April 20: Johnny Shines passed away in 1992


johnny shines

April 20: Johnny Shines passed away in 1992

That’s what I am, a Delta blues man. And now I’m considered the king of the Delta blues.
~Johnny Shines (1989 Living Blues Interview)

Best known as a traveling companion of Robert Johnson, Johnny Shines’ own contributions to the blues have often been unfairly shortchanged, simply because Johnson’s own legend casts such a long shadow. In his early days, Shines was one of the top slide guitarists in Delta blues, with his own distinctive, energized style; one that may have echoed Johnson’s spirit and influence, but was never a mere imitation.
~Steve Huey (allmusic.com)

Sweet Home Chicago:

Long before becoming a force in Chicago blues, Johnny Shines hoboed with Robert Johnson through Depression-era America. They hopped freights, played on street corners, shared rooms and whiskey, and made it as far north as Canada. Johnson, the Mississippi Delta’s most celebrated blues performer, perished in 1938, and for the next half-century, his spirit haunted the music of Johnny Shines. It echoed in his turnarounds, mournful bottleneck slides, impassioned lyrics, and falsetto moans. At clubs, house parties, and other gatherings, Johnny Shines was just as likely to launch into Johnson’s “Crossroads Blues,” “Terraplane Blues,” and “Sweet Home Chicago” as he was his own “Evil-Hearted Woman Blues,” “A Little Tenderness,” and “Evening Sun.”
~Jas Obrecht (jasobrecht.com)

johnny shines 2

Ramblin (live ~mid 1970’s):


Johnny Shines (April 26, 1915 – April 20, 1992) was an American blues singer and guitarist.

Birth name John Ned Shines
Born April 26, 1915
Frayser, Memphis, United States
Died April 20, 1992 (aged 76)
Genres Blues
Instruments guitar
Years active 1932–1992
Labels Chess Records
J.O.B. Records
Vanguard Records

“Shines was that rare being, a blues artist who overcame age and rustiness to make music that stood up beside the work of his youth. When Shines came back to the blues in 1965 he was 50, yet his voice had the leonine power of a dozen years before, when he made records his reputation was based on”.
~Tony Russell

He was born John Ned Shines in Frayser, Memphis, United States. He spent most of his childhood in Memphis, Tennessee playing slide guitar at an early age in local “jukes” and for tips on the streets. He was “inspired by the likes of Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson, and the young Howlin’ Wolf”, but he was taught to play the guitar by his mother. Shines moved to Hughes, Arkansas in 1932 and worked on farms for three years putting his musical career on hold. It was a chance meeting with Robert Johnson, his greatest influence, that gave him the inspiration to return to music. In 1935, Shines began traveling with Johnson, touring the south and heading as far north as Ontario where they appeared on a local radio program. The two went their separate ways in 1937, one year before Johnson’s death.

robert johnson johnny shinesRobert Johnson & Johnny Shines

Shines played throughout the southern United States until 1941 when he settled in Chicago. There Shines found work in the construction industry but continued to play in local bars.

Sittin’ on top of the world:

Check out –> Illustrated Johnny Shines discography

Album of the day, Johnny Shines Live in Europe 1975


Other APR-20:

McCartney (1970) is the debut solo album by Paul McCartney. Apart from Linda McCartney’s vocal contributions, McCartney performed (and recorded) the entire album solo. Featuring loosely arranged (and in some cases, unfinished) home recordings, McCartney further explored the “back-to-basics” style which had been intended for The Beatles’ Let It Be. The album was reissued on 13 June 2011 as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection.

Released 20 April 1970
Recorded Late 1969 – March 1970 at McCartney’s Home; Morgan Studios, Willesden and Abbey Road Studio No. 2, London
Genre Rock, pop, experimental
Length 35:03
Label Apple, EMI
Producer Paul McCartney

Jimmy Winston (born James Edward Winston Langwith, 20 April 1945, Stratford, east London) was the original Keyboard player with Small Faces who rehearsed in the large function room above the Ruskin Arms, Manor Park, of which Jimmy’s father Bill Langwith was the landlord. Steve Marriott and the rest of the band replaced Winston with Ian McLagan. Winston had two older brothers: Frank who worked on the River Thames, and Derek.


Stephen Peter Marriott (30 January 1947 – 20 April 1991), popularly known as Steve Marriott, was an English musician, songwriter and frontman of several notable rock and roll bands, spanning over two decades. Marriott is remembered for his powerful singing voice which belied his small stature, and for his aggressive approach as a guitarist in the mod rock bands- the Small Faces (1965–1969) and Humble Pie (1969–1975 and 1980–1981).

In Britain, Marriott became a popular, often-photographed mod style icon through his role as lead singer and guitarist with the Small Faces in the mid to late 1960s.[1] Marriott was influenced from an early age by his heroes including Buddy Holly, Booker T & the MG’s, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters and Bobby Bland. In later life Marriott became disillusioned with the music industry and turned his back on the big record companies, remaining in relative obscurity. He returned to his music roots playing the pubs and clubs around London and Essex.

Marriott died on 20 April 1991 when a fire, thought to have been caused by a cigarette, swept through his 16th century home in Arkesden, Essex.  He posthumously received an Ivor Novello Award in 1996 for his Outstanding Contribution to British Music,and was listed in Mojo as one of the top 100 greatest singers of all time

Bob Dylan recorded “Under The Red Sky” (the song) in 1990.

-Egil & Hallgeir

4 thoughts on “April 20: Johnny Shines passed away in 1992”

  1. I saw Johnny Shines once in my life, in performance in Massachusetts in something like 1971 or so. In a tiny club on a campus: The Boston Blues Society had booked him to play a concert in the delta style of Robert Johnson… solo acoustic, as opposed to Mr. Shines’ Chicago bands of that time. While he was up in Massachusetts they block-booked a few other jobs to make it worth his while. His performance that night was indescribable. He scared me to death, in a profound way. Delta blues at its most intense & powerful. He was very sincere, very intelligent and thoughtful, and he had something to say. He had an incredible voice (although, by that time, he himself said that it had toned down a bit i.e. when he was a young man, he could ” … knock a barn down with his voice.” I believe it. I will never forget the look in his eye, all the time. He was something. No jive … just the best pure delta player I ever heard in person. Thank you very much for posting this.

    1. Great story! Thank you for sharing your experience with us, I’m sure it was as profound as you describe it.

      Thanks again!

      – Hallgeir

Comments are closed.