​Guitarist Jimmy Dawkins Dies At 76​​

By: | 04/14/2013 09:42 AM ET

Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Dawkins dies in Chicago at age 76. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known.

Delmark Records owner Bob Koester said Friday that Dawkins died Wednesday.

Koester says Dawkins began playing Chicago’s blues clubs in the 1960s, gaining a reputation as an excellent side man and playing with such notables as Otis Rush and Buddy Guy.

The blues guitarist was born in Mississippi and was an only child and taught himself to play guitar before moving to Chicago in the 1950s.

Dawkins recorded his first album on the Delmark label in 1969.

Koester says the album boosted Dawkins’ reputation, particularly in Europe and Japan, where he toured frequently. Dawkins also was a frequent contributor to Living Blues magazine.

Dawkins first album, “Fast Fingers,” released on the Delmark label in 1969, boosted Dawkins’ reputation, particularly in Europe and Japan, where he toured frequently.

“He didn’t like his nickname,” Koester said. “It gave the impression that he played only upbeat music.”

Dawkins performed a style of music known as the West Side Chicago blues — a mellower sound that reflected his Mississippi roots, instead of the harder-edged sounds of the city’s South Side.

“His voice was feathery, soft,” Koester said. “He wasn’t a shouter, which is unusual in blues.” He noted blues singers had to shout to be heard in the early days because they didn’t have amplifiers, and the affectation continues.

In addition to performing, Dawkins was a frequent contributor to Living Blues magazine.