Tail Dragger

Live at Rooster's Lounge

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

As a rule, blues artists seldom follow up a live album with another live album; there are usually some studio albums between their live albums (assuming they aren't recording studio albums exclusively). But Tail Dragger is an exception. The Arkansas native/Chicago resident's 2005 recording, My Head Is Bald: Live at Vern's Friendly Lounge, received such a favorable response that Delmark made his next release, Live at Rooster's Lounge, another live album. Recorded in a Chicago club in 2009, this 68-minute CD is every bit as engaging as My Head Is Bald. Live at Rooster's Lounge isn't engaging because Tail Dragger does anything groundbreaking; greatly influenced by Howlin' Wolf (and, to a lesser degree, Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters), Tail Dragger is unapologetically derivative. But he's derivative in the best sense of the word. Tail Dragger obviously lives and breathes the blues, and anyone who has a strong passion for the electric Chicago blues of the late '40s, '50s, and '60s couldn't help but be captivated by his inspired performances of original material as well as versions of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Keep It to Yourself," two Howlin' Wolf songs ("Louise" and "Ooh Baby, Hold Me"), and two Little Walter songs ("Blues with a Feeling" and "Everything Gonna Be Alright"). A lot of people who promote blues recordings or blues concerts have been much too quick to toss the term "low-down" around, but in the case of Tail Dragger, "low-down" really is applicable; throughout Live at Rooster's Lounge, he oozes grit and rawness -- the sort of grit and rawness that so often characterized the Chess Records aesthetic in Chicago after WWII. Live at Rooster's Lounge is a consistently strong document of Tail Dragger on-stage.

blue highlight denotes track pick