Master James
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Master James

Band Blues Rock


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Originals Include:
Coke Headed Woman
Tippin' Out on Me
Last Call
You Talkin' Ttoo Much



MASTER JAMES, "Godfather of Kankakee Blues" was born in the Missouri town of Hayti in September, 1949. His family moved to the southern IL town of Cairo shortly after his birth and he was raised here until the age of 9. He moved from Cairo, IL to Kankakee, IL and has lived there most of his life. By the age of 11, Master James was fascinated with the sound of the guitar. His older brother, Dave, had a guitar and Master James enjoyed watching him play and became his inspiration. Dave played Pop but he opened his younger brother's mind to blues. Although Master James still enjoyed R & B and Motown, he began to concentrate on the Blues. He would listen and watch and try to figure out how to play the guitar. Whenever his brother wasn't home, Master James would mess with the guitar, trying to figure out how to play it. His sister bought his very first acoustic guitar that year and he taught himself to play by ear. Master James joined his first band at the age of 15. It was a three piece band with a male lead vocalist. His brother played bass and a friend played drums. Master James played the lead guitar and also sang. The band did not have a name for an entire year and finally decided on the name "INTERIORS". Master James couldn't afford his own electric guitar so he borrowed one of his friends' guitar when he had gigs. Master James purchased his first electric at the age of 17 with the money he earned from gigs. Master James played locally, sitting in with Koko Taylor, Earl Hooker, and others. Earl nicknamed him "Little James Brown". While playing in the Kankakee area he met Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. Joe had brought them to Kankakee to work, and Master James recalls having to show Michael where the dressings room was. Michael was 12 and Master James was around 17 at the time. Over the years, Master James has played throughout the United States with various Blues Artist including Buddy Guy, Doug McDonald (The Arkansas Razorback) and RL Burnside. He also played with Muddy Water in South Bend, Indiana in 1969. He has played in clubs including the Kingston Mines, Checkerboard, Blues Chicago, Buddy Guys Legends and Frankies Blue Room. He has played for over 40 years and traveled whenever he had the opportunity. He has lived short periods of time in Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, but always returns to his roots in Illinois. One of his only regrets over the years was turning down overseas gigs. At the time he felt that he needed the security of his "day job". Although, he states, "at the present time if I got an offer to work overseas I would jump on it"! One of his most memorable experience was playing in Memphis, TN on Beale Street and the park with Doug McDonald, the first time in 1986. Master James showed off his skills on the guitar by playing it with his teeth and he remembers the crowd going wild! He also recalls playing the Meridian, Mississippi blues fest as a fun and memorable experience. Master James also enjoyed playing guitar with members of Junior Well's band. He also had the opportunity to meet Issac Hayes at a recording studio. His favorite Blues artist are BB King and Albert King. His favorite R & B artist are James Brown and Joe Tex. His favorite Motown artist are The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder. Master James currently has five originals: Coke Headed Woman, Tippin Out on Me, Last Call, You Talkin' Too Much, and Coke Headed Woman Instrumental. Master James recently brought Kathy Houser aboard as his manager.