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The Oil Man

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Album Review

With his barbed-wire guitar work and hearty vocal on a marathon rendition of "Catfish Blues," Johnson hauls the time-honored Delta tradition into contemporary blues. The entire album is an eminently solid, doggedly down-home affair, though nothing else quite measures up to the powerhouse attack of that one vicious workout.


Born: 30 July 1940 in Lambert, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Contemporary Mississippi blues didn't get any nastier than in Big Jack Johnson's capable hands. The ex-oil truck driver's axe cut like a rusty machete, his rough-hewn vocals a siren call to Delta passion. But he was a surprisingly versatile songwriter; Daddy, When Is Mama Comin' Home, his ambitious 1990 set for Earwig, found him tackling issues as varied as AIDS, wife abuse, and Chinese blues musicians in front of slick, horn-leavened arrangements. Big Jack Johnson was a chip off the old block...
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The Oil Man, Big Jack Johnson
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