If the confusion over two harp players using the name Sonny Boy Williamson wasn’t enough, there are THREE Luther Johnsons, all born in the South around the same time, and all play a mean Blues guitar. Lucious Johnson performed as Luther ‘Snake Boy’ Johnson, and was sometimes known as ‘Georgia Boy’ in reference to his Davisboro GA origins. Luther ‘Houserocker’ Johnson played rocking Jimmy Reed-style guitar, but never really made it outside his hometown region of Atlanta. Luther ‘Guitar Junior’ Johnson is from the heart of the Mississippi Delta, and after a long spell in Muddy Waters‘ band, he has made a good career leading his band The Magic Rockers.
Muddy Waters recruited Luther to his band at this time to replace (big co-incidence) Luther ‘Snake Boy’ Johnson. In an eight year stretch as Muddy’s lead guitarist, Luther toured The States and Europe and appeared on several of the big guy’s albums. Luther’s own debut album ‘Luther’s Blues’ was cut for the French Black & Blue label, with Pinetop Perkins, Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith and Jerry Portnoy from Muddy’s crew. When that version of the band broke up in 1980, Luther made an appearance in John Lee Hooker‘s band in The Blues Brothers film. Soon Luther relocated to New England and formed his own outfit, The Magic Rockers, often working with The Roomful of Blues horn section. Eight further albums have proved Luther’s durability, and he picked up a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album in 1985. Even if he hadn’t been based in Chicago for years, the title of his 1996 album ‘Slammin’ on the West Side’ sums up Luther’s approach exactly. He also played on three albums by long-running Washington band The Nighthawks, but Luther is now resident in New Hampshire, and still rocking.