Mojo’s Cold Shot: Happy 70th, Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson

Written by Mojo's Cold Shot, Music

This column, sadly, sometimes looks like the blues obituary page. Well, forget that for now! This Shot, we’re celebrating the life Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, a ripping-good Chicago-style guitarist who cut his teeth with legends Muddy Waters and Magic Sam, touring with them in the ’60s and ’70s.

He still plays out–mostly in New England, where he makes his home nowadays. In fact, I and fellow Popdoser Ed Murray caught him at The Village Trestle in Goffstown earlier this month, where he rang in his 70th birthday after the gig.

Here’s a fantastic 10 minute shot of Luther in his solo rockin’ prime of the 1980s, done from a Cambridge, Mass. club. You can hear the Mississippi and N’Awlins in his voice in the interview part, but the music is pure urban blues along Memphis and Chicago lines, with Muddy and B.B. King sounds coming out of his guitar. (Bonus: The video also features awesome Pinetop Perkins footage, as he performs with Luther; that guy, by the way, is still pumping out blues in his 90s, and last I heard, was still pretty sharp):

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Z8kTmiVLoo8" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

So there you go. Still kicking and entertaining folks, Luther’s a living guitar legend, the kind of which we’re losing left and right as they all get to be that age. Go see him and support him out there on the road, the guy’s got blues running in his veins and still brings it, albeit with a few more slower, downhome selections mixed in that he used to. After the show, meet him, buy a couple CDs, shake his hand, get an autograph. He’s good like that.

Here’s a double-shot of music, “Doin’ The Sugar, Too,” the title track from his 1984 Bullseye Blues album, and “Got To Find A Way,” another title track–this one from his 1998 Telarc album.