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Too Wet to Plow

Johnny Shines

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Customer Reviews

Superb Acoustic Blues by One of Kind

Surprisingly emotional 1975 recordings from one of Robert Johnson's friends. Johnny Shines is fascinating as a possible insight into what Robert Johnson might have done--and not done--as Delta acoustic blues transitioned toward the electric Chicago blues in the late 1940s and early 50s. Whereas Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf adapted and developed country blues into the urban sound along with others (John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Little Walter, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush), Johnny Shines, Big Bill Broonzy, Lonnie Johnson and others never moved far from their original acoustic musical roots and song patterns. Nevertheless, this completely undeterrated set includes several essential songs--equivalent to the best post 50's acoustic country blues of Lightnin' Hopkins, Robert Pete Williams, Son House and Skip James. The highlights are Too Wet to Plow, the sharp edged gospel-blues You Better Turn Around, and the upbeat Robert Johnson classic Hot Tamale. Sound quality is excellent and perfectly captures Shines's crisp, carefully phrased guitar and powerful vocals. Shines brings vitality and feeling to a genre that by 1975 was all but gone--eclipsed by disco-edged "Down Home Blues" and extended electric guitar pyrotechnics. If you dig genuine, heartfelt, acoustic blues, get this.


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...
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Too Wet to Plow, Johnny Shines
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