Alec Johnson

Alec Johnson's place in blues history has been assured by his participation in a series of 1928 recording sessions held in Atlanta, the surefire talent noses of A&R bloodhounds Polk Brockman and Dan Hornsby much in evidence. Reissue labels such as Document are fond of combining these Atlanta sessions with a similar, also high-quality recording venture which took place several years later in Jackson, MS, overlapping into the black string band genre. All told, some or all of the same Johnson tracks are available on as much as a dozen different vintage country blues compilations.

Johnson's time in front of the microphones yielded a half-dozen titles, best known of which is "Sundown Blues." In fact, the word "masterpiece" has been tossed about in reference to this performance in the somewhat folky-sounding open G tuning. Students of country blues guitar are able to access a primer on how to play the piece online. Other titles by this artist, although distinctive, have the appearance of some kind of secret code -- "Miss Meal Cramp Blues," "Sister Maud Mule," "Toodle Doo" -- while procrastinators favor "Next Week Sometime," provided they get around to listening. The string band connection is totally appropriate, labels on the original releases of some of these tracks crediting a small acoustic combo, Alec Johnson and Band. ~ Eugene Chadbourne