Not many musicians of the 20th century could boast of a career that included touring with Robert Johnson, recording for Columbia, Vanguard and Chess Records and playing with blues luminaries like Little Walter, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Mississippi Fred McDowell and Willie Dixon among others.
Maybe there is only one, and that artist was Johnny Shines. In the 1930s Shines toured with his greatest influence, Robert Johnson, well before he made his first recordings. Those came in 1946 for Columbia and again in 1950 for Chess, but went unissued for decades. In 1952, he was back in the studio, this time for the J.O.B. label. Again, several sides went unreleased, but those that did see the light of day were commercial failures likely due to lack of any wide distribution. Shines hung it up and stepped away from music. Thankfully, only a few years went by before he was "rediscovered" in Chicago at a Howlin' Wolf show after which there would be no more side steps away from the music business until a stroke slowed him down for a little while in 1980.
He recorded a string of albums for labels such as Testament, Blue Horizon, Advent, Rounder, Biograph and Blind Pig among others, as well as, toured internationally. Shines appeared and played in the documentary The Search For Robert Johnson in 1991 just before his 1992 death. The Blues Hall of Fame wasted no time in inducting him that same year. Back in 1973 though, he was at the height of his powers as demonstrated by this largely solo performance at Washington University's Graham Chapel in St. Louis. Mixing original compositions with a few selections by Robert Johnson for a grateful and enthusiastic crowd.
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