Too Slim and the Taildraggers sample Lightnin’ Hopkins on King Size Troublemakers

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 12, 2000

You’d think a band from Washington state that’s been around as long as Too Slim and the Taildraggers would have made at least a couple of runs across the border to play for blues-hungry Canucks. But as guitarist-vocalist Tim “Too Slim” Langford explains from his Spokane home, his group has never made it onto B.C. soil, though it hasn’t been for lack of trying.

“We’ve been around for 15 years, so don’t ask me why [we’ve never played there],” he says. “We tried to book our band at the Yale several times, but at first they told us they didn’t hire trios.”

No trios in a blues bar? What kind of a world would it be without trios in blues bars? “Hello, this is Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top calling, and we were wondering if we might play a little gig at your bar up there in Canada. Say what? No trios? Okay, never mind.”

If the person who books bands at the Yale ever did give Too Slim and the Taildraggers such a bizarre brushoff, he or she must recently have had a change of heart, because the city’s top blues joint is about to host the band’s first-ever Vancouver appearance. On Thursday (October 19) the dynamic trio—Langord, bassist Tom “the Stomp” Brimm, and drummer John “Midnight” Cage—will be ripping the place up with rowdy tunes from its new CD, King Size Troublemakers, displaying the fiery blues-rock that has been a fixture on the Spokane music scene since ’86.

Too Slim and the Taildraggers have released six studio albums over the years, and played countless shows in the company of such stellar acts as Robert Cray, Lonnie Mack, Otis Rush, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Bo Diddley. But Langford admits that his band’s best efforts haven’t yet transformed Spokane into a blues mecca, by any means. “It is getting better, though,” he points out. “You know, 15 years ago there was only one or two bands, us included, but there’s probably about a dozen bands playing blues in this area now.”

Langford, a wicked guitarist with either bottleneck slide or bare skin, included Magic Sam’s “Feels So Good” on King Size Troublemakers, as well as a tribute of sorts to Lightnin’ Hopkins via the two-minute boogie instrumental “Sam’s Pit”. “That’s an interesting song because we sampled a Lightnin’ Hopkins riff off a CD and looped it,” he says. “So we have a computerized guest appearance by Lightnin’ Hopkins on rhythm guitar!”

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