Johnny Shines

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Biography

John "Johnny" Ned Shines was born April 25, 1915 in Frayser (Frazier), Tennessee. He moved to Memphis at the age of six. An accomplished slide and finger-style player, as well as emotional vocalist, Johnny spent most of his youth in and around Memphis and the Delta area playing Jukes and parties. His first musical influence was Howlin' Wolf which earned him the nickname of "Little Wolf" at the start of his career. Shines met Robert Johnson (who eventually became his biggest influence) in Memphis in 1934 and traveled with him through the South, there also playing with Dave 'Honeyboy' Edwards, and north into Canada until Johnson's death in 1938.

After Johnson's death Shines settled in Chicago in 1941. His first recording session for Columbia in 1946 remained unissued for 25 years. He recorded for, among others, Chess Records; many of which were unreleased as Johnny Shines and some cuts which were released under the name "Shoe Shine Johnny". He was a frequent accompanyist at recording sessions and local gigs in Chicago in the 1950's. His early fifties recordings for the JOB label include one of the finest bottleneck blues ever recorded. Shines worked with Sonny Boy Williamson (Alex Miller) in the mid 50's. In 1958, He pawned all his equipment and quit the music business, after wrangling with the musician unions over royalties.

Shines was "rediscovered" working as a photographer in a blues club and ended up recording for the Vanguard label. The 1966 Vanguard release, "Chicago: The Blues Today", put his music career back on path. Shines began touring with the Chicago All Stars which included Lee Jackson, Big Walter Horton, and Willie Dixon.

Shines moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the late sixties. He continued to play Delta blues and remained one of the last living Delta blues artists. In the late seventies Johnny Shines toured and recorded with Robert Jr. Lockwood. He suffered a stroke in 1980 that hampered his playing, but still left him as a formidable performer.

In the early 1990's he appeared and played in the documentary "The Search For Robert Johnson" with Honeyboy Edwards, presented by John Hammond Jr. Johnny Shines died April 20, 1992, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


Discography

Johnny Shines : Selected Discography

ADELPHI 1005 :
Various - Really Chicago Blues (6 cuts) 1970
ADVENT 2803 :
Johnny Shines 1974
ATLAS 5002 :
Johnny Shines - Mister Blues Is Back To Stay 1981
BIOGRAPH 12044 :
Johnny Shines - Sitting On Top Of The World 1972
BIOGRAPH 12048 :
Johnny Shines & Company (w/David Bromberg) 1974
BIOGRAPH CD 121 :
Johnny Shines - Traditional Delta Blues 1991
BIOGRAPH CD 125 :
Johnny Shines - Mr. Cover Shaker (1974) 1992
BLACK & BLUE 33502 :
Johnny Shines - Chicago Blues Festival 1972 1973
BLACK & BLUE 33582 :
Johnny Shines - Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop! (live, Boston) 1971
BLIND PIG 004-77 :
John Nicholas & Friends-Too Many Habits (3 cuts) 1977
BLIND PIG CD 74391 :
Johnny Shines/Snooky Pryor - Back To The Country 1991
BLUE HORIZON 4607 :
Johnny Shines - Last Night's Dream 1968
BLUE HORIZON 63212 :
Johnny Shines - Last Night's Dream 1968
BLUE LABOR 110 :
Johnny Shines - Too Wet To Plow 1975
BOURBON 2003 :
Johnny Shines - Live, Tokyo, 1975 1975
BASF 20707 :
Chicago Blues All-Stars (2 cuts) 1969
CHESS 411 :
Various - Drop Down Mama (2 Chess cuts) 1970
EPM FDC CD 5514 :
Roosevelt Sykes - Music Is My Business (1 cut) 1994
EVIDENCE CD 26047 :
Luther Johnson - On The Road Again (1 cut) 1994
FLYRIGHT 563 :
Johnny Shines / Robert Jr. Lockwood (JOB cuts) 1980
FLYRIGHT CD 10 :
Johnny Shines / Robert Jr. Lockwood (JOB cuts) 1989
HIGHTONE CD 8028 :
Johnny Shines (Advent album) 1991
JSP 1079 :
Johnny Shines / Blind Will Dukes (1978) (6 cuts) 1984
LABOR CD 7011 :
Johnny Shines - Worried Blues Ain't Bad 1995
LRC CDC 9077 :
Various - Blues Men (2CD) (3 cuts w/Willie Dixon)1993
MCA CD 9340 :
Various - Chess Blues Box (4CD) (1 Chess cut) 1993
MCA CD 93002 :
Various - Drop Down Mama (2 Chess cuts) 1990
MOVIEPLAY 21693 :
Johnny Shines - Chicago Blues Festival 1972 1973
MPS 15003 :
Chicago Blues All-Stars (2 cuts) 1969
MPS 15244 :
Chicago Blues All-Stars (2 cuts) 1969
PARIS ALBUM 28516 :
Robert Jr. Lockwood & Johnny Shines - Hangin' On 1980
PAULA CD 14 :
Johnny Shines / Robert Jr. Lockwood (JOB cuts) 1993
ROUNDER CD 2020 :
Johnny Shines - Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop! (live, Boston) 1992
ROUNDER 2023 :
Robert Jr. Lockwood & Johnny Shines - Hangin' On 1980
ROUNDER 2026 :
Johnny Shines - Mister Blues Is Back To Stay 1981
SONY CBS CD 48584 :
Various - Roots Of Rhythm & Blues (8 cuts) 1992
SONY EPIC 37318 :
Various - Okeh Chicago Blues (4 cuts) 1982
STONY PLAIN 1005 :
Johnny Shines - Country Blues 1974
STONY PLAIN CD :
Johnny Shines - (Country Blues/Too Wet To Plow) 1996
TESTAMENT 2207 :
Various - Chicago Blues : The Beginning (4 cuts) 1973
TESTAMENT 2212 :
Johnny Shines - Masters Of Modern Blues V.1 1966
TESTAMENT 2217 :
Johnny Shines With Big Walter 1969
TESTAMENT 2221 :
Johnny Shines - Standing At The Crossroads 1971
TESTAMENT CD 4001 :
Various - Testament Record Sampler (2 cuts) 1995
TESTAMENT CD 5002 :
Johnny Shines - Masters Of Modern Blues 1993
TESTAMENT CD 5015 :
Johnny Shines WIth Big Walter 1995
TESTAMENT CD 5021 :
Various - Bottleneck Blues (1 unissued cut) 1995
TESTAMENT CD 5022 :
Johnny Shines - Standing At The Crossroads 1995
TOMATO CD 2696362 :
Johnny Shines - Too Wet To Plow 1989
TRIO 3040 :
Johnny Shines (Advent album) 1974
VANGUARD 9218 :
Various - Chicago/The Blues/Today V.3 (6 cuts) 1966
VANGUARD CD 79218 :
Various - Chicago/The Blues/Today V.3 (6 cuts) 1989
WARNER BR CD 45285 :
Johnny Shines - Last Night's Dreams (Blue Horizon) 1993
WOLF CD 120914 :
Johnny Shines - 1915-1992 (Webster College, 1974) 1994
XTRA 1142 :
Johnny Shines - Country Blues (Stony Plain cuts) 1974
ZYTGLOGGE 220 :
Johnny Shines/Piano Red - Live, Bern (6 cuts) 1978

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Joel Snow
Created February 15, 1997
Revised February 15, 1997