James Kinds has always possessed a powerful voice, cutting his teeth on southern Gospel and developing his own distinctive style as a young man. Born in 1943 in Drew, Mississippi, he first sang in the church choir, which led to his joining the Gospel quartet, Spirit Of Joy.
Inspired by juke-joint Blues and early Rock & Roll, he left Mississippi for Chicago in 1958 where he became a fixture on the local music scene mixing Blues with Soul and awing audiences with his explosive delivery and intense stage routine.
In Chicago, he started out with The Soul Seekers, and hooked up with Little Mack Simmons in 1961. In addition to doing some gigs with Kansas City Red, Roy Hytower, Lee Shot Williams, Little Caesar, Johnny B. Moore, and Eddie King, James has had the opportunity to work with Blues legends Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Wells, Ike Turner, Lonnie Brooks, and Bobby Rush.
Kinds wrote a song called “Ada” that garnered international attention and he was named “Best Blues Artist” by Blues News magazine in 1976. Kinds has also been featured in Living Blues magazine.
He was part of a European tour in 1977 that included a show at the Berlin Jazz Festival as part of The New Generation of Chicago Blues Revue, which also included Billy Branch and Lurrie Bell, among others, and was hosted by the legendary Willie Dixon.
James now makes his home in Dubuque, where he has been performing regularly with his current band, The All Night Riders. The band recently released their third album, Don’t Get It Twisted.
They have performed at several fests including the Prairie Dog Blues Festival. James had the honor of performing at the Chicago Blues Festival in 2007 and has been featured in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald several times.
The word has been spreading about James Kinds and he now holds the honor of being inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame.