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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

You Didn't Have To G0 -- Johnny B. Moore

Johnny B. Moore (born Johnny Belle Moore, January 24, 1950, Clarksdale, Mississippi) is an American Chicago blues and electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was a member of Koko Taylor's backing band in the mid 1970s, but has recorded nine solo albums since 1987. Moore's music retains a link to the earlier Chicago blues of Jimmy Reed and Muddy Waters, who also travelled to the Windy City from the Mississippi delta.

"If Johnny B. Moore isn't a star in the making," stated Allmusic's Bill Dahl, "there's no justice in the world." The European blues historian GĂ©rard Herzhaft commented that "[Moore's] albums reflect a strong Delta flavor that is refreshing in the present blues scene, dominated by rock or funk overtones."However, the blues historian, Tony Russell, noted in 1997 that Moore "was still one of Chicago's interesting secrets"
Moore's Baptist minister father, Floyd Moore, taught his son to play the guitar from the age of seven. John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen'," was the first piece Moore mastered, but he was influenced by the style of Magic Sam. In his early days Moore performed gospel music in his hometown of Clarksdale, and later in Chicago with the Gospel Keys group.

In 1964, the teenage Moore relocated to Chicago with his father. In high school Moore learned to read music, and his education was enhanced listening to blues records with Letha Jones, Little Johnny Jones' widow. By the late 1960s Moore was working in a lamp factory, but after work continued to play. He was further tutored by Jimmy Reed, whom he first met in his childhood, and then with the Charles Spiers band.

By 1975, Moore found a further musical outlet by joining Koko Taylor's backing band, the Blues Machine, as lead guitarist. His lead guitar work appeared on Taylor's album The Earthshaker (1978).

He toured separately with Taylor and Willie Dixon, undertaking European jaunts with both, and worked in Dixon's band until the latter's death in 1992. He also augmented his income by appearing more often under his own name. Moore appeared on the bill on June 10, 1984, at the inaugural Chicago Blues Festival.

His debut album, Hard Times, was released in 1987 on the B.L.U.E.S. label. In the 1990s Moore recorded six more efforts of his own, and started the new millennium with Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi (2001) for the Austrian based Wolf record label. His Live at Blue Chicago (1996), was recorded in that club's basement, and featured Ken Saydak on keyboards. The 1999 live album, Acoustic Blue Chicago featured Willie Kent, Lester Davenport and Bonnie Lee. Moore more often used a bottleneck on his guitar solos.

Moore appeared again at the Chicago Blues Festival in 2002. In addition, he has made several guest appearances on other blues musicians albums. These included Willie Kent's Too Hurt to Cry (1994).
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