Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson, a stalwart proponent of the West Side style of Chicago blues, recorded "Live At the Rynborn" with his band "The Magic Rockers" at "The Rynborn," in Antrim, New Hampshire in 1995. Previously available only at the Rynborn Club and through special order, this is Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson's first full length live CD.
An excellent vocalist and fiery guitar player who plays with taste and control, the blues guitarist, songwriter and singer shines as the leader of his band, "The Magic Rockers." He directs the show from the start and leads his band through several covers, warming up both the crowd and his band before getting down to some serious blues playing. They hit the groove for "Itís My Life Baby" and he plays a great version of his own "Stealing Chickens." Along with covers of Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Albert King, Sonny Boy Williamson and Eddie Boyd, he throws in a little New Orleans style blues with "Hello Josephine," a Domino/Bartholomew composition. The sound quality is good with just the slightest, forgivable, hollow echo of a live CD recording in the beginning, but crank this baby up, and jump right in with the crowd. The CD peaks on another of Lutherís own songs, one of four, "If Blues Were Whiskey."
Born, steeped, and raised in the blues and gospel in Mississippi, Luther moved to Chicago as a young man and has spent his life crafting and honing his blues with such luminaries as Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Jimmy Dawkins, Willie Kent and Bobby Rush. He also recorded and toured with Muddy Waters. One of the three "Luther Johnsonís," heís neither related to, nor to be confused with, Luther "Georgia Boy"/ "Snake Boy" Johnson, who also played in Muddy Waters band, shortly before "Guitar Jr.," or Luther "Houserocker" Johnson from Atlanta.
His capable and longtime band, "The Magic Rockers," is made up of Eric "Two Scoops" Moore on the keyboards, Lynn Cookie Cooks on saxophone, Andy Karlok on Bass, and K. D. Bell on drums. Special guests that join in on the fun are Otis "Big Blues" Doncaster on harmonica, and Skip "Mississippi Skippy" Philbrick who appears on three of the songs and does a great job of lead guitar. The Executive Producers are Mark and Catherine Carpentieri.
If you are a fan of the West Side style of Chicago blues, and/or Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson and "The Magic Rockers," youíll like "Live At the Rynborn."
M. C. Records, P. O. Box 1788 Huntington Station NY 11746
Phone: 516.754.8725, Fax: 516.262.9274
This review is copyright © 1999 by Stephen T. Davidson , and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.