Tommy Johnson

Also known as Johnson, T. Johnson

Discography of Tommy Johnson:

# Release title Total tracks Type of release is Imprint date Label
1 (1928-30) Complete Recordings In Chronological Order 12 Audio Wolf Records (2)
2 Bye Bye Blues / Maggie Campbel Blues 2 Audio 1928 Victor
3 Canned Heat Blues / Big Fat Mama Blues 2 Audio 1929 Victor
4 Alcohol And Jake Blues / Ridin' Horse 2 Audio Paramount
5 (1928-1929) Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order 17 Audio 2008 Document Records (2)
6 The Famous 1928 Session 15 Audio 1969 Roots (2)
7 Canned Heat Blues (The Legendary 1928 Memphis Sessions) 13 Audio 2014 JSP Records
8 Canned Heat Blues - Complete Recordings In Chronological Order (1928-1929) 19 Audio

Born: 1886 in Terry, Mississippi (USA).

Died: Nov 1, 1956 in Crystal Springs , Mississippi (USA).

Style: Delta Blues

Johnson was a hell-raiser who could belt out the blues with a wide vocal range, from a low throaty snarl to a high falsetto. He had a dramatic flair in performance similar to his contemporary, Delta blues king Charley Patton, and in the early, pre-Robert Johnson days his influence on the genre was second only to that of Patton and Son House. He was not a virtuoso on the guitar, but had an original, evocative style, well-matched to his theatrical delivery. Johnson significantly influenced blues greats Muddy Waters, Robert Nighthawk and especially Howlin' Wolf, who would carry on and even outdo the Patton/Johnson tradition of incendiary, down-and-dirty showmanship. Johnson was also the quintessential blues bad boy, with a penchant for rampant womanizing and for alcohol, the latter of which led him to drastic extremes. He was known to down denatured alcohol, used for artificial heat, when the real thing wasn't available, a habit he documented in his original song "Canned Heat," from which the 1960s blues-rock group took its name.

A heart attack brought his life to a close.

Johnson only recorded for two years, from 1928 to 1930. Although, he only left behind a small collection of recordings, they were outstanding, almost all of which to became classics.

Essential listening: "Maggie Campbell," "Big Road Blues," "Cool Drink of Water," "Canned Heat"

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