Delta guitarist Ishmon (often spelled Ishman in older sources) only recorded a few tracks, but they were of consistently good quality, using variations on the usual verse structure, and his original 78s are much sought-after rarities today. As a teenager Ishmon was playing guitar on streetcorners, hoping for invitations to play at parties and fish-fries in the little towns south of Jackson MS. Local boy Tommy Johnson was a friend and their songs share some lyrics. Ishmon recorded for Victor in Memphis in 1928, with ‘Papa Charlie’ McCoy on second guitar, and his ‘Saturday Blues’ was a regional hit.
Two years later he went to Grafton WS to record for Paramount with Charlie Taylor on piano. As record sales dropped off in the Depression, Ishmon played on the Medicine Show circuit, where he was sometimes joined by Tommy Johnson.
By the late 30s, Ishmon had turned to religion and gave up playing the Blues, turning down invitations to play when the researchers of the Folk/Blues revival came around.