The Blues Tradition of Johnny Shines

“Everybody is going to have the Blues. If they haven’t already had ‘em, they ‘re gonna have ‘em.” – Johnny Shines

John Ned “Johnny” Shines (April 26, 1915 – April 20, 1992) was born in Frayser outside Memphis. Johnny Shines is member of a small group Blues musicians who played the Delta Blues and the electric Chicago Blues.

Shines started playing the Delta Blues at the end of the twenties and in the thirties alongside Robert Johnson. He moved during the 40s to Chicago to play a perfect Chicago Blues style. He built his remarkable repertoire in a period of 60 years.

Johnny Shines Little Wolf

Shines grew up in Memphis. He was widly inspired by Howlin’ Wolf at the start of his career, he absorbed the Southern Blues style from Wolf till the point he was called Little Wolf for a while. He once said about Howlin’ Wolf:  “I was afraid of the Wolf, like you would be of some wild animal….It was the SOUND he was giving off!”

Ramblin´ Blues

I think Johnny plays both styles very well. While listening to his record Ramblin’ Blues recorded in New York during the period 1972 and 1974 you get the perfect mix between Chicago and the Delta. If you compare his music to  Mance Limpscomb, the delta sound is clear comparable, but Johnny Shines work is modern and more extensive. It is obvious that Johnny Shines plays the roots, an example is the Ramblin´ Blues.

Johnny Shines Blues tradition

Johnny Shines was companion of Robert ‘soul to the devil’ Johnson. They met in Memphis in 1934, and traveled through the south along and Canada with David “Honeyboy” Edwards,  until close before Johnson died. Shines kept on playing the music of Johnson throughout his death. Eventually Robert Johnson became Shines main influence after Howlin’ Wolf. Maybe that explains the two sided Blues style of Shines.

Johnny Shines and Robert Johnson footage

Johnny Shines was part of a forensic research starting in 2007, when a picture of Shines an Johnson was leased. Before that picture was released there were only two pictures of the most important blues musicians verified, Shines was part of the third picture. The picture of Shines and Johnson was used on the cover of The Complete Recordings: Robert Johnson released in 1990.

British newspaper the Guardian wrote a very nice article about the picture of Robert Johnson and Johnny Shines. For those who are interested: Click here.

 

Messin’ with the kid

Tonight I listened to a show Messin’ With The Blues, it’s a performance of Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and the great Muddy Waters, live at the Montrieux festival in Switzerland. Every last one of the songs has great lyrics in that show.

Messin’ With The Kid

This song ‘Messin’ With The Kid’ is one of my favorite. The art of repeating, and changing the sequince of words, I love that. Even without the music, just the lyrics by themselves contain that blues feeling., the rhythm and the groove. The groove and the rhythm, like that.

Chicago blues legend buddy guy

Black Bull Blues Lyrics

You know the kid’s no child, and I don’t play
I says what I mean and I mean what I say
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah,
oh look at what you did
You can call it what you want to,
I call it messin’ with the kid

Here is the show I’m talking about, watch it if you like. Later on Muddy an Buddy perform. And at one point Buddy tells the people they “get a better thrill out of playing here than at home.” At that point I feel like this:

Just ten years ago People what I would do
No one would ever know
Just ten years ago
People how I would live my life
No one would ever know
The things that I think I would do
Ooo, no one will never know.

Later on it ends with: Yeah, play the blues

Muddy’s Band

It was a world class line up: Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Bill Wyman, Pinetop Perkins, Terry Taylor, Dallas Taylor

Picture: Sardognunu

Blues song Hoochie Coochie Man

Released in 1954 by Chess Records.

Hoochie Coochie Man was written by Willy Dixon and played by Muddy Waters for the first time in 1954. This record is considered one of the most important songs in blues history. And therefore, a reason to write about it on Black Bull Blues.

Awards

When Hoochie Coochie Man was released it reached the #8 position on the Black Singles Chart in 1954. In 1998 the song was awarded with the Grammy Hall Of Fame award. Hoochie Coochie Man is also featured on the Rolling Stone Magazine list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Hoochie Coochie

According to Wikipedia Hoochie Coochie was a provocative dance that became widly popular during, and after, the Chicago World Fair in 1893. Since the dance was performed by women, a hoochie coochie man “either” watched them or ran the show. Alternatively, from the directly sexual meaning of hoochie coochie, he greatly enjoyed sexual intercourse.

Continue reading Blues song Hoochie Coochie Man

The New Orleans Blues Swing of Maison du Malheur

It’s the Dust  Bowl Depression Era Jump Jive Blues- it’s the sounds of a jump jive jalopy, broken down banjos and rumble seat sinners fueled up on jungle juice and the churn of the crank shaft as the Model-T lurks into motion  along the dusty  hobo  highway.  Pre-War  Blues and rockin’  rhythm  & blues  rages of  the stage and rumbles through the festival grounds. Maison du Malheur has arrived.

blues, maison du malheur

Continue reading The New Orleans Blues Swing of Maison du Malheur

The Black Bull Blues of Little Walter

Little Walter | Marion Walter Jacobs (May 1, 1930)

Little Walter I would’ve liked to have played with  / Johnny Winter

The Swinging Harp

The first time I heard about Little Walter was in the movie Cadillac Recods. I was a nineteen year old boy who just invented some blues greats like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker. The first song that got my attention, and I’m sure many more Little Walter enthusiasts, was ‘My Babe’.  Everytime I hear that swinging harp and Guitar, it gives me a relaxing groove. Walters voice is one of a kind, that is what makes his music great.

Traveling

Little walter was born in Marksville, Louisiana. At age of twelve he dropped out of school, he would travel around, walking the streets of New Orleans, Memphis, Helena and St. Louis.

Chicago

When Little Walter arrived in Chicago he started playing music on Maxwell Street. A famous place for Chicago blues musicians, back in the day. Not only Walter but also many more Chicago legends made fame on Maxwell Street.  Among Little Walter artist like Floyd Jones, Big Bill Broonzy and Sonny Boy Williamson played there tunes on Maxwell Street.

Little Walter´s Music  

From now on it is possible to listen to some Blues records on the Black Bull Blues Blog. With Amazon musicplayer I can give an impression of the music I’m talking ’bout. Enjoy the famous Little Walter Tracks.

Death

A few months after returning from his second European tour, he was involved in a fight while taking a break from a performance at a nightclub on the South Side of Chicago. The relatively minor injuries sustained in this altercation aggravated and compounded damage he had suffered in previous violent encounters, and he died in his sleep at the apartment of a girlfriend at 209 E. 54th St. in Chicago early the following morning.

Grave

His body was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery inEvergreen Park, IL on February 22, 1968. His grave remained unmarked until 1991, when fans Scott Dirks and Eomot Rasun had a marker designed and installed