Thursday, February 16, 2006

Luther Johnson

Luther Johnson has profoundly impacted my life.

There have been three prominent Bluesmen named Luther Johnson. In addition to the most famous, Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson from Mississippi, 
there are also two from Georgia. Luther “Georgia Boy” Johnson, who was also called “Georgia Boy Shaky Snake” and Luther “Houserocker” Johnson.

I am indeed referring to the ”Houserocker".

Not only did I name my cat, Luther “the Houserockin’ Kitty”, after seeing him perform in 1993, I can never forget the message he gave to me through his music and our meeting after the concert. He said, with a smile I will never forget, “Young man, you’ve got to love what you do”.

A simple message you might say, but it was at this time in my life that I needed the advice of an old bluesman (although he was only 54 at the time). I was single, not enjoying my new career as a therapist and was having a difficult time deciding on “what to do with my life”. The typical 23 year old, out of college and looking at life and all it’s possibilities in a perspective only a young person can.

In front of me was a man who was living life as a musician, taught himself how to play guitar as a teenager and as tough as the road may have been, kept on playing and kept on smiling.

The friends that joined me that night in Atlanta were witnesses to my fascination of Mr. Johnson, and can attest to the love and respect I immediately felt for a man I had never met before. I was completely moved by his presence and his attitude, and bought every CD he offered. Jokingly, I mentioned following him on his European tour with his backup band, the Shadows.

Although I see things a lot differently now than 13 years ago, I still hold on to his message and always smile when I think back on that January night in Atlanta.

I’m happy to see that Luther still rocks the house at Blind Willies in Atlanta playing crowd favorites "She wants to sell my monkey" and "Things I used to do" .

You should check him out if you ever have a chance.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Mike said...

I'd love to see a real blues man belting it outthese days. They're a dying breed.

Is that last song the same as "Things That I Used to Do" that SRV immortalized?

Friday, 17 February, 2006  
Blogger Mark said...

If you like current blues by some wonderful old guys from Mississippi, check out www.fatpossum.com. for a label that is putting out some great stuff.
We'll kick some jams in Maine later this year...

Sunday, 19 February, 2006  

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