[Blues-l] Blues Festivals

John Kristoff jtk@dataplane.org
Tue Feb 28 13:58:48 EST 2023

On Mon, 22 Jun 2020 15:24:36 -0500
John Kristoff <jtk@depaul.edu> wrote:

> There was this older guy who joined some people playing on the street
> in Chicago during the 1988 Chicago blues fest.  He must have taken at
> least 10 minutes if it wasn't an hour to tune the guy's guitar he
> borrowed.  Some of the crowd were getting really antsy and annoyed,
> but something amazing I could tell was about to happen.  When he
> finally started playing, I was blown away.  I've never heard anyone
> play like and I don't think I have since. I can't even describe it.
> When I asked some guy next to me "who the hell is that?!" he told me
> it was so and so, and yea he is a bit of a local legend, but the
> bottle got him so he doesn't usually play much.  I thought I had
> heard of all the famous Chicago blues people, but I never heard of
> him.  I tried to track him down later, but never could. I really wish
> I kept better records in those days. Unfortunately I don't remember
> his name now and I'm sure he's long gone.

I'm not positive, but as I was looking through some Mephis-based blues
I think I may have accidentally stumbled on who my forgotten mystery
guitar legend was.  I'm not 100% certain, but it may have been Willie
Johnson, Howlin' Wolf's guitar player in the late 40's and early 50's.

It is an educated guess that would fit from my fading memory.  I'll
probably never be sure of unless by some small miracle someone is ever
able to confirm he was or couldn't have been there at that time.
Willie died almost exactly 28 years ago in 1995.


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