This Georgia Blues guitarist made it in Chicago where, after backing Billy Boy Arnold for while, he formed his own band The Jaguars, who backed BB King, Millie Jackson and Otis Clay. When they disbanded, James toured with Clay for three more years, and after a period of retirement he joined Otis Rush for another eight years. Further tours with Magic Slim and Willie Kent and The Gents followed that and, in 1998, Delmark issued James’s first solo album ‘Ready’ featuring his older brother Golden ‘Big’ Wheeler on harp.
A follow-up ‘Can’t Take it’ came two years later, with Ron Sorin taking the place of ‘Big’, who had passed away the previous year. Well into his 70s, James continued to appear at club and Festival gigs, where this modest but talented Bluesman continued to play his accomplished and thoughtful music. He passed away on Christmas Day 2014