John Tatum is a skilled guitar player and a character that nobody could invent – a tattooed love boy turned full-time survivor. He is quite the cat; his exploits and misadventures, harvested from nine lives lived in the red, are legend. Tatum is the most lovable of musicians, but it is his skill as a guitarist that has earned the respect of his contemporaries. He is a ferocious blues player and a skilled bluegrass picker. He teaches guitar to children and adults. He is the pimp-daddy personification of the sharp-dressed man. And his band, The Promise Breakers, which will perform Friday at Rubber Soul, has been a fixture in local clubs for years. Tatum recently took a few minutes out from being, well, John Tatum to allow relish a peek into what tunes are presently in rotation in his personal limousine. Really. Have mercy, Percy!

Dr. John, Duke Elegant: Dr. John Performing the Music of Duke Ellington: “Ellington’s songs are about vibe. He has a special way of conveying his message to the listener that almost makes you feel good about having the blues. These songs still come across with as much power as they did over 50 years ago. Dr. John has the perfect delivery – and he knows how to dress.”

John Hiatt, Slow Turning: “Hiatt has the ability to strike a chord with everybody. He delivers observations of everyday life with a sense of adventure, humor and great songwriting. The musicians he has playing with him can all stand on their merit. Music that can work you from the neck up and the waist down.”

Coco Montoya, Just Let Go: “This cat can burn up a guitar. He’s like Albert King on steroids. He understands the concept of less is sometimes best and he puts all the right notes in all the right places, which is something that can’t be taught.”

Tommy Castro, No Foolin’: “I was recently turned on to this guy by one of my students, and, boy, was I glad. He is like a white Buddy Guy, and I mean that in this most complimentary way. I admire his original songs, as well as his choice in cover material. His band is tight, and his guitar playing fits his choice of songs hand-in-glove, whether he’s playing straight blues or Memphis soul.”

Del McCoury Band, Del and the Boys: “I love that High Lonesome Sound. These guys are total professionals, but they also have so much fun playing together, and that comes across in their music. The song ‘1952 Vincent Black Shadow’ is just great – it’s about how motorcycles, girls, angles, leather and chrome can form a bond for life.”