That’s what I am, a Delta bluesman. 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)
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)|
“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”.
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 Shines
Sittin’ on top of the world:
Check out –> Illustrated Johnny Shines discography