empowering artistsearwig storeour mission
quote1-upper

The box set Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection brings to light...

Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records - Downbeat 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Downbeat Magazine

Read more herequote2-lower
quote1-upper

Anyone who's looking to advance their career would be very well served to have Michael...

Sari Schorr

New York songwriter/bandleader/singer

Read more herequote2-lower
quote1-upper

Michael is a 21st century renaissance man who has both the business acumen and the...

Don Wilcock

Freelance Music Writer

Read more herequote2-lower

Luther “Guitar” Johnson

Luther Johnson plays lead guitar on a track of Big Leon Brooks’ Earwig CD Let’s Go to Town.

Of the three blues guitarists answering to the name of Luther Johnson, this West Side-styled veteran is probably the best known. Adding to the general confusion surrounding the triumvirate: like Luther “Georgia Boy” Johnson, “Guitar Junior” spent a lengthy stint in the top-seeded band of Muddy Waters (1972-1979).

Gospel and blues intersected in young Luther Johnson’s life while he was still in Mississippi. But after he moved to Chicago in the mid-1950s, blues was his main passion, working with Ray Scott and Tall Milton Shelton before taking over the latter’s combo in 1962. Magic Sam was a major stylistic inspiration to Johnson during the mid-1960s (Johnson spent a couple of years in Sam’s band). The West side approach remains integral to Johnson’s sound today, even though he moved to the Boston area during the early ’80s.

Johnson’s 1976 debut album, Luther’s Blues, was cut during a European tour with Muddy Waters. By 1980, he was on his own, recording with the Nighthawks as well as four tracks on Alligator’s second series of Living Chicago Blues anthologies. With his own band, the Magic Rockers, and the Roomful of Blues horn section, Johnson released Doin’ the Sugar Too on Rooster Blues in 1984. In 1990, Johnson was  signed to Ron Levy’s Bullseye Blues logo; his three albums for the firm were sizzling, soul-tinged blues (with a strong West Side flavor often slicing through).

-Written by Bill Dahl

luther guitar johnson
Guitarist