Big Jack Johnson

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Big Jack Johnson
Big Jack Johnson - Chicago Blues Festival 2009.jpg
Big Jack Johnson performing at the Chicago Blues Festival, 2009
Background information
Born (1940-07-30)July 30, 1940
Lambert, Mississippi, United States
Died March 14, 2011(2011-03-14) (aged 70)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Genres Delta blues, country blues, electric blues
Occupation(s) Musician, singer, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1960–2011
Labels Earwig Records, various
Associated acts Jelly Roll Kings, Big Jack Johnson and the Oilers

Big Jack Johnson (July 30, 1940 – March 14, 2011) was an American electric blues musician.

One commentator noted that Johnson, along with R. L. Burnside, Paul "Wine" Jones, Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes and James "Super Chikan" Johnson, were "present-day exponents of an edgier, electrified version of the raw, uncut Delta blues sound."[1]


Johnson was born in Lambert, Mississippi in 1940.[2] His father was a country and blues musician. Johnson started playing with him, but in his teens shifted to an electric guitar. In 1962, Johnson joined with Sam Carr and Frank Frost to form The Jelly Roll Kings and The Nighthawks.[3] Johnson's first recordings as a vocalist appeared on the 1979 album Rockin' the Juke Joint Down, on Earwig Music. With Frost as the bandleader, they performed and recorded together for 15 years.[4]

He has recorded both solo and as a member of the blues groups the Jelly Roll Kings[2] and Big Jack Johnson and the Oilers (with poet/musician Dick Lourie). Johnson's album for Earwig, The Oil Man (1987), includes "Catfish Blues."[4]

He performed and wrote "Jack's Blues" and performed "Catfish Medley" with Samuel L. Jackson on the Black Snake Moan film soundtrack.[5] Daddy, When Is Mama Comin Home? (1990) presents social concerns.[4]

More recently, Big Jack Johnson played and recorded with his band The Cornlickers, with Dale Wise on drums, Dave Groninger on guitar, Tony Ryder on bass, and Bobby Gentilo on guitar. Together they recorded the CDs "Katrina" (2009) and "Big Jack's Way"(2012).

Johnson died from an undisclosed illness on March 14, 2011.[6] According to family members, he had struggled with health issues in his final years, worsening to the point that there were erroneous reports of his death several times in the weeks prior to his death.[citation needed]

Partial discography[edit]

  • The Oil Man (1987)
  • Rooster Blues (1987)
  • Daddy, When Is Mama Comin' Home (1991)
  • We Got to Stop This Killin' (1996)
  • Live in Chicago (1997)
  • All the Way Back* (1998)
  • Live in Chicago* (1998)
  • Roots Stew* (2000)
  • The Memphis Barbecue Sessions (2002)
  • Black Snake Moan (2007)
  • Juke Joint Saturday Night Live (2008)
  • Katrina (2009)
  • Big Jack's Way (2010)




  1. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 160. ISBN 1-904041-96-5. 
  2. ^ a b "Big Jack Johnson Bio" (PDF). JW Entertainment at Hudson River Park web site. Retrieved 2007-11-05. [dead link]
  3. ^ Russell, Tony (June 1, 2011). "Big Jack Johnson Obituary". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  4. ^ a b c Dahl, Bill. "Allmusic biography". Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  5. ^ "Soundtracks for Black Snake Moan". at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-11-05. 
  6. ^ Mississippi bluesman Big Jack Johnson dies
  7. ^ "Allmusic ((( Big jack Johnson > Discography > Main Albums )))". 

External links[edit]