Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tail Dragger “Stop Lyin’”

(Delmark) Holy fuck! I’ve been seeing Taildragger gig in blues clubs and bars and fests and whatever since the 80s, and he’s been a great performer (his sets’ climaxing in a novelty song about his bald head, captured live on CD and DVD by Delmark years ago, and reprised here). But hearing his lost 1982 first recordings argues for his greatness in ways his great live performances only hint at, which is usually the other way around. That his voice was so wizened and evocative and magical thrity years ago is a wonder, that the production by Jimmy Dawkins was done before any 80s tomfoolery ruined blues production is a blessing, and that Johnny B. Moore’s guiter work is so sublime is a treat, and that this sounds more like a dream Maxwell Street performance than almost any studio recording I’ve ever heard would make this a must have…if something else didn’t! The songs were too short for a CD so they also had Tail Dragger just tell stories for fifteen of the colorful, fascinating, dangerous world of West Side blues in the 70s and 80s, his tales featuring stars, journeymen, murder, cross-dressing, and the Lord telling someone to sell drugs. His racantour skills prove as impressive as his singing. As highly recommended as I can get to recommedin’.

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