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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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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Shoot That Thang

Photo of Blues Ace and Super Chikan on the Blues Cruise last year. This video features Super Chikan on Cigar Box Guitar. He spent his childhood moving from town to town in the Mississippi Delta and working on his family's farms. He was very fond of the chickens on the farm, and before he was old enough to work in the fields, he would walk around talking to them. This led his friends to give him the nickname "Chikan Boy". At an early age, Johnson got his first rudimentary musical instrument, a "diddley bow", which was simply a piece of wood with a piece of baling wire stretched from end to end. As he grew up, he came up with new ways to improve and vary the sounds he could make with it, and finally, in 1964, at the age of thirteen, he bought his first guitar, an acoustic model that had only two strings, from a Salvation Army store in Clarksdale.

As an adult, Super Chikan began driving a truck for a living. During the long stretches on the road, he began composing his own songs. When he showed some of the songs to his friends, they convinced him to go to a studio and record them. He then started playing with some renowned local musicians, but he decided he would rather perform on his own than try to conform his style to that of his bandmates. He did so, and in 1997 he released his debut album, Blues Come Home to Roost, influenced by such musicians as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and Chuck Berry. He went on to release What You See in 2000, Shoot That Thang in 2001, "Chikan Supe" in 2005, and "Sum' Mo' Chikan" in 2007. In the Clarksdale area, he is probably best-known for performing regularly at Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero blues club and for being Freeman's favorite blues performer. He also played support to Steven Seagal's band 'Thunderbox.'

Super Chikan's latest release was 'Chikadelic', and is distributed by BluesTown Records. It was recorded in Notodden, Norway's famed Juke Joint Studios, and was released at the 2009 Notodden Blues Festival. Super Chikan was backed by Norway's, Spoonful of Blues.


  1. Thats a "Chiktar" and not simply a cigar box guitar. It doesn't have any sort of guitar neck. Just a dowel rod. Therefore it has to be played exclusively with a slide. It's what Super Chikan calls an illegal Diddley Bow. That's cause it has more than 3 strings. He builds them himself out in his shed. He makes them out of all kinds of things, ceiling fan motor casings, old gas cans, etc. Does all the artwork on them himself too. Got one equipped with a toilet seat. Very interesing character.