Johnny Woods

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Johnny Woods
Born (1917-11-01)November 1, 1917
Looxahoma, Mississippi, United States
Died February 1, 1990(1990-02-01) (aged 72)
Olive Branch, Mississippi, United States
Genres Delta blues
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, harmonica
Years active 1959–90
Labels Arhoolie, Oblivion, Rounder Records, Fat Possum
Associated acts R.L. Burnside, Mississippi Fred McDowell,[1] Tom Pomposello

Johnny Woods (November 1, 1917 – February 1, 1990) was an American blues singer and harmonica player in the North Mississippi hill country blues style.

Woods was born in a small Mississippi town called Looxahoma, just west of Mississippi Highway 35.[2] His harmonica playing first gained notoriety in the 1960s as a duet partner with fellow blues revival discovery guitarist/singer Mississippi Fred McDowell. They recorded together first for George Mitchell in 1967, for Chris Strachwitz's Arhoolie Records (King of the Country Blues V2), Swingmaster (Blues of Johnny Woods)[3] and in 1972 for Tom Pomposello and Fred Seibert on Oblivion Records (Mississippi Harmonica).[4]

Stylistically, Woods' music sprang from the same North Mississippi Fife and drum blues band tradition as McDowell's. However, personal problems kept him rooted in the Delta, primarily working as a farm hand and sharecropper.

After McDowell's death in July 1973, Woods faded away until George Mitchell paired him again with another late Mitchell Mississippi Delta discovery, R. L. Burnside, himself a McDowell disciple. Together they recorded the Swingmaster album and video, Going Down South.

Johnny Woods died in Olive Branch, Mississippi in 1990.


  1. ^ Seibert, Fred (2008). A Very Brief History of Johnny Woods > Mississippi Harmonica". [1]
  2. ^ Adit-Image
  3. ^ Gérard Herzhaft, Paul Harris, Jerry Haussler, Anton J. Mikofsky; Encyclopedia of the Blues, 1997 [2]
  4. ^ Seibert, Fred. Johnny Woods @ The Oblivion Records Blog

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