Larry Johnson is a Piedmont guitarist who incorporated many elements of Blues styles from all over the South into his playing. Learning from some of the old originators, Larry was a man out of time when the Blues went electric and his fine interpretations of country Blues classics have been largely overlooked.
Larry performs in the excellent 2003 documentary ‘Lightnin’ in a Bottle’;
In 1962, Larry released his first single ‘Catfish Blues’ and was a regular companion to the Rev. Gary at his gigs throughout the 60s. By 1970, Larry’s first album ‘Country Blues’ appeared on the Blue Horizon label, and in 1974 he put out a live album with John Hammond Jr.: ‘Fast and Funky’ saw the two men exploring some archaic material in a modern idiom and the album has been re-issued as ‘Midnight Hour Blues’. Larry withdrew from recording and touring in the late 70s, and played only the occasional gig. Despite his obvious talent, there was not much opportunity for Larry: there were still a lot of original Blues players on the scene who had been ‘re-discovered’ and Larry was perhaps too young to be considered authentic.
Larry released a couple of well received but slow-selling albums in the mid-80s, but by the 90s he began getting noticed in Europe. His albums ‘Railroad Man’ and ‘Blues for Harlem’ saw Larry gigging and touring regularly, and his collaboration with slide-guitarist Brian Kramer and his Couch Lizards resulted in the excellent ‘Two Gun Green’ album. Following years of ill health, Larry passed away at the age of 78 at his nursing home in New York. He was inducted into the New York Blues Hall Of Fame, May 2015