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.