The Original Guitar Wizard

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
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, Johnson's life as a professional musician began in the mid-'20s and stretched all the way into the 1960s, when his career was given an autumnal boost during the folk/blues revival. This four-disc 95-track box from Proper moves chronologically through Johnson's peak years with commercial labels, beginning with his prolific OKeh ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
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, Johnson's life as a professional musician began in the mid-'20s and stretched all the way into the 1960s, when his career was given an autumnal boost during the folk/blues revival. This four-disc 95-track box from Proper moves chronologically through Johnson's peak years with commercial labels, beginning with his prolific OKeh years, which are covered on the first two discs highlights include several elegant instrumentals, a particularly fine solo version of W.C. Handy's "Careless Love," and some amazing duets with jazz guitarist Eddie Lang and conclude on the third disc, the first part of which covers Johnson's last years with the label he was released from his contract in 1932. After moving to Chicago, Johnson signed with Decca in 1937, and his amazing solo guitar performance called "Swing Out Rhythm" is included here from the Decca stay. In 1939 Johnson moved to RCA Victor's Bluebird imprint, and those sides round out the third disc and begin the fourth. In 1947, having switched from acoustic to electric guitar, Johnson left Bluebird, and after tracking some sides for Moe Asch's Disc label, followed by a brief stay at Aladdin, he began a long association with King. One of his first cuts for the label, "Tomorrow Night," included here, topped the R&B charts for several weeks in 1948 and touched off Johnson's R&B years, which saw the guitarist moving more toward ballads and working increasingly with large horn sections. His association with King ended in 1951, and his final commercial tracks for the label conclude disc four of this set. 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 1920s and 1930s could have anticipated having multi-disc box sets, but as an extensive overview of Johnson's peak years, The Original Guitar Wizard is a steal at a budget price.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/22/2005
  • Label: Proper Box Uk
  • UPC: 805520020817
  • Catalog Number: 81

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Mr. Johnson's Blues (2:44)
  2. 2 Johnson's Trio Stomp (3:00)
  3. 3 To Do This You Got to Know How (3:09)
  4. 4 South Bound Water (2:46)
  5. 5 I Done Told You (3:00)
  6. 6 Steppin' on the Blues (2:55)
  7. 7 Steady Grind (3:26)
  8. 8 Four Hands Are Better Than Two (3:19)
  9. 9 Woke Up With the Blues in My Fingers (3:12)
  10. 10 Backwater Blues (3:39)
  11. 11 Mean Old Bed Bug Blues (2:56)
  12. 12 Roaming Ramble Blues (3:05)
  13. 13 Stay Out of Walnut Street Alley (3:13)
  14. 14 St. Louis Cyclone Blues (3:06)
  15. 15 Bedbug Blues, Pt. 2 (3:03)
  16. 16 Garter Snake Blues (3:16)
  17. 17 6/88 Glide (3:01)
  18. 18 Life Saver Blues (3:07)
  19. 19 I'm Not Rough - Louis Armstrong (3:01)
  20. 20 Sweet Potato Blues (2:59)
  21. 21 Hotter Than That (3:03)
  22. 22 Savoy Blues (3:30)
  23. 23 Playing With the Strings (3:02)
  24. 24 Stompin' Em Along Now (2:55)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Deep Blue Sea Blues (3:05)
  2. 2 No More Women Blues (3:03)
  3. 3 I'm So Tired of Living All Alone (3:07)
  4. 4 Crowing Rooster Blues (2:41)
  5. 5 Broken Levee Blues (3:26)
  6. 6 Careless Love (2:57)
  7. 7 Toothache Blues, Pts. 1-2 (6:10)
  8. 8 Misty Mornin' - Duke Ellington (3:20)
  9. 9 Two Tone Stomp - Blind Willie Dunn (3:02)
  10. 10 Have to Change Keys to Play These Blues - Blind Willie Dunn (3:03)
  11. 11 It Feels So Good, Pts. 1-2 (6:15)
  12. 12 Jet Black Blues - Blind Willie Dunn (3:03)
  13. 13 Guitar Blues - Blind Willie Dunn (3:16)
  14. 14 Blue Guitars - Blind Willie Dunn (3:13)
  15. 15 Bullfrog Moan - Blind Willie Dunn (3:18)
  16. 16 Sundown Blues (3:05)
  17. 17 The New Fallin' Rain Blues (3:14)
  18. 18 You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now, Pts. 1-2 (6:08)
  19. 19 Hot Fingers - Blind Willie Dunn (3:00)
  20. 20 Blue Room - Blind Willie Dunn (3:07)
  21. 21 She's Making Whoopee in Hell Tonight (3:11)
  22. 22 Another Woman Booked Out and Bound to Go (3:13)
Disc 3
  1. 1 I Got the Best Jelly Roll in Town, Pts. 1-2 (6:54)
  2. 2 The Dirty Dozen (3:09)
  3. 3 I Just Can't Stand These Blues (3:31)
  4. 4 Deep Sea Blues (3:29)
  5. 5 Long Black Train (3:00)
  6. 6 I Have to Do My Time (3:10)
  7. 7 No More Troubles Now (3:16)
  8. 8 You're Getting Old on Your Job - Clara Smith (3:17)
  9. 9 Don't Wear It Out - Clara Smith (3:20)
  10. 10 Got the Blues for Murder Only (3:24)
  11. 11 Let All Married Women Alone (3:20)
  12. 12 Beautiful But Dumb (3:03)
  13. 13 Sleepy Water Blues (3:04)
  14. 14 Uncle Red, Don't Use Your Head (3:06)
  15. 15 I'm Nuts About That Gal (3:13)
  16. 16 Racketeers Blues (3:14)
  17. 17 Swing Out Rhythm (2:39)
  18. 18 Why Women Go Wrong (2:54)
  19. 19 Jersey Belle Blues (2:59)
  20. 20 The Loveless Blues (3:15)
  21. 21 I'm Just Dumb (3:00)
  22. 22 Get Yourself Together (3:13)
  23. 23 Crowing Rooster Blues (2:39)
Disc 4
  1. 1 That's Love (2:59)
  2. 2 Lazy Woman Blues (3:03)
  3. 3 In Love Again (2:55)
  4. 4 He's a Jelly Roll Baker (3:18)
  5. 5 When You Feel Low Down (2:57)
  6. 6 The Victim of Love (3:14)
  7. 7 Watch Shorty (3:08)
  8. 8 Keep What You Got (2:58)
  9. 9 Love Is the Answer (2:49)
  10. 10 Tomorrow Night (3:03)
  11. 11 What a Real Woman (2:39)
  12. 12 Falling Rain Blues (2:48)
  13. 13 Working Man's Blues (2:40)
  14. 14 Playing Around (2:44)
  15. 15 Trouble Ain't Nothing But the Blues (2:01)
  16. 16 Blues Stay Away from Me (2:05)
  17. 17 Little Rockin' Chair (2:53)
  18. 18 Nothing But Trouble (2:44)
  19. 19 Why Should I Cry (2:48)
  20. 20 It Was All in Vain (2:41)
  21. 21 You Only Want Me When You're Lonely (2:57)
  22. 22 Me and My Crazy Self (2:36)
  23. 23 I'm Guilty (2:45)
  24. 24 Just Another Day (2:36)
  25. 25 You Can't Buy Love (2:56)
  26. 26 Can't Sleep Any More (2:21)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lonnie Johnson Primary Artist, Banjo, Guitar, Violin, Leader, Vocals, Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part
Blind John Davis Piano
Victoria Spivey Piano, Vocals
Hoagy Carmichael Percussion, Vocals
Johnny Dodds Clarinet
Johnny Hodges Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
James P. Johnson Piano
Eddie Lang Guitar
King Oliver Cornet
Kid Ory Trombone
Tommy Smith Bass
Joe Williams Bass
Todd Rhodes Piano
Red Prysock Tenor Saxophone
Johnny St. Cyr Banjo
Bubber Miley Trumpet
Wellman Braud Bass
Sonny Greer Drums
Texas Alexander Vocals
Joshua Altheimer Piano
Louis Armstrong Trumpet, Vocals
Lil Armstrong Piano
Bill Benjamin Drums
Barney Bigard Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Nelson Burton Drums
Harry Carney Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
Holley Dismukes Alto Saxophone
Duke Ellington Piano
Alfred Elkins Bass
John Erby Piano
Porter Grainger Piano
Fred Guy Banjo
Andrew Harris Bass
Simeon Hatch Piano
Charlie Hooks Trumpet
John Hughes Piano
Freddie Jenkins Trumpet
J.C. Johnson Piano
Ransom Knowling Bass
Clarence Mack Bass
Monte Morrison Bass
Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton Trombone
Payl Parks Bass
Deloise Searcy Piano
Calvin Shields Drums
Franklin Skeete Bass
Herman Smith Piano
Louis Stephens Tenor Saxophone
Arthur Whetsol Trumpet
Clarence Williams Piano, gourd
Spencer Williams Vocals
Ray Felder Tenor Saxophone
Clara Smith Vocals
Jimmy Robinson Piano
Allen "Grip" Smith Piano
Willie Wilkins Piano
Leo Abramson Drums
Eddie Smith Tenor Saxophone
Ted Buckner Baritone Saxophone
James Ivory Johnson Guitar, Piano
Alex "Charlie Brown" Hill Piano
John Arnold Piano
Paul Renfro Tenor Saxophone
Technical Credits
Lonnie Johnson Composer
Bessie Smith Composer
Eddie Lang Composer
Kid Ory Composer
W.C. Handy Composer
Texas Alexander Composer
Louis Armstrong Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Henry Glover Composer
Lil Hardin Composer
Alec Johnson Composer
Martha E. Koenig Composer
L. Mann Composer
Wayne Raney Composer
Arthur Whetsol Composer
Spencer Williams Composer
Alton Delmore Composer
Sam Coslow Composer
Joop Visser Producer, Liner Notes
Will Grosz Composer
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