Tag Archives: Blues

Baby, let Slim Harpo’s secret weapon – Baton Rouge blues badass James Johnson – scratch your back at the Stomp

Ex-Slim Harpo guitarist James Johnson plays at Phil Brady's nightclub in Baton Rouge circa 2003. He'll be at this year's Ponderosa Stomp as part of the Excello revue.
Ex-Slim Harpo guitarist James Johnson plays at Phil Brady's nightclub in Baton Rouge circa 2003. He'll be at this year's Ponderosa Stomp as part of the Excello revue.
Baton Rouge blues giant James Johnson’s scheduled appearance at this year’s Ponderosa Stomp is perhaps one of the most highly anticipated performances in recent memory, especially because this amazing guitarist does not often travel outside Baton Rouge to perform.

Slim Harpo
Slim Harpo
Everyone knows that bedrock of the 1960s Baton Rouge swamp-blues scene, Slim Harpo (James Moore), whose haunting harmonica was matched by the stinging twin-guitar attack of his lesser-known sidemen, Rudy Richard and James Johnson. It’s Johnson’s biting guitar that puts the “chicken scratch” into Harpo’s 1966 Excello hit, “Baby, Scratch My Back,” which reached #1 on the R&B charts and #16 on the pop charts. As members of the King Bees, the Richard-Johnson tag team also graces many of the other major Harpo sides, including “Rainin’ in My Heart.”
Rudy Richard
Rudy Richard

Don’t miss this Stomp performance by Johnson, who helped forge the Baton Rouge blues scene along with fellow titans like Raful Neal and Tabby Thomas. He’s a Buddy Guy-caliber guitarist who, unlike Guy, never left Red Stick to find his rightful fortune and fame. By staying put where the weather suits his clothes, he’s been able to serve as a mentor to younger generations of bluesmen, including Kenny Neal, Lil’ Ray Neal, Chris Thomas King, Tab Benoit, and more.

The video below shows Johnson playing with searing yet laid-back intensity in tandem with Lil’ Ray Neal and other Neal family members at a Lafayette juke joint in January 2011. [The New Orleans Saints lost to Tampa Bay the day this video was shot, but the music fans who heard Johnson and the Stomp-like roster of blues and zydeco heavyweights on this show left the club feeling like winners. If, God forbid, the Saints lose to the Chicago Bears on Sept. 18, 2011, your having witnessed James Johnson at the Stomp earlier that weekend will likewise salve your wounds.]

To see the Ponderosa Stomp lineup as scheduled so far, click here. To buy tickets for the Stomp (Sept. 16-17), click here. For travel packages, click here.

The Crowing Rooster Blues – Song of the Day

the crowing rooster blues is an incredible record. it is the only commercially recorded accordion blues record made in mississippi in the 1920s. the record was recorded on december 10,1927. it features the nasty raw accordion and vocals of walter rhodes backed by the intricate guitar work of pet and can. pet and can were … Continue reading The Crowing Rooster Blues – Song of the Day

Apache War Dance – Song of the Day

totally insane rocker by earl hooker. earl hooker was considered the finest blues guitarist from chicago to the delta. he was taught by robert nighthawk and was john lee hooker`s cousin.

Henry Gray: Scotlandville’s Quiet Blues Giant

While Henry Gray has lived in the sleepy hamlet of Scotlandville, Louisiana, just north of Baton Rouge, for nearly 40 years, he is the obvious heir to the Chicago blues piano throne. Why, one might well ask? He gets the crown, via 25 years of playing in the Windy City during the golden age of … Continue reading Henry Gray: Scotlandville’s Quiet Blues Giant

Scene Report: Turner Family Picnic

Last night, the primal sounds of fife and drum music were echoing at the Turner Family Picnic, an annual North Mississippi Hill Country tradition, and Bo-Keys leader Scott Bomar, Ponderosa Stomp graphics designer Kerri Mahoney and I were there to listen. Since the death of Rising Star Fife and Drum Band founder — and Turner … Continue reading Scene Report: Turner Family Picnic