A Life in Music Selected Sides 1925-1953

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All Music Guide
Lonnie Johnson was best-known for his tonally beautiful guitar playing, but he was also a fine singer and songwriter, and pretty adept on violin, piano, banjo, mandolin, harmonium, and bass, as well. Equally at home in the blues or the jazz world he worked with artists as raw as Texas Alexander and as polished as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, and even later, the R&B world, Johnson's life as a professional musician began in the mid-'20s and stretched all the way into the '60s, when his career was given an autumnal boost during the folk/blues revival. This four-disc, 100- track box from JSP Records moves chronologically through Johnson's peak years with commercial labels, beginning with tracks like 1925's ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
Lonnie Johnson was best-known for his tonally beautiful guitar playing, but he was also a fine singer and songwriter, and pretty adept on violin, piano, banjo, mandolin, harmonium, and bass, as well. Equally at home in the blues or the jazz world he worked with artists as raw as Texas Alexander and as polished as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, and even later, the R&B world, Johnson's life as a professional musician began in the mid-'20s and stretched all the way into the '60s, when his career was given an autumnal boost during the folk/blues revival. This four-disc, 100- track box from JSP Records moves chronologically through Johnson's peak years with commercial labels, beginning with tracks like 1925's "Falling Rain Blues," which was cut for OKeh with Johnson singing and playing violin, through Johnson's gorgeous solo version of W.C. Handy's "Careless Love," also cut for OKeh and released in 1928. The wry and wise "Hard Times Ain't Gone No Where" is included from his stay at Decca Records. Johnson signed to Bluebird Records a year later in 1938 and began playing an amplified guitar. Always in demand on the instrument, Johnson was also a graceful and elegant singer, and his ability to bring an emotional sincerity to blues ballads gave him a hit in 1948 with "Tomorrow Night" when he was signed to King Records. Johnson began using jazzy, horn-based R&B combos toward the end of his stay at King and with his run at Rama Records that followed, and sides like "I'm Guilty," included on disc four here, show just how versatile this amazing musician could be. There are several single-disc releases of Lonnie Johnson's work on the market and casual listeners may well want to start with one of those, since there is a lot of repetition here none of the musicians from the '20s and '30s could have anticipated having multi-disc box sets, but as an extensive overview of Johnson's peak commercial years, the four-disc A Life in Music is a fascinating listen.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/26/2010
  • Label: Jsp Records
  • UPC: 788065711726
  • Catalog Number: 77117

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Won't Don't Blues (3:06)
  2. 2 Mr Johnson's Blues (2:42)
  3. 3 Falling Rain Blues (3:03)
  4. 4 No Good Blues (2:35)
  5. 5 Newport Blues (2:36)
  6. 6 Love Story Blues (2:28)
  7. 7 Nile Of Genago (2:44)
  8. 8 To Do This You Gotta Know How (3:08)
  9. 9 South Bound Water (2:45)
  10. 10 I Done Told You (2:59)
  11. 11 Steppin' On The Blues (2:54)
  12. 12 Four Hands Are Better Than Two (3:25)
  13. 13 I Love You Mary Lou (3:06)
  14. 14 Woke Up With The Blues In My Fingers (3:11)
  15. 15 Stay Out Of Walnut Street Alley (3:13)
  16. 16 St. Louis Cyclone Blues (3:06)
  17. 17 6/88 Glide (3:01)
  18. 18 Life Saver Blues (3:07)
  19. 19 Untitled Instrumental (2:48)
  20. 20 I'm Not Rough (3:02)
  21. 21 Hotter Than That (3:02)
  22. 22 Savoy Blues (3:29)
  23. 23 Playing With The Strings (3:02)
  24. 24 Stompin' 'Em Along Slow (2:54)
  25. 25 Away Down In The Alley Blues (2:51)
Disc 2
  1. 1 The Mooche (3:19)
  2. 2 Move Over (3:07)
  3. 3 Hot And Bothered (3:22)
  4. 4 Careless Love (2:56)
  5. 5 Paducah (2:59)
  6. 6 Star Dust (3:00)
  7. 7 Have To Change Key To Play These Blues (3:03)
  8. 8 Jet Black Blues (3:04)
  9. 9 Blue Blood Blues (3:01)
  10. 10 Sitting On Top Of The World (3:04)
  11. 11 Kansas City Man Blues (2:56)
  12. 12 A Handful of Riffs (3:07)
  13. 13 She's Makin' Whoopee In Hell Tonight (3:11)
  14. 14 Another Woman Booked Out And Bound To Go (3:13)
  15. 15 Wipe It Off (3:20)
  16. 16 The Dirty Dozen (3:09)
  17. 17 Deep Sea Blues (3:28)
  18. 18 Got The Blues For Murder Only (3:24)
  19. 19 Just A Roamin' Man (2:53)
  20. 20 Jelly Killed Old Sam (3:07)
  21. 21 The Faults of All Women and Men (3:06)
  22. 22 The Best Jockey in Town (2:56)
  23. 23 Uncle Ned Don't Lose Your Head (3:05)
  24. 24 I'm Nuts About That Gal (3:12)
  25. 25 Racketeers Blues (3:13)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Man Killing Broad (2:32)
  2. 2 Hard Times Ain't Gone No Where (2:39)
  3. 3 Got The Blues For The West End (2:40)
  4. 4 Why Women Go Wrong (2:56)
  5. 5 Jersey Belle Blues (3:03)
  6. 6 Four-O-Three Blues (3:02)
  7. 7 Crowing Rooster Blues (2:39)
  8. 8 Lazy Woman Blues (3:03)
  9. 9 Chicago Blues (2:48)
  10. 10 From 22 to 44 (3:03)
  11. 11 Rambler's Blues (2:56)
  12. 12 Fly Right, Baby (3:20)
  13. 13 He's A Jelly-Roll Baker (3:18)
  14. 14 Watch Shorty (3:07)
  15. 15 Keep What You Got (2:55)
  16. 16 Drifting Along Blues (2:58)
  17. 17 How Could You Be So Mean (2:53)
  18. 18 Rocks In My Bed (3:00)
  19. 19 Love Is The Answer (2:47)
  20. 20 Blues For Everybody (3:05)
  21. 21 Blues In My Soul (2:55)
  22. 22 Your Last Time Out (2:49)
  23. 23 Blues for Lonnie (2:44)
  24. 24 What A Woman (2:50)
  25. 25 Tomorrow Night (3:02)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Friendless Blues (3:01)
  2. 2 Falling Rain Blues (2:48)
  3. 3 It's Too Late To Cry (2:23)
  4. 4 Playing Around (2:44)
  5. 5 My My Baby (3:13)
  6. 6 Trouble Ain't Nothing But The Blues (2:43)
  7. 7 Blues Stay Away From Me (2:52)
  8. 8 Nothing But Trouble (2:43)
  9. 9 Old Fashioned Love (2:24)
  10. 10 What Do You Want That I've Got, Pretty Baby (2:51)
  11. 11 Why Should I Cry (2:48)
  12. 12 It Was All In Vain (2:41)
  13. 13 You Only Want Me When You're Lonely (2:57)
  14. 14 Me and My Crazy Self (2:36)
  15. 15 Seven Long Days (3:11)
  16. 16 I'm Guilty (2:45)
  17. 17 Just Another Day (2:36)
  18. 18 You Can't Buy Love (2:56)
  19. 19 Can't Sleep Any More (2:22)
  20. 20 Don't Make Me Cry, Baby (2:41)
  21. 21 My Woman Is Gone (2:50)
  22. 22 Will You Remember (2:52)
  23. 23 Stick With It, Baby (2:40)
  24. 24 I Found A Dream (2:47)
  25. 25 It's Been So Long (2:35)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lonnie Johnson Primary Artist, Banjo, Guitar, Violin, Kazoo, Vocals
Blind John Davis Piano
Hoagy Carmichael Percussion, scat
Johnny Dodds Clarinet
Johnny Hodges Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
James P. Johnson Piano
Eddie Lang Guitar
King Oliver Cornet
Kid Ory Trombone
Todd Rhodes Piano
Hal Singer Tenor Saxophone
Red Prysock Tenor Saxophone
Don Redman Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Carl Wilson Bass
Johnny St. Cyr Banjo
Bubber Miley Trumpet
Wellman Braud Bass
Sonny Greer Drums
Ed Allen Cornet
Tom Archia Tenor Saxophone
Louis Armstrong Vocals
Lil Armstrong Piano
Vincent Bair-Beyes Alto Saxophone
Bill Benjamin Drums
Barney Bigard Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Teddy Buckner Baritone Saxophone
Nelson Burton Drums
Harry Carney Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
Langston Curl Trumpet
Leonard Davis Trumpet
Holley Dismukes Alto Saxophone
Clarence Donaldson Drums
Duke Ellington Piano
John Erby Piano
Porter Grainger Piano
Fred Guy Banjo
Andrew Harris Bass
Simeon Hatch Piano
Charlie Hooks Trumpet
Charlie Irvis Clarinet, Trombone, Tenor Saxophone
J.C. Johnson Piano
Claude Jones Trombone
Joe Knight Piano
Ransom Knowling Bass
Clarence Mack Bass
Monte Morrison Bass
Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton Trombone
Hot Lips Page Trumpet
Frank Payne Piano
Calvin Shields Drums
Herman Smith Piano
Louis Stephens Tenor Saxophone
Dave Wilborn Banjo
Clarence Williams Vocals, Washboard, Jug
Spencer Williams Vocals, Scraper
Ralph Escudero Brass
Cuba Austin Drums
Ray Felder Tenor Saxophone
John Nesbitt Trumpet
Prince Robinson Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Milton Senior Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
James Johnson Guitar
Baby Cox Vocals
Eddie Smith Bass
Horace Eubanks Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Joe Williams Bass
John Arnold Piano
Paul Renfro Tenor Saxophone
Paul Parks Bass
Jimmy Robinson Piano
George Thomas Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Franklyn Skeete Bass
Pete Patterson Banjo
Leon Abramson Drums
James "Steady Roll" Johnson Banjo, Guitar, Violin, Vocals
Sam Long Alto Saxophone
Lazy Harris Piano
Josh Atheimer Piano
Joe Britten Trombone
Cranston Hamilton Piano
Arthur Whetsel Trumpet
William Rollins Tenor Saxophone
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