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Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop!

Johnny Shines

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Album Review

Delta blues vocalist, guitarist, and composer Johnny Shines hadn't yet encountered the physical difficulties that made his final years so troubling when he recorded the 13 selections on this CD. He could still sing and moan with intensity and passion, hold a crowd hypnotized with his remembrances and asides, and play with a mix of fury and charm. While the menu includes oft-performed chestnuts "Sweet Home Chicago," "Terraplane Blues," and "Milk Cow Blues," there wasn't anything staid or predictable about the way Shines ripped through the lyrics and presented the music. If you missed it the first time around, grab this one immediately.

Customer Reviews

Has Anyone any Idea how Good This Music Is?

I like just about every genre except classical or country, grew up on rap and gravitated in all directions towards the earlier sources of American music. No recording that I have listened to, not even those of the great Robert Johnson (let alone beatles, curtis mayfield, marvin gaye, the dead, ledzep, stones, pac or biggie or anybody else struck me quite as raw or intense as this one. Johnny Shines travelled and performed with Robert Johnson and in this live performance he channels some of the fierce guitar work and equally stellar vocals that RJ was a legend for, actually making the songs sound much better than Johnson's recordings. Granted that some 40 years between between Johnson's tracks and these explain the immensely better sound quality but that just adds to the experience. Keep your Young Jeezy and 3-6 in the system (how could you take it out?) This is chill music meant only for introspective and quiet moments in which you reflect on some deep stuff. Listen and it's impossible not to.


Born: April 26, 1915 in Frayser, TN

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Best known as a traveling companion of Robert Johnson, Johnny Shines' own contributions to the blues have often been unfairly shortchanged, simply because Johnson's own legend casts such a long shadow. In his early days, Shines was one of the top slide guitarists in Delta blues, with his own distinctive, energized style; one that may have echoed Johnson's spirit and influence, but was never a mere imitation. Shines eventually made his way north to Chicago, and made the transition to electrified urban...
Full Bio