They used to call Jimmy Dawkins “Fast Fingers” but Blisterstring, the title of a recent LP, might be a more appropriate appellation. Dawkins came of age in the late 50s and early 60s alongside such Chicago legends as Magic Sam and Otis Rush and played a significant role in developing the busy, arpeggio-laden style associated with what’s become known as the west-side school of Chicago blues guitar. His current style is a stripped-down variation on the revolutionary techniques developed during that time–he plays as if his guitar were on fire, tearing off intense flurries and then leaving long, chord-filled spaces between them. Dawkins’s stage presence is stern, almost detached; it tends to off-set somewhat the heat generated by his playing, but beneath the surface burns a heartfelt commitment to the blues, and his music is a living legacy of one of the music’s most fabled eras. Thursday, B.L.U.E.S., 2519 N. Halsted; 528-1012.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.