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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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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Going Up The Country - Johnny Woods

Johnny Woods (November 1, 1917 – February 1, 1990) was a blues singer and harmonica player in the North Mississippi style.

Woods was born in a small Mississippi town called Looxahoma, just west of Mississippi Highway 35. His harmonica playing first gained notoriety in the 1960s as a duet partner with fellow blues revival discovery guitarist/singer Mississippi Fred McDowell. They recorded together first for George Mitchell in 1967, for Chris Strachwitz's Arhoolie Records (King of the Country Blues V2), Swingmaster (Blues of Johnny Woods) and in 1972 for Tom Pomposello and Fred Seibert on Oblivion Records (Mississippi Harmonica).

Stylistically, Woods' music sprang from the same North Mississippi Fife and drum blues band tradition as McDowell's. However, personal problems and plagues kept him rooted in the Delta, primarily working as a farm hand and sharecropper.

After McDowell's death in July 1973, Woods faded away until George Mitchell paired him again with another late Mitchell Mississippi Delta discovery and sensation R. L. Burnside, himself a McDowell disciple. Together they recorded the Swingmaster CD and video, "Going Down South."

Johnny Woods died in Olive Branch, Mississippi in 1990.