Lonnie Johnson

In recognition of black history month I have decided to research black people who I have not posted before. I am always learning about black history and it always fascinates me on how many interesting black people I have yet to learn about, I hope you too enjoy reading about the people I have researched.

Lonnie Johnson was the most recorded Bluesman of the twenties. Johnson’s 12 string Gibson was a finer instrument than many blues guitarist ever saw. He was also one of the most influential. He was also a notable blues violinist as well.

His recording career started in 1925. In the years 1932-37 Johnson was living in Cleveland, Ohio. Then he moved to Chicago he got a gig at the three Deuces jazz club and began recording again. His theme was women can’t be trusted and men are pretty much rats as well. He was not known as a romantic.

He frequently found himself on sessions with the pianist Blind John Davis. In 1947 he signed with King Records he had a gigantic hit with ‘Tomorrow Night’. Johnson spent five years with King with cutting R&B ballads.

In 1959 a jazz-dj found Johnson working as hotel janitor. This meeting led to some new work opportunities his first booking was at the Chicago Playboy club. However. the new blues audience did not appreciate Johnson singing ‘I left my heart in San Franciso’.

In 1965 Johnson accepted an engagement in Toronto he liked the city so much that he opened a club. He like Bessie Smith was injured in a traffic accident which happened in 1969 unfortunately Johnson died a year later.

source; The Blues by Tony Russell



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