Longtime Friends in the Blues

Not many people can channel the soul and sound of Howlin’ Wolf, though many have tried. Mick Jagger did it very convincingly when he sang Wolf’s “Commit a Crime” for Barack Obama at that recent blues-night shindig at the White House, and James Yancy Jones (aka Tail Dragger) brings the Wolf back with just as much conviction on this collection of songs, ably supported by Bob Corritore on harp and the estimable Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitars. But don’t take my word for it; Howlin’ Wolf once said it himself, saying of a young Mr. Jones, “One day this boy will take my place.” He’s no longer a boy, and that only makes him sound more like Wolf, all rough, raspy and raunchy as a roadhouse jukebox Saturday night. When these guys cut loose on “I’m Worried,” it’s like time travel. And when Tail Dragger sings “Done Got Old,” he speaks to and for a lot of us old blues fans. But, though we may creak when we rock, and ache when we roll, we can still move to a cut like “Boogie Woogie Ball,” a number that just might get the Wolf to howlin’ from his grave.