He leads the vocals in "Bo Diddley" and drives the band in "Baby What You Want Me To Do," the kids getting louder and more confident — though not a lot more technically proficient — with each phrase. Jackson's huge, insinuating vocals hold everything together, and the music sounds rough and raw — just like the blues.
After rounds of applause, Jones returns to the microphone to introduce the kids from Room 411, who clearly are going to slay the audience, but also to give a little perspective on what the beginners just did.
"Before you can become a blues legend," says Jones, with camera lights flashing all around him, "you have to be a blues kid."
Which, for a few treasured days, Blues Camp made possible.
It's not going to rejuvenate the blues overnight, but it's at least a small step in the right direction.
The series so far
June 5: "21st century blues: Can an ancestral art form survive?"
Aug 21: "Blues 101: A new generation tries to learn the music, against daunting odds"