Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Lonnie Johnson Vol 1 1925 - 1926

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James 'Steady Roll' Johnson
Lonnie Johnson


Lonnie Johnson
01 - Mr. Johnson`s blues Listen
02 - Falling rain blues Listen
03 - Very lonesome blues Listen
04 - When I was lovin` changed my mind blues Listen
05 - Sun to sun blues Listen
06 - Bed of sand Listen
07 - Lonesome jail blues Listen

James "Steady Roll" Johnson
08 - No good blues Listen
09 - Newport blues Listen

Lonnie Johnson
10 - Love story blues Listen
11 - Nile of Genago Listen
12 - Five o` clock blues Listen
13 - Johnson`s Trio stomp Listen
14 - Woman changed my life Listen
15 - Lonnie`s got the blues Listen
16 - Good old woman Listen
17 - A good happy home Listen
18 - Baby you don`t know my mind Listen
19 - I have no sweet woman now Listen
20 - You drove a good man away Listen
21 - Ball and chain blues Listen
22 - You don`t see into the blues like me Listen
23 - There`s no use of lovin` Listen
24 - Baby, please tell me Listen
25 - I`m gonna dodge the blues just wait and see Listen

Lonnie Johnson, vocal, guitar. Violin, kazoo, harmonium
With contributions by James Johnson, violin, piano; James "Steady Roll" Johnson, vocal; John Arnold, piano; De Loise Searcy, piano; Victoria Spivey, vocal.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Blues Guitar.

Informative booklet notes by Chris Smith.
Detailed discography.

Abridged from this CDs booklet notes.
In 1925, Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson won a talent contest sponsored by Okeh, and acquired a seven year contract with them as a result. Male singers playing guitar were about to make the breakthrough on race records; Blind Lemon Jefferson was beginning to record about the same time as Lonnie. Nevertheless, Johnson seems to have been anxious to show his versatility on these first dates; on this CD, he plays violin on more numbers than he does guitar, as well as switching to piano, banjo and harmonium. His contract with Okeh required him to work as a staff musician as well as a name artist, and he may have wanted to impress the company with his range. He also seems to have wished to promote brother James, who was at all Lonnie's sessions until April 1927, also making some recordings of his own. James, like Lonnie, was a multi-instrumentalist, playing violin, banjo, guitar and piano. "He was better than me," Lonnie remembered proudly in 1960, and certainly they blended admirably together, whether playing violin and guitar, violin and banjo, two guitars, or even two fiddles, as on Very Lonesome Blues.

As an accomplished professional, Lonnie didn't limit himself to blues; the irresistible, if enigmatically named Nile Of Genago is a waltz for two guitars, straight from the 19th Century parlour tradition. From the same session, the crazily syncopated Johnson Trio Stomp crosses hillbilly music with silent movie piano. Nevertheless, from the first Lonnie Johnson made his mark as a blues singer, and one with an impeccably poised, elegant guitar style, the melody tripping along over rich chords in support of his clear, bittersweet vocals.

Already a master musician, Lonnie Johnson was also a lyricist of considerable originality, and one with decided views on the complexities of human affairs. Often, he was misogynistic: "To find a good woman, is like finding a dime in a bed of sand... Men, love will make you drink and gamble, and stay out all night long." "Ah, you don't see into these blues like me; I can see further into the blues, than a fish can in the deep blue sea", he proclaimed, and his appeal to his audience seems to have derived as much from his ability to analyse his and their concerns, and write coherent responses, delivered with conviction and sincerity, as from his instrumental proficiency.

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