James Henry "Jimmy" Dawkins (born October 24, 1936, Tchula, Mississippi, United States) is an American Chicago blues and electric blues guitarist and singer. He is generally considered a part of the "West Side Sound" of Chicago blues. He moved to Chicago in 1955. He worked in a box factory, and started to play local blues clubs, gaining a reputation as a session musician. In 1969, thanks to the efforts of his friend Magic Sam, he released his first album Fast Fingers on Delmark Records, winning the "Grand Prix du Disque" from the Hot Club de France. In 1971 Delmark released his second album All For Business with singer, Andrew "Big Voice" Odom, and the guitarist, Otis Rush. Dawkins also toured in the late 1970s backed up by James Solberg (of Luther Allison and The Nighthawks fame) on guitar and Jon Preizler (The Lamont Cranston Band, The Drifters), a Seattle based Hammond B-3 player known for his soulful jazz influenced style. Other musicians that toured with Jimmy Dawkins in the late 1970s were Jimi Schutte (drummer), Sylvester Boines (bass), Rich Kirch and Billy Flynn (guitars). With this combination of musicians Dawkins also toured Europe. Dawkins began to tour in Europe and Japan and recorded more albums in the United States and Europe. Dawkins also contributed a column to the blues magazine Living Blues. In the 1980s he released few recordings, but began his own record label, Leric Records, and was more interested in promoting other artists, including Taildragger, Queen Sylvia Embry, Little Johnny Christian and Nora Jean Wallace.
The brief and dazzling life of MCM Records was a labor of love that captured many treasurable live performances from the last flowering of the classic Chicago Blues age. A young French woman Marcelle Chailleux Morgantini was married to Jacques Morgantini who changed her life into American jazz and blues.
Guitarist Jimmy Dawkins was a good friend and helped them in Chicago to meet and hear the many good blues musicians that played at the different clubs in Chicago. Marcelle returned from her Chicago pilgrimage filled with excitement. Says Jacques Morgantini: It was the year of Marcelle’s 50th birthday and she came into some money from her family. She said to me, “I do not want an expensive coat or jewels – I want to go to Chicago to record the blues. She knew that it could only be done if she had her own record label and complete artistic control. Marcelle made three trips to Chicago in 1975,1976 and 1977 and arrived with her Nagra machine, a small mixing desk and a selection of microphones.
She recorded live: Magic Slim, Big Mojo Elem,John Littlejohn, Eddie Clearwater,Eddie Taylor, Bobby King,Jimmy Johnson, Luther Johnson Jr.,Willie Kent, James Lyons,Hip Lankchan,Big Vocie Odom,Bluebloos McMahon, Joe Carter and Jimmy Dawkins at “Ma Bea’s”, “Golden Slipper”, “Queen Bea’s”, and “Big Duke’s”, on Chicago west and south side. Many of the blues musicians had not recorded before and can only been found on the Storyville label that issued all the recordings on CD’s. She was at the right place at the right time.