mama» de Sonny Boy Williamson 1er du nom. Le chant is reconnaissable EST fortement influencé par celui de son illustre prédécesseur Howlin Wolf. D’entrée vous êtes au parfum avec «I’m Worried», un blues intense où toute la machine EST impeccablement huilée, Le tempo n’a aucun temps mort semblant continuellement sur la brèche.

La version de «Sugar Mama» respire Le bon son de la Cité Des Vents avec cette atmosphère is particulière. Musicalement tout EST bien enrobé et l’osmose entre participants EST irréprochable. Les guitares de Chris James et Kirk Fletcher, l’harmonica de Bob Corritore, Le piano d’Henry Gray et la voix de Tail Dragger sont incroyablement liés, sans la moindre faussse note. Les titres s’enchaînent à marveille dans un harmonie totale. Le groupe était sur la scène du Lucerne Blues Festival 2011 et fu sans conteste Le grand moment de cette édition, ils on fait exploser la salle devant un public médusé et entièrement conqius. Depuis que j’ai cet album entre les mains, IL n’arrête pas de passer dans ma platine, sans lassitude.

Ce cd de Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore EST Le cd de la fin l’année 2011 et du début 2012. S’il y avait un tiercé, IL figurerait parmi les favoris. Idéal pour emmener sur île déserte. Du Chicago Blues remarquablement modelé comme on en entend peu souvent. L’atmosphère correspond et respire l’ambiance Des clubs de cette ville. Les amateurs devront s’armer un peu de patience, Le disque n’étant pas encore sorti officiellement. Une réussite étiquetée 2012. 

– Henri Mayoux


Blues Revue (September / October 2012)

There’s nothing sleek or modern about Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore’s approach on this collection of old-school Chicago blues.  And that’s a good thing.  There aren’t many veteran bluesmen left who have the right to claim this legacy.  James Yancy Jones, who earned his moniker from Howlin’ Wolf in the 60’s, is a singer whose delivery is as rough and ragged as the Wolf back in his early ’50s heyday.  Harmonica ace Corritore, who produced Longtime Friends In The Blues, is a fine foil for the singer, capturing the magic of a relationship that reaches back to 1976 at a performance on the West SIde of Chicago at a memorial tribute to Wolf

Except for a cover of “Sugar Mama” by John Lee (Sonny Boy) Williamson, Jones penned all the songs on this 10-track set.  But they all have a familiar ring to them and could have been plucked from those old Wolf Sun and Chess sides as Tail Dragger sings about how he “Done Got Old” and how it’s “Cold Outdoors.”  Tail Dragger does inject plenty of his charismatic personality into the proceedings, however.  The duo is backed by a band that includes long-time Wolf accompanist Henry Gray on piano, Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitar, Patrick Flynn on bass, and Brian Fahey on drums.  The band gets to stretch on several extended tracks, including the slow blues workouts “Through With You” and “Please Mr. Jailer.”  Just as on the classic blues sides of old, you can hear every band member’s part coming through the mix.

On the epic “I’m Worried,” which stretches past seven minutes, Tail Dragger and Corritore dig into a hard-driving shuffle, with Corritore’s harp weaving around Tail Dragger’s lone vocal before the band kicks in with the groove.  Gray and the Tail Dragger trade comments about partying while Gray pounds the keys on “Boogie Woogie Ball,”  a rollicking instrumental that captures the bond between the two veteran bluesmen as they enjoy the moment.  Longtime Friends In The Blues has plenty of that kind of magic. 

– Michael Cot


Blues Magazine (UK) (Winter 2012 – 50 Best Albums of 2012)

Blues Vocalist Tail Dragger (or James Yancey Jones to his mum) and killer harpist Bob Corritore originally hooked up at a Howlin’ Wolf tribute night at the 1815 Club in Chicago back in January, 1976. It was Wolf that gave Tail Dragger his nickname thanks to his reputation for being late for gigs. That this record contains top class Chicago electric blues comes as no surprise. Both men are regarded as legends. There are standouts a-go-go but Sugar Mama (the old Sonny Boy Williamson classic, natch) is properly Righteous but, hell. this ain’t a record you download a few tracks from. Bag the whole damn record and get the beers on ice. You’re in for a great night.

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