Tommy Johnson

Tommy Johnson & Associates

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Tommy Johnson only recorded 17 sides (including alternate takes) for Victor and Paramount in two sessions in Memphis, TN, in February and August of 1928 and another session in December of 1929 (some historians move it back a month to January) in Grafton, WI. Although his output was slight, and full of repetition at that, Johnson had a tremendous influence over both his contemporaries and the next generation of Delta blues players, and his "Canned Heat Blues," "Cool Drink of Water Blues," "Big Road Blues," and "Maggie Campbell Blues" all became folk-blues templates for scores of song variations by other players. This anthology collects eight of Johnson's sides and combines them with tracks by contemporaries who either played with Johnson or were directly influenced by him, including Willie Lofton, Ishman Bracey, Kokomo Arnold, Bumble Bee Slim, and Bo Carter. The end result is a wonderful survey of the so-called "Big Road" school of late-'20s Mississippi blues.

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