Billiken Johnson

Biography by

Billiken Johnson is an interesting figure in early blues history, since he didn't sing or play an instrument, and yet he recorded at least six sides in the late '20s. Johnson's unique talent was his ability…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Billiken Johnson is an interesting figure in early blues history, since he didn't sing or play an instrument, and yet he recorded at least six sides in the late '20s. Johnson's unique talent was his ability to imitate train whistles and provide other vocal effects, all of which made him a popular figure on-stage at the juke joints and taverns of the famed "Deep Ellum" district of Dallas, TX. Under his own name he recorded two tracks for Columbia Records ("Sun Beam Blues" and "Interurban Blues") in Dallas on December 3, 1927, followed by two more ("Frisco Blues" and "Wild Jack Blues") a year later on December 8, 1928. He is also listed as part of a duet of sorts with Texas Bill Day on "Billiken's Weary Blues" and "Elm Street Blues," recorded December 5, 1929, in Dallas and also issued by Columbia.