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born James Henry Dawkins on October 24, 1936 in Tuchla, Mississippi ... moved with his family to Pascagoula, where his father worked on the warships ...his mother bought him his first guitar in 1952 ... early influences were Guitar Slim and Earl King ... in July of 1955 he followed his mother's sisters and brothers to Chicago, where he got a job at a box factory ... bought his first electric guitar and amp two years later ... started out on a West Side street corner (Albany and Roosevelt) with harp player Lester Hinton ... got his own band with guitarist Left Hand Frank Craig and Eddie King ... played with Jimmy Rogers, Magic Sam and Earl Hooker ... he met Willie Dixon in 1957, who booked him for session work with Walter Horton, Johnny Young and Wild Child Butler ... quitted his day job ...
1969..70
  • Trough Magic Sam Jimmy met Bob Koester of Delmark Records. In 1969 Delmark released his debut album Fast Fingers, it gained 4 stars from Downbeat magazine and received the Grand Prix du Disque of the Hot Club of France in 1971.
  • Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969, August 1&2
  • Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1970
1971..74
  • In 1971 Delmark released his second album All For Business with singer Andrew "Big Voice" Odom and guitarist Otis Rush.
  • "Ma Bea's - great atmosphere. ... Jimmy "Fast Fingers" got on after his band'played quite a few blues standards ("I Believe", "Sweet Home Chicago") - he did some soul first, but his two blues numbers were great - he is a hell of a guitarist. Very withdrawn, he just stands there in his well-dressed manner PLAYING." These are the words of Laurence Schilthuis, who visited Chicago's West Side in 1971
  • Several European tours with Gatemouth Brown, Otis Rush and Sunnyland Slim result in a couple of albums for Black & Blue and others.
1974
  • European Tour called Chicago Blues Festival:
    03-12-1974: "Atlantic", Stockholm, Sweden
    with Sunnyland Slim, Big Voice Odom, Jesse Williams, James Green, Robert Plunckett
1975
  • Jimmy toured Japan together with Otis Rush. His band included Jimmy Johnson (g), Slyvester Boines (b) and Tyrone Centuray (dr). They provided a perfect backing. It can be heard on Otis Rush's album So Many Roads which was cut live in Tokio and released on Delmark.
1976..78
  • In 1976 Delmark released the LP Blisterstring which presents Dawkins' aggresive and over-the-edge sound.
  • The French Marcelle Morgantini recorded as much artists as possible live in Chicago. Jimmy Dawkins and his band do the backing work on many records for the MCM label. The results are unique documents of the West Side sound in these days.
  • In 1977 Jimi Schutte replaced Tyrone Centuray on drums.
1979..80
  • Dawkins' band backed the South Side Blues All Stars with Junior Wells, Hubert Sumlin, Eddie Shaw, and Jimmy Dawkins. They toured the US east cost. The band consisted of Billy Flynn, Sylvester Boines and Jimi Schutte.
1981
  • During a tour, Jimmy recorded in Paris the outstanding Hot Wire 81 album. It shows a different side of him. Though I would say the mood is more laid-back and his singing is less confident, there are a couple of very strong and thoughtful songs. The album received the "Hot Club du France" "Prix du Jazz" and the "Big Bill Broonzy Award".
1982
  • Jimmy and his band backed the American Living Blues Festival which toured Europe. The show featured Lafayette Leak, Queen Sylvia Embry, Lester Davenport, Smokey Smothers, and Jimmy Dawkins.
1980s
  • Jimmy founded his own record label Leric Music which released singles by Sylvia Queen Embry, Little Johnny Christian, Nora Jean Wallace and Tail Dragger
  • Jimmy managed night clubs
  • Eddie Burks said in an interview by Dan Enright: "Well, when Howlin' Wolf passed, Eddie took over the Wolf Gang. They worked about a year and then I began to work with them around '78. I worked with him off and on for a good six or seven years. I worked with Jimmy Dawkins after I worked with Shaw up until I come out on my own. I learned the business part of music from Jimmy. He's the one who taught me about how to be prosperous - how to make sure I got paid, how to make sure I protected my music when I record, and how to go about the business part of music."
  • two albums for the English label JSP
1987
1990
  • Puistoblues Festival, Finland, June 30: backed by a band from New York, interview and broadcast on local TV
1991
  • tour with Chicago Beau to Iceland
  • European tour to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, ...
  • Earwig Records released the come-back album Kant Sheck Dees Bluze. Just three months after the session long-time keyboard player Eddie Lusk committed suicide by jumping into the Chicago River.
1992
  • Chicago Blues Festival (June 5, Friday), with Nora Jean Wallace, Petrillo Music Shell
  • Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, Davenport, Iowa
  • 8th Tucson Blues Festival (October 18)
1993
  • feature in Living Blues No. 108
  • May 28: 10th Chicago Blues Festival: Delmark Records tribute: Dave Specter with Jesse Fort, Robert Jr. Lockwood and Mighty Joe Young, Willie Kent with Bonnie Lee, Barkin' Bill and Jimmy Dawkins, Junior Wells Band (Petrillo Music Shell)
  • May 30: Club United Nations (700 S. Wabash), Chicago: Willie Kent Blues Band with Bonnie Lee and Johnny B. Moore, Eddie C. Campbell, Jimmy Dawkins Blues Band, Ricky Allen, Mary Lane
  • October 8: "KUNI Blues Blowout", Electric Park Ballroom, Waterloo
  • European tour (Unna/Germany, Greece, "koninginnenach" in Den Haag/Netherlands, etc.)
1994
  • new album Blues And Pain for the Altlanta-based Wild Dog label
  • European Tour, Torrita Blues Festival (Italy), band members: Cornelius Boysaw, Ed Turner, Kevin O'Connor
  • October 13: Trudy Lynn & Jimmy Dawkins at "Blind Willie's", Atlanta, GA
  • November 23: Baltimore (w/Kevin O'Connor, Lynwood Taylor, Mike Anderson, Ray Scott). A bootleg tape was circulating on the web in the days of Napster. It covers the entire concert and containes the following 16 tracks: All for business (instr.), Everyday I have the blues, Boogie chillen, All your love, Feel so bad (instr.), That´s alright, Ode to Billy Joe, Five long years, I ain´t got it, Rock me, Howlin´ for my darlin´, You shook me, Long distance call, Who's been talking, Hey Joe, Going down, Ode to Billie Joe. The recording quality is low-fi and the song selection doesn't satisfy, but it's at least a good showcase of what a Dawkins gig was like in these days (and still is nowadays) - there are some great moments! First, you got hear his version of Magic Sam's "All your love" that comes with his trademark intro by the drummer, then Dawkins talks about the Blue Monday parties in the 60s, just like he always talks to his audience, stating his appreciation. Second, he gets into an unbelievable instrumental that sounds like J.D.'s Jam on the MCM recording, most interesting are the swinging band and his sound which never was so big, using his terms, 7 minutes of string bending that could go and on. Third, you'll hear a singer in full command of his voice who is fully interacting with the crowd - just listen to his two attempts on "Rock me".
1995
  • new album B Phur Real received pretty good reviews, but Living Blues' David Whiteis didn't like it
  • New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
  • 3 nominations for the W.C. Handy Award in the categories "Best Blues Instrumentalist - guitar", "Contemporary Blues Album of the Year" (Blues And Pain), and "Blues Song of the Year" (Fool in Heah)
  • feature in Blues Revue magazine No. 19
1996
  • 13th Annual Chicago Blues Festival, May 31, Crossroads Stage: Chicago Pro Jam (Unsigned guitar slingers at work) - Quintus McCormick, Anthony Palmer, Will Crosby, Jimmy Dawkins (M.C.)
  • Garvin Gate Blues Festival
  • On September 3 Delmark Records re-released Blisterstring containing 4 unissued bonus tracks.
1997
  • JSP Records re-released Feel The Blues from 1985.
  • The re-release of Come Back Baby by Storyville Records is reviewed in Living Blues No. 132
  • At the Chicago Blues Festival Jimmy played one song together with the band of Mighty Joe Young including Jimi Schutte and Billy Flynn.
  • The re-release of Blisterstring is reviewed in Living Blues No. 134.
  • On August 26 Ichiban International Records released the new album Me, My Guitar & The Blues. It got good reviews by Living Blues and Blues Access.
  • Luther Allison Memorial Concerts (House of Blues, Chicago): J.D. joined the Mighty Joe Young band and talked of giving Luther his first job, on bass.
  • A few appearances with his new band DNA (Nick Laramie on guitar, Abb Locke on sax): House of Blues in Chicago (11-12-97); Chicago Cultural Center (12-06-97)
1998
  • 15th Annual Chicago Blues Festival
  • Re-release of Fast Fingers from 1968/69 by Delmark Records. It received a W.C. Handy Award nomination as Best Reissue Blues Album of the Year 1999.
  • Cincinatti Blues Festival (07-07-98)
  • with Billy Flynn at the Up & Under, Milwaukee (11-14-1998)
  • A few appearances (with Abb Locke): Savannah Bar & Grille in Westlake, Ohio (11-22-98)
  • Birthday Tribute to Hubert Sumlin featuring J.D., Abb Locke, Bob Stroger, Little Smokey Smothers, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Jimmy Lee Robinson, Bonnie Lee, Byther Smith, Dave Myers, John Brim, Ted Harvey and Phil Guy. Address: HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, Chicago, IL (12-18-98)
1999
  • Tour in Sweden: backed by swedish band Blue Hammer
    - February 03: Gävle - Musikhuset
    - February 04: Umeå - Droskan
    - February 05: Huddiksvall - Café August
    - February 06: Östersund - Resturang Eken
    - February 07: Stockholm - Akkurat
    - February 10: Eskilstuna - Galloway Arms
    - February 11: Göteborg - Palace
    - February 12: Uppsala - Fredmans
    - February 13: Västerås - Village
  • Festivals in Sweden:
    - May 28/29: Mönsterås Blues Festival
    - July 10: Åmål Blues Festival
  • November 13: Chicago Blues in Los Angeles, Part I
    A stellar lineup of Windy City blues artists including Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson & The Magic Rockers, Jimmy Dawkins, and B.J. Sharp & Her Huzz Band will kick off a two-part Chicago Blues in L.A. series on November 13 at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex on the Cal State L.A. campus.
2000
  • Tokyo (Japan): In February Jimmy played at the Rainbow Children's 1st Annual Blues Gala. Jimmy Dawkins shared the bill with Eddie and Jimmy Burns, Hi-Tide Harris, Calvin Edwards and the local star Yuka & the Hot Brothers.
  • 1st European Tour with Sonny Black & The Dukes from UK:
    - July 08: 3rd Harelbeke R&B Festival, Harelbeke, Belgium
    - July 13: special appearance at BBC (Birmingham, UK), national broadcast, show hosted by Paul Jones
    - July 15: Dragon Blues Festival, Wrexham, UK
  • early August: Millennium 2000 Jazzfest, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive, Chicago
  • August 18&19: Two shows at Rosa´s, Chicago, with The Rockin' Johnny Band and Bobby Radcliff.
  • September 3: Long Beach Blues Festival, California, with Billy Flynn and Jimi Schutte
  • 2nd European Tour:
    - September 7: Quality Hotel, Hell, with Good Time Charlie
    - September 8: Hell Blues Festival, Norway with Good Time Charlie
    - September 9: Odda Bluesweekend, Norway (not confirmed)
    - September 11-16: club gigs in Norway (not confirmed)
  • September 22: Victory Theatre, Johannesburg, South Africa (not confirmed)
  • September 24: Awesome Africa Music Festival, Durban, South Africa - Jimmy will be backed by local blues/roots band: - Joe "Blu" Mbatha and the Backwater Blues Band. (not confirmed)
2001
  • Feature in Southwest Blues Magazine (March Issue)
  • Texas Tour with Nick Laramie (g), Ronnie Bramhall (keyb), Jim Milano (b) and Jimi Schutte (dr):
    - March 16: Cozy's Blues Lounge, Dallas, TX
    - March 17: J&J's, Fort Worth, TX
    - March 18: SW Blues Festival - Sons of Hermann, Dallas, TX
  • June 09: Blues on Grand, Des Moines, Iowa
  • June 28: Firefly Club, Ann Arbor, Michigan. With Billy Flynn (g), Willie Black (b) and Jimi Schutte (dr)
2002
  • On February 26, Fedora Records released the new album West Side Guitar Hero. It was recorded in Fresno, California, last October.
  • at Festivals & Clubs:
    - May 12: 2nd Annual Southwest Blues Fest (Mega Star Jam), Dallas, TX
    - June 2: Chicago Blues Festival (Petrillo Music Shell), Chicago, IL
    - June 2: B.L.U.E.S. (Jam), Chicago, IL
    - June 8: Muehle Hunzingen, Rubigen (near Bern), Switzerland
    - June 9: Soldatenstube Magletsch, Switzerland
    - June 12+13: Bourbon Street, Bordeaux, France
    - June 15: Blues in Meudon, Meudon, France
    - July 19-20: Kansas Blues Festival, Salina, KS
2003
  • Nora Jean's debut album "Nora Jean Sings The Blues" released, JD shares the vocals on "Kant Shak Dez Bluz"
  • March 14: Illinois Central Blues Club Birthday Bash in Springfield, Illinois, w/ Nora Jean
  • April 26: "Martini Steak House" in Trevor, Wisconsin, w/ Billy Flynn (g), Mike Flynn (b), and Jimi Schutte (dr)
  • May 9: "The Delmark Golden All-Stars" at Buddy Guy's Legends, Wabash, Chicago, w/ Willie Kent, Bonnie Lee, Shirley Johnson, Johnny B. Moore, Jimmy Burns, Tail Dragger, and Little Arthur Duncan
  • June 1: Chicago Blues Festival, Front Porch Stage, w/ Eddie Shaw, Willie Kent, James Wheeler, Billy Flynn, Rob Waters, Brian Lupo, and Jimi Schutte
  • June 20: Record Release Party for Nora Jean at "Rosa's Lounge", Chicago, w/ Nora Jean, Eddie Shaw, Willie Kent, James Wheeler, Billy Flynn, Rob Waters, Brian Lupo, and Jimi Schutte
  • July 11: "Chicago Blues Night" at the renowned Osaka Imperial Hotel, Japan
  • July 12 & 13: 2nd Osaka-Chicago Blues Festival, "Delmark All Stars Blues Band" w/ Carey Bell, Bonnie Lee, Rick Kreher, Bob Stroger, and Kenny Smith
  • July 25: 'Biscuits and Blues', San Francisco, CA, w/ Franck Goldwasser, Rich Kirch, and RJ Mischo
  • September 27: "3rd Annual SW Blues Heritage Fest", at J&J's Roadhouse & Blues Bar in Fort Worth, TX
2004
  • On February 3, Fedora Records released the new album Tell Me Baby. It was recorded in Fresno, California, last July
  • March 14: "The 12th Annual Jazz88 Twin Cities Winter Jazz Fest", Downtown Minneapolis
  • September 4: "25th Annual Long Beach Blues Festival", California, w/ Billy Flynn and Jimi Schutte
  • October 2: "4th Annual SW Blues Heritage Festival", at J&J's Roadhouse & Blues Bar in Fort Worth, TX November 12 & 13: "Lucerne Blues Festival", Switzerland, w/ Billy Flynn and The Flynnstones featuring Bob Stroger, Jimi Schutte and Nora Jean Bruso
2005
  • September 18: An interview with Jimmy Dawkins appeared in the "San Franciso Chronicle".
  • October 15: "Blues Masters at the Crossroads 8", Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas, w/ Nora Jean Bruso, Billy Flynn, Rob Waters, Bob Stroger, and Jimi Schutte
  • September 25: "33rd Annual San Francisco Blues Festival", Great Meadow, Fort Mason, w/ Nora Jean Bruso, Billy Flynn, Rich Kirch, Rob Waters, and Jimi Schutte
2006
  • June 11: "Buddy Guy's Legends", Chicago, IL, with Billy Flynn and Bob Stroger (last night of the Chicago Blues Festival)
  • July 29: "Pocono Blues Festival", Lake Harmony, PA, 1:45pm - 3:00pm, Stage 1
  • June 24: "Beltline Blues Festival", Victoria Riverside Park, Calgary, Canada
2007
  • June 6: "24th Chicago Blues Festival", Petrillo Music Shell, with Billy Flynn and Bob Stroger