Johnny Jenkins

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For the American racecar driver, see Johnny Jenkins (racing driver).

Johnny Edward Jenkins (March 5, 1939 – June 26, 2006)[1][2] was an American left-handed blues guitarist, who helped launch the career of Otis Redding.[2] His flamboyant style of guitar playing also influenced Jimi Hendrix.[3]


In the 1960s Jenkins was the leader of the Pinetoppers, who employed a young Otis Redding as singer.[3] As Jenkins did not possess a driver's license of his own, the young Redding also served as his personal driver.[2] During a recording session in 1962 organized by the band's manager Phil Walden, Jenkins left forty minutes of studio time unused. Redding used this time to record a ballad entitled "These Arms of Mine" on which Jenkins played guitar.[3] In a biography written by Scott Freeman, entitled Otis!: The Otis Redding Story, there are several accounts of that chaotic day at Stax Records.[4] In 1964, Jenkins released an instrumental single called "Spunky." (Volt V-122).[5]

With Phil Walden concentrating on Redding's flourishing career, Jenkins was sidelined and it was not until after Redding's death in 1967 that Walden again concentrated on Jenkins's career.[2] In 1970, Jenkins released the album Ton-Ton Macoute!.[3] The opening track, a cover of Dr. John's "I Walk on Gilded Splinters",[2] has been sampled by numerous musicians, including Beck and Oasis. Several tracks on Ton-Ton Macoute! featured Duane Allman on guitar and dobro.[6]

With Walden again becoming involved in other projects, Jenkins became disillusioned with the music industry and did nothing of note until 1996. By then Walden had persuaded him to make a comeback, and he released the album Blessed Blues recorded with Chuck Leavell.[3] Two further albums followed; Handle With Care and All in Good Time.[7]

Jenkins died from a stroke in June 2006 in the same town he was born: Macon, Georgia. He was 67.[1][3]

In 2012, Jenkins was inducted in to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.[8]


  1. ^ a b Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2006 January To June". Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Guitarist Johnny Jenkins; Aided Otis Redding". Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Richard Skelly (2006-06-26). "Johnny Jenkins | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  4. ^ "Otis!: The Otis Redding Story: Scott Freeman: Books". Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  5. ^ "Johnny Jenkins - Spunky / Bashful Guitar (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  6. ^ "Ton-Ton Macoute! - Johnny Jenkins | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  7. ^ "Johnny Jenkins | Discography". AllMusic. 2006-06-26. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  8. ^ "Johnny Jenkins induction into the Georgia Music Hall Of Fame 10/13/12". YouTube. 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 

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