- 1975 Ma Bea’s Rock
- 1976 Luther’s Blues
- 1979 I Changed
- 1990 I Want to Groove with You
- 1991 Boston Blues Blast, Vol. 1
- 1992 It’s Good to Me
- 1997 Doin’ the Sugar Too
by Avery Ware (SHS)
Luther Johnson, legendary guitarist, was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi, on April 11,1939 (Living Blues 44). Luther Johnson is well known as “Guitar Junior.” Influenced by Magic Sam, Muddy Waters, and others, Johnson’s career took off.
Luther Johnson was named after his father, a sharecropper. His family consists of four sisters. Their names are Margaret, Daisy, Bertha, and Eleanor (Living Blues 44). Luther Johnson grew up on a farm (Big Book of Blues 217). The name of the farm was Forty Miles Bend because the farm was forty miles in every direction. On the farm, Johnson learned how to chop wood, pump water, feed the chickens, hogs, turkeys, and ducks, bring out the cows, plant and pick cotton, corn, beans, and rice. In order for Johnson’s family to survive he and the other kids had to work some days and go to school on other days. They survived winters by cutting wood for the fireplace and hunting rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, possum, pheasants, and other birds (Living Blues 44).
Luther Johnson was interested in music at an early age. Johnson got his first guitar “Stella” from his mother when he was eleven (Living Blues 44). At the age of thirteen, Johnson led the church choir. Johnson formed his first gospel group around age fourteen. The name of the group was Spirit of Minter City (Big Book of Blues 217).
By this time Johnson had taught himself how to play the guitar (Encyclopedia of Popular Music 2189). In 1955, Johnson moved to Chicago (Living Blues 45), and that was his big break. His sister got him a gig at Scotty and Daralene’s Rock’N’Roll Inn (Living Blues 45). It was the first time Johnson had been on stage in Chicago. Johnson started to perform on a daily basis, so he moved to St. Louis for more experience. A year later Luther Johnson returned to Chicago so Ray Scott could teach him how to make different sounds on the guitar (Living Blues 45). Upon his return he was given the nickname “Guitar Junior” (Big Book of Blues 217). In 1972, Johnson joined the Muddy Waters Band. Also in 1980 Johnson became owner of his own band called Magic Rockers. In 1982, Johnson moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to become one of the most popular Blues act (Big Book of Blues 217).
Luther Johnson have made several CD’s as well as, shared a few. To name a few: Ma Bea’s Rock, Luther’s Blues, I want to Groove with You, and Doin’ the Sugar Too. Luther Johnson has won several Grammy Nominations. In 1984, Johnson won a Grammy Awards for his rendition of Walkin’ The Dog (www.concertedeffort). Johnson is currently living in New England and on special events still touring with Magic Rockers (Living Blues 43).
- 1939 Birth date (April 11)
- 1950 First guitar “Stella”
- 1955 Moved to Chicago
- 1958 Started performing
- 1963 Hired at Daralene’s Rock’N’Roll Inn
- 1965 Nicknamed ‘Guitar Junior”
- 1972 Joined Muddy Waters Band
- 1975 Produced Ma Bea’s Rock
- 1976 Produced Luther’s Blue
- 1979 Produced I Changed
- 1980 Left Muddy Waters Band
- 1980 Started his own group (Magic Rockers)
- 1982 Went to Boston, Massachusetts
- 1989 Government sent Johnson to the Caribbean and Central America
- 1990 Produced I Want to Groove with You
- 1991 Produced Boston Blues Blast, Vol 1
- 1996 Performed at Special Olympic
- 1996 Toured in Europe with Magic Rockers
- 1997 Played in Shanghai, China and Hong Kong
- 1998 Interviewed by Living Blues Magazine
- 1999 Currently living in New England
- Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson (short bio and videos)
- Cooper, Margo. “Johnson Luther.” Living Blues. November/December 1998: 43-49
- “Johnson Luther.” Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 1995. Vol. 3.
- Santelli, Robert. “Johnson Luther.” The Big Book of Blues. New York: Penguin books USA, Inc. 1993. 217.