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Black Cowboy Blues and Church Songs

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Album Review

Black Cowboy Blues and Church Songs is a mixture of songs from both named categories as performed by Alfred "Snuff" Johnson, a Texas bluesman who had been playing for around 70 years at the time of this recording. Accompanying himself with acoustic guitar, Johnson sings no-nonsense recompositions of "Good Morning Blues," "Getting Ready to Go," "Motherless Children," and more in his thick-throated, rich voice. An interesting smattering of unexpected sharps and minors get thrown into the guitar picking, but this can be chalked up more to choice and Johnson's relaxed style (that has, by the way, a Mance Lipscomb-influence of a thumb-strummed bassline) than to lack of ability, as Johnson also pulls off some mean guitar work on other songs, including "Hobo Blues" and "Blue Steel 44." Overall, it's good, low-key, acoustic country blues from a bluesman who, sadly, went unrecorded until the 1990s.


Born: August 10, 1913

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Texas country bluesman Alfred "Snuff" Johnson has played guitar since the 1920s, but didn't perform "professionally" for another 60 years, and wasn't recorded until 1994. Johnson was born in Cedar Creek, TX to parents Frank and Pearl Lee Johnson, who were sharecroppers. His father often played the fiddle with his uncle, Will Johnson, a guitarist. Both had an effect on the young Johnson, who watched and listened intently. Eventually, he was allowed to pick up his uncle's guitar. It was also about...
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Black Cowboy Blues and Church Songs, Alfred "Snuff" Johnson
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