Jimmy Dawkins, the Chicago Blues guitarist and singer famous for being an integral part of the “West Side” Chicago sound, has passed away. Delmark Records, the blues gutiarist’s longtime label, announced the news via Facebook on April 10th.
Hailing from the Mississippi Delta, Jimmy moved to Chicago when he was nineteen. In Chicago, he was befriended by Billy Boy Arnold, Magic Sam, and Luther Allison, and while working in a box factory, carved out his own niche and developed a reputation as one of Chicago’s premiere guitarists. He began playing session work and area blues clubs. He released his first album, Fast Fingers, on Delmark Records in 1969. Two years later, Delmark released Dawkins’ All For Business, featuring Otis Rush on the Guitar. The bluesman released 21 albums total over five decades, with his final album being 2004’s Tell Me Baby. Dawkins toured overseas extensively, particluarly in France, greater europe and Japan.
While his nickname was “Fast Fingers”, it was something of a misnomer. “Dawkins’ West Side-styled guitar slashes and surges,” wrote Bill Dahl in the liner notes for the reissue of his album Fast Fingers, “but seldom burns with incendiary speed.”
“Dawkin’s blues reflected his dramatic guitar style,” wrote Gerard Herzhaft in Encyclopedia of the Blues, “an economical use of notes with tremolo, interspersed with full chords, often in the minor scale — a singing apparently detached but in reality, rich in emotion”.
As more information becomes available, this article will reflect changes.