Ramblin’ Blues

Johnny Shines

Travels with Robert Johnson

Delta Blues great Johnny Shines performs “Ramblin’ Blues” on a public TV program in the mid 1970s.

Johnny Shines was born in Frayser, Memphis in 1915 and spent most of his childhood in the city playing slide guitar at an early age in local “jukes” and for tips on the streets. He was “inspired by the likes of Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson, and the young Howlin’ Wolf”, but he was taught to play the guitar by his mother. Shines moved to Hughes, Arkansas in 1932 and worked on farms for three years putting his musical career on hold. It was a chance meeting with Robert Johnson, his greatest influence, that gave him the inspiration to return to music. In 1935, Shines began traveling with Johnson, touring the south and heading as far north as Ontario where they appeared on a local radio program. The two went their separate ways in 1937, one year before Johnson’s death.

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