Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Week 11: Blues Supplement: Lonnie Johnson and Victoria Spivey

Lonnie Johnson, 1927?

Right-pointing black triangle 'Careless Love' LONNIE JOHNSON (1928) Guitar Hero Legend Of Blues - YouTube

Right-pointing black triangle Lonnie Johnson - Careless Love (1965) - YouTube
Later version, from the time that Moe Asch recorded him for Folkways. Question: what was Lonnie Johnson's attiutude towards this belated attention?

Right-pointing black triangle Victoria Spivey & Lonnie Johnson - Dope Head Blues (1927) - YouTube
An early recording with Victoria Spivey. (By the way, the photo posted on YouTube is not Victoria Spivey!)

Victoria Spivey - Black Snake Blues - YouTube   VIDEO 1963 with lonnie johnson, sonnie boy williamson, willie dickson?

Right-pointing black triangle Eddie Lang & Lonnie Johnson Guitar Duet - Hot Fingers - YouTube
Lonnie Johnson and Eddie Lang (who recorded as Blind willie Dunn) made this and other records in the late 1920s. Note that Eddie Lang was a white musician, and the label chose to play down their working together (black musician and white musician). Johnson's single-line guitar solos were unique--and later influenced musicians like Charlie Christian (jazz guitar pioneer), Django Reinhardt and B.B. King. You can hear Lonnie Johnson in many of B.B King's riffs, who fully acknowledged their connection.

Right-pointing black triangle Lonnie Johnson - Another Night To Cry - YouTube  (VIDEO-TV)
Good to actually see him, in this 1960s TV video.

 Right-pointing black triangle Victoria Spivey - sings the Blues (1976) - YouTube
Here's a beautiful Victoria Spivey at 70 (listen carefully to the lyrics 1:45ff - and remember our in-class discussion--with cristina's comments--on Banks of the Ohio. Ending is equally powerful...
And here's a short NPR segment on Lonnie Johnson. It covers a lot, and some of the conversation is with Moe Asch, of Folkways Records, in the mid-1960s. Hearing Lonnie Johnson tell parts of his own story in his own way is a treasure. A great musician--and a truly modest man.