Tail Dragger Photos

One of the great personalities of Chicago blues is the unstoppable Tail Dragger, whose charisma fills up any room he plays in. Though considered to be a Howlin’ Wolf stylist, Tail Dragger puts his own touch to the proceedings. A regular performer on the West Side of Chicago, Tail Dragger’s band has provided work for many great artists, including Eddie Taylor, Jimmy Dawkins, Hubert Sumlin, James Scott, Willie Kent, Tim Taylor, Larry Taylor, Martin Lange, Rockin’ Johnny, Robert Plunkett, Illinois Slim, Scott Dirks, Dave Waldman, and many others. Bob Corritore had the privilege of working with Tail Dragger in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Enjoy these photos of the great Tail Dragger.

Left to right: Big Leon Brooks, Paul Cooper, Willie Williams (drums), Tail Dragger (in overalls), Sylvia Embry. Photo courtesy Paul Cooper.

Willie Williams, Paul Cooper, Tail Dragger (seated), Sylvia Embry, Big Leon Brooks. Photo courtesy Paul Cooper.


This photo by David Herwalt was made in December 1979 as this crew was converting an old gas station into what would become the Delta Fish Market. L-R unknown, Hubert Sumlin, Tail Dragger, Oliver Davis, Detroit Junior.

Tail Dragger – Delta Fish Market – Early 1980s
Bob Corritore & Boston Blackie in the background
(Photo by Marty Green)

At the Delta Fish Market, summer 1983 with Hester Brooks (widow of Big Leon Brooks), Bob Corritore, Illinois Slim, Tail Dragger, and Hubert Sumlin’s daughter.

Tail Dragger. Photo André Hobus Library courtesy Marc de Jonghe.


Highway Man, Tail Dragger, and Oliver “Fishman” Davis at the Delta Fish Market.  Photo by David Herwaldt.

Tail Dragger’s out of focus Leric Records publicity photo from the 1980s! 


Tail Dragger, Age 5, in Arkansas
(Photo Courtesy of Tail Dragger & Scott Dirks)

Tail Dragger’s mother, Pearline Jones.

Tail Dragger holding a live fish at the Delta Fish Market. Photo Erik Lindahl.

Tail Dragger with Martin Lang and Rockin’ Johnny. Photo by Fredrik Gustafson.

Tail Dragger CD / DVD for Delmark: My Head Is Bald
Recorded Live at Vern’s Friendly Lounge in Chicago

Tail Dragger at Delmark Studios with Willie Young, Illinois Slim, and Sam Lay. Photo courtesy Illinois Slim.

Taildragger 2010

Taildragger 2010. Photo by Torsten Stahlberg.

Bob Corritore, Rockin’ Johnny, Kenny Smith, Tail Dragger, Sho Komiya at the Delmark Brunch, Chicago. Photo Jennifer Noble.

Photo by Dave Blake

Tail Dragger at the Rhythm Room. Photo Dave Blake.

Bob Corritore and Tail Dragger backstage at the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival. Photo by Daniel Swadener.

Tail Dragger at Chicago Blues Festival. Photo by Jennifer Noble.

Tail Dragger in the hospitality room of the Windy City Blues Festival. Photo Bob Corritore.


Henry Gray and Tail Dragger signing CDs at the 2011 Lucerne Blues Festival, Switzerland. Photo by Bob Corritore.

Tail Dragger and his wife Bertha at the 2011 Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland. Photo Bob Corritore.

Tail Dragger, Bob Corritore, Rodney Brown, Lucerne Blues Festival, Switzerland, 2011.

Tail Dragger
Photo by Robert Pasenko.

Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore in Helsinki, Finland 2012 by Pertti Nurmi.

Tail Dragger in Boquete, Panama, 2013. Photo by Bob Corritore.

Bob Corritore and Tail Dragger at the 2013 Boquete Blues & Jazz Festival, Boquete, Panama.

Bob Corritore, Henry Gray, Tail Dragger backstage before their show at the Pocas Y Jazz Festival, Pocas de Caldes, Brazil.

Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore at Stadsschouwburg Theatre, Bruges, Belgium, 2013. Photo by Franky Bruneel.

Tail Dragger at Tempest Recording in 2015. Photo Drew Verbis.

Eddie Taylor Jr., Henry Gray (seated), Bob Corritore, Tail Dragger (seated), Rockin’ Johnny, Illinois Slim, Bob Stroger (seated), Brian Fahey. Photo by Drew Verbis. 

Tail Dragger crawling on the floor at the Rhythm Room! Photo by Marilyn Stringer.

Tail Dragger at the Hondarribia Blues Festival in Spain.

Bob Corritore, Tail Dragger, Rockin’ Johnny, Illinois Slim, 2016 Chicago Blues Festival.

Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore at Reggie’s, Chicago

Willie Buck, Bob Corritore, Tail Dragger outside of Jazz Record Mart, Chicago.
Tail Dragger, Bob Corritore, Henry Gray in Pocos de Caldas, Brazil.
Tail Dragger, Valerie June, Bob Corritore, Kirk Fletcher at 2011 BMAs, Memphis, TN. 
Eddie Shaw, Tail Dragger, Bob Corritore in Memphis, May 2011. Photo by Paul Benjamin.
Tail Dragger performing at Cook County Jail In 2018. Photo by Jon Sall.
Tail Dragger taking a session smoke break at Tempest Recording. Photo by Drew Verbis.
Tail Dragger photo by Bob O Walesa, 2019.
Tail Dragger, August 17, 2019. Photo by Bob Corritore.
Tail Dragger in the Swiss Alps. Photo Bob Corritore.

Here is Jimmy Dawkins’ note that came with the record.

On the other side of the above note is Tail Dragger’s bio, complete with handwritten corrections from Jimmy Dawkins.

Tail Dragger promotional comb for his album My Head Is Bald.


Artesia Lounge handbill courtesy of Illinois Slim. Note the spelling of Tail Dragger!

Tail Dragger’s first records on Jimmy Dawkins’ Leric Records.


Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore’s Delta Groove CD Longtime Friends in the Blues was #1 on the Powerblues Radio Charts in April 2012. Powerblues is a radio reporting of the French speaking blues radio shows in Europe and Canada. Quite an honor.

Before this release was picked up by Delta Groove we made a small run of this CD with this album cover!


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