RIP Big Jack Johnson

Louis Erlanger
Sun Mar 13 18:40:25 EDT 2011

I'm very sorry to hear this. My first meeting with Big Jack was quite an
experience. It was in the late 1980s or early 1990. I can't remember. But I
went down to the Clarksdale area looking for him and drove around asking
people if they knew where he was playing.  Everyone knew him -- they'd say
"Oh, the oil man? I don't know where  he's playing but why don't you check
so and so."  Well by midnight I'd had no luck so I pulled into a Burger King
window for some fries, and I figured I'd ask the person behind the counter
about Jack. To my surprise she said "No I don't know where he's playing, but
his daughter's working in the back."  So Jack's daughter came out and gave
me his phone number and when I called the next day he invited me over.  He
was under his truck working when I got there. We ended up playing guitars
together. Then he drove me over to the house on Stovalls where Muddy Waters
had lived, and then down to Holly Springs to Junior Kimbrough's juke joint.
We picked up Mojo Buford and R. L. Burnside along the way, and saw some
incredible music at Junior's.  I met the Jelly Roll Kings and they turned me
on to moonshine, laughing at me while I drank it.  It was a great experience
for a blues fan, and one I'll never forget. Jack was a great guy, and an
incredible singer and guitarist.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jimmy Jacobs" <jacobslawoffice@GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Sunday, March 13, 2011 2:46 PM
Subject: RIP Big Jack Johnson

>A great loss indeed.  My first encounters with Big Jack were literary
> than musical.  I used to do a lot of speaking to community and education
> groups on school improvement and personal development (as a part of my
> job)
> and kept at the ready a transparency with this quote from Big Jack that I
> read in an article (Living Blues, I think):
> "The world's still standing like it was a million years ago. Sun still
> comes
> up and go down, wind still blow from the four corners of the earth, the
> stars still shine. It's the peoples that live in the world that's got it
> so
> messed up."
>                                                        Big Jack Johnson
> It never failed to get a positive response from the crowd.  I had the
> chance
> later to hear him play and to talk with him.  He couldn't remember the
> quote, exactly, but was proud that I had been telling people how smart he
> was. :)

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