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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Catfish Blues - Big Jack Johnson

Johnson was born in Lambert, Mississippi. His father was a local musician playing both blues and country ditties at local functions. At the age of 13, Johnson junior was playing guitar with his father's band. By 18, Johnson followed B.B. King's electrified lead. His break came when he sat in with Frank Frost and Sam Carr at the Savoy Theatre in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The trio were seldom apart for the next 15 years, recording for Phillips International and Jewel Records with Frost as the bandleader.

In 1979, Rockin' the Juke Joint Down, was released (as by the Jelly Roll Kings) and marked Johnson's first recordings as a singer. Johnson's subsequent 1987 album for Earwig Music, The Oil Man, included his recording of "Catfish Blues." He has recorded both solo and as a member of the blues groups the Jelly Roll Kings and Big Jack Johnson and the Oilers (with poet/musician Dick Lourie).

He performed and wrote "Jack's Blues" and performed "Catfish Medley" with Samuel L. Jackson on the Black Snake Moan, film soundtrack. Daddy, When Is Mama Comin Home?, his ambitious 1990 set for Earwig, found him tackling issues as varied as AIDS, wife abuse, and Chinese blues musicians.

Johnson died from an undisclosed illness on March 14, 2011. According to family members, he had struggled with health issues in his final years, worsening to the point that there were erroneous reports of his death several times in the weeks prior to his death.
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