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Showing posts with label Big Walter Horton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Big Walter Horton. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Austin-Based Johnny Nicholas 2019 Grammy Nominee for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package

2019 Grammy Nominee for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package

1976 Reissue Album, Too Many Bad Habits, by Acclaimed Singer/Guitarist

Johnny Nicholas and Friends – the Box Set, the Lost Tapes and Much More, with Bonus Album of Previously Unreleased Songs  Featuring Big Walter Horton, Johnny Shines, Boogie Woogie Red, Ray Benson and More

Deluxe Double Vinyl Collectible Box Set Includes 68-Page Historical Book with Posters,

Photos & Memorabilia

The lost recordings of heralded Austin-based blues/roots musician and songwriter Johnny Nicholas, with blues legends Big Walter Horton, Johnny Shines, Boogie Woogie Red, Ray Benson and others, are on this 18 gram double vinyl LP reissue including a special bonus album of previously unreleased performances.

Designed by Grammy-award winning Backstage Design Studio and nominated for a 2019 Grammy – “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package,” and also nominated for the Alex Steinweiss "Best In Show" at the 2018 Making Vinyl Packaging Awards, and Blues Blast Magazine Award for “Historical and Vintage Recording.”

The two-album set is a window into an important era in American music history in the late 1960s, when Ann Arbor, Michigan, was one of the hottest and most influential music scenes in the country. At the heart of the Ann Arbor blues revival was guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Johnny Nicholas. Arriving from the East coast for the 1970 Ann Arbor Blues Festival, he brought some of the best blues players out of retirement to play together and create these historic recordings.

This project is of great significance to blues fans everywhere for a number of reasons, not the least of which are the newly-discovered and never-before-released tracks featuring Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton and Boogie Woogie Red.

Johnny Nicholas is an under-recognized master of traditional blues, songwriting and other blues- inspired Americana genres.

He was highly regarded and considered a peer and a member of the blues family by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Lockwood Jr, BB King, Roosevelt Sykes, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Spann, James Cotton, Eddie Taylor, Houston Stackhouse and many more legends of the blues.

Deluxe Collectible Box Set Includes:

·         Two 180-gram vinyl records                                 

·         Custom intricate 68-page book

·         Digital download card

·         Extensive 1969-2018 11x40 timeline

·         Three vintage souvenir posters

·         Assorted photos and memorabilia of the era

Distributed in record stores worldwide by Monostereo and available online at, CD Baby and Amazon.

Disc 1 (Remastered Album “Too Many Bad Habits”)

1.        MANDOLIN BOOGIE* - Johnny Nicholas, Ray Benson, Tony Garnier, Lucky Oceans, Link Davis Jr., Bill Mabry

2.       LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVIN’ – Johnny Nicholas, Tino Gross, E.P. Jones

3.       TOO MANY BAD HABITS – Johnny Nicholas, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Tino Gross, E.P. Jones

4.       SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD – Johnny Nicholas, Ray Benson, Tony Garnier, Link Davis Jr., Bill Mabry

5.       “GOT THE TRAIN?” – Johnny Nicholas, Ray Benson, Tony Garnier, Link Davis Jr., Bill Mabry, Lucky Oceans

6.       ROCK MY BLUES AWAY – Johnny Nicholas, Tino Gross, E.P. Jones

7.       BLUES WALK – Johnny Nicholas, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Tino Gross, E.P. Jones

8.       GRINNIN’ IN YOUR FACE – Johnny Nicholas

9.       THE NEW CANNED HEAT BLUES – Johnny Nicholas, Big Water Horton

10.   WEST WIND – Big Walter Horton, Johnny Nicholas

11.   BLUES CAME FALLIN’ DOWN – Johnny Shines, Johnny Nicholas, Tino Gross

12.   CARELESS LOVE – Johnny Nicholas, Big Walter Horton

13.   GETTIN’ OUTTA TOWN – Johnny Nicholas, Big Walter Horton

14.   HELLHOUND ON MY TRAIL – Johnny Nicholas, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Tino Gros

Disc 2 (Previously unreleased / alternate takes)

1.       MOVE ON DOWN THE LINE – Johnny Nicholas, Big Walter Horton, Johnny Shines, Tino gross

2.       PUMP JOCKEY BLUES – Johnny Nicholas, Boogie Woogie Red, Big Walter Horton

3.       BELIEVE I’LL MAKE A CHANGE – Johnny Nicholas, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Tino Gross

4.       PRISONER BLUES – Johnny Nicholas, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Tino Gross

5.       APPLE GROVE RHUMBA – Johnny Nicholas, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Tino Gross

6.       LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING (Alternate Take) Johnny Nicholas, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Tino Gross

7.       THAT’S ALRIGHT MAMMA – Johnny Nicholas, Tino Gross

8.       HOOTIE BLUES – Boogie Woogie Red, Johnny Shines, Johnny Nicholas, Big Walter Horton

9.       MONEY MARBLES AND CHALK – Johnny Nicholas, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Tino Gross

10.   LONESOME TRAVELER – Johnny Nicholas, Big Walter Horton

11.   FROGGY BOTTOM – Johnny Nicholas, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Tino Gross

12.   SOON FORGOTTEN – Johnny Nicholas, Boogie Woogie Red, Big Walter Horton

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Johnny Nicholas & Friends - Too Many Bad Habits - New release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Too Many Bad Habits, by Johnny Nicholas & Friends and it solid hard core blues. This 2 disc masterpiece opens with Mandolin Boogie featuring Johnny Nicholas on mandolin, piano and vocal, Link Davis jr. on tenor sax, Bill Marbry on fiddle, Ray Benson on guitar, Tony Garnier on string bass and Lucky Oceans on drums. On Looks Can Be Deceivin', Nicholas teams up with Martin Gross on drums and E. P. Jones bass. Very nice. On a strong arrangement of Walter Vinson's Sitting On Top Of The World, Nicholas plays top notch piano riffs and with a sax solo by Davis, this is a super track. Another cool track is Rock My Blues Away with a standard 12 bar format but hot piano riffs and also featuring Nicholas on lead guitar. Big Walter Horton on harp and Johnny Shines sit in on Blues Walk, a crisp instrumental. Nicholas also covers Mr Son House's Grinnin' In Your Face, one of my all time favorite songs. Very nice job a capella. Big Walter joins Nicholas on Tommy Johnson's The New Canned Heat Blues. Another great track with particularly expressive vocals. Big Walter takes the lead on vocal and harp on West Wind, a real gem. Johnny Shines takes the lead on guitar and vocal on Blues Came Fallin' Down playing slide like only he can. Excellent! Gettin' Outta Town is a great boogie with Nicholas on acoustic guitar and Horton on harp. Very cool. Wrapping side one is Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Trail with Nicholas on lead vocal and guitar, Shines on lead guitar, Big Walter on harp and Martin Gross on drums. Masterful.

Disc 2 opens with Move On Down The Line with Shines and Horton, Shines on lead guitar and Horton playing harp and sharing vocal with Nicholas. Prisoner Blues is a terrific track particularly because of Nicholas' primal vocals, floating on a cloud of Shines' lead guitar and Horton's harp. Excellent! Big Boy Crudup's That's Alright Mamma features Nicholas on wailing vocals and slide with only Gross on drums. Very effective. With Boogie Woogie Red on piano and vocal and Horton on harp, Hootie Blues is stellar. Twelve bar, Money, Marbles and Chalk  is another great track with Nicholas on lead vocal, Shines on lead guitar, Horton on harp and Gross on drums. Very nice. Wrapping the release is James Oden's Soon Forgotten with Boogie Woogie red on piano, Horton on harp and Nicholas on guitar and vocal. This is an excellent release which is literally packed full of intense blues. Beautiful!

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twice As Easy / Need My Baby - Big Walter Horton & Jimmy DeBerry

b. 17 November 1911, Gumwood, Arkansas, USA, d. 17 January 1985, Sikeston, Missouri, USA. De Berry was an active if peripheral member of the Memphis blues community from its heyday during the 20s until the early 50s. He grew up in Arkansas and Mississippi before moving to Memphis to live with his aunt in 1927. Teaching himself to play ukulele and then banjo and guitar, he associated with the likes of Will Shade, Charlie Burse, Jack Kelly, Frank Stokes and a very young Walter Horton. While in East St. Louis in 1934, he lost the lower part of his right leg in a train accident. Five years later, he recorded for Vocalion Records with his Memphis Playboys in a style that updated the hokum music from the earlier part of the decade. Over the next 15 years De Berry spent time in St. Louis and Jackson, Tennessee, returning to Memphis to make radio appearances with Willie Nix and Walter Horton. In 1953 he recorded two sessions for Sun Records; at the first session, he and Horton recorded the classic ‘Easy’, an instrumental adaptation of Ivory Joe Hunter’s ‘I Almost Lost My Mind’. The blues ballad ‘Time Has Made A Change’, with accompaniment from pianist Mose Vinson, came from the second session. In 1972 producer Steve LaVere reunited De Berry and Horton for sessions designed to recreate their earlier partnership, an endeavour that met with little success. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Allstar Boogie - Big Walter Horton

Walter Horton, better known as Big Walter Horton or Walter "Shakey" Horton, (April 6, 1917 – December 8, 1981) was an American blues harmonica player. A quiet, unassuming and essentially shy man, Horton is remembered as one of the premier harmonica players in the history of blues. Willie Dixon once called Horton "the best harmonica player I ever heard."
Born Walter Horton in Horn Lake, Mississippi, he was playing a harmonica by the time he was five years old. In his early teens, he lived in Memphis, Tennessee and claimed that his earliest recordings were done there in the late 1920s with the Memphis Jug Band, although there is no documentation of it, and some blues researchers have stated that this story was most likely fabricated by Horton. (He also claimed to have taught some harmonica to Little Walter and the original Sonny Boy Williamson, although these claims are unsubstantiated, and in the case of the older Williamson, somewhat suspect).

As with many of his peers, he spent much of his career existing on a meager income and living with constant discrimination in a segregated United States of America. In the 1930s he played with various blues performers across the Mississippi delta region. It is generally accepted that his first recordings were made in Memphis backing guitarist Little Buddy Doyle on Doyle's recordings for the Okeh and Vocalion labels in 1939. These recordings were in the acoustic duo format popularized by Sleepy John Estes with his harmonicist Hammie Nixon, among others. On these recordings, Horton's style is not yet fully realized, but there are clear hints of what is to come. He eventually stopped playing the harp for a living due to poor health, and worked mainly outside of the music industry in the 1940s. By the early 1950s, he was playing music again, and was among the first to record for Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis, who would later record Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash. The early Big Walter recordings from Sun include performances from a young Phineas Newborn, Jr. on piano, who later gained fame as a jazz pianist. His instrumental track recorded around this time, "Easy", was based on Ivory Joe Hunter's "I Almost Lost My Mind".

During the early 1950s he first appeared on the Chicago blues scene, where he frequently played with fellow Memphis and Delta musicians who had also moved north, including guitarists Eddie Taylor and Johnny Shines. When Junior Wells left the Muddy Waters band at the end of 1952, Horton replaced him for long enough to play on one session with Waters in January 1953. Horton's style had by then fully matured, and he was playing in the heavily amplified style that became one of the trademarks of the Chicago blues sound. He also made great use of techniques such as tongue-blocking. He made an outstanding single as a leader for States in 1954. Horton's solo on Jimmy Rogers' 1956 Chess recording "Walking By Myself" is considered by many to be one of the high points of his career, and of Chicago Blues of the 1950s.

Also known as "Mumbles", and "Shakey" because of his head motion while playing the harmonica, Horton was active on the Chicago blues scene during the 1960s as blues music gained popularity with white audiences. From the early 1960s onward, he recorded and appeared frequently as a sideman with Eddie Taylor, Johnny Shines, Johnny Young, Sunnyland Slim, Willie Dixon and many others. He toured extensively, usually as a backing musician, and in the 1970s he performed at blues and folk music festivals in the U.S. and Europe, frequently with Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All-Stars. He has also appeared as a guest on recordings by blues and rock stars such as Fleetwood Mac and Johnny Winter.

In October 1968, while touring the United Kingdom, he recorded the album Southern Comfort with the former Savoy Brown and future Mighty Baby guitarist Martin Stone. In the late 1970s he toured the U.S. with Homesick James Williamson, Guido Sinclair, Eddie Taylor, Richard Molina, Bradley Pierce Smith and Paul Nebenzahl, and appeared on National Public Radio broadcasts. Two of the best compilation albums of his own work are Mouth-Harp Maestro and Fine Cuts. Also notable is the Big Walter Horton and Carey Bell album, released by Alligator Records in 1972.

He became a mainstay on the festival circuit, and often played at the open-air market on Chicago's Maxwell Street. In 1977, he joined Johnny Winter and Muddy Waters on Winter's album I'm Ready, and during the same period recorded some material for Blind Pig Records. Horton appeared in the Maxwell Street scene in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers, accompanying John Lee Hooker.[1] His final recordings were made in 1980.

Horton died from heart failure in Chicago in 1981 at the age of 64,[1] and was buried in Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.