Chicago bluesman Jimmy Johnson has released a new album on Delmark, “Every Day of Your Life.”
Johnson is an institution. Now 91, he’s as fiery as ever, mixing precise guitar playing, soulful vocals and even some dexterous piano playing on closing track “Lead Me On.” Once the sideman for Otis Rush as well as close to Magic Sam, Johnson has led a distinguished blues career since the 1970s, touring all over the world.
Title track and leadoff song “Every Day of Your Life” has a tight, upbeat groove and is a good start, setting the table for what’s to come. I dig the funky nature of “Rattlesnake — feels pretty modern to me for a cat in his 90 — I wouldn’t know it by listening to this! Jimmy knows how to rock the minor blues, kinda reminds of Guitar Shorty, a beloved Los Angeles blues fixture. Following “Rattlesnake” is a cover of Fenton Robinson’s “Somebody Loan Me A Dime,” which is well executed.
Johnson’s guitar playing flurries on through “Down In The Valley” and “Strange Things Happening,” his clean-and-classic feeling licks leading the way. “Better When It’s Wet” has a Latin flair to it, and a cover of Bobby Blue Bland’s “Lead Me On” closes things out, with Johnson solo on piano. There’s a good amount of variety throughout.
Jimmy Johnson is an old-school blues treasure. His latest effort is a solid listen. I know I was impressed at how much heat he brought. Check it out!
— Jon Siembieda
‘Every Day of Your Life’
Released: Jan. 17, 2020
Label: Delmark Records