Chicago Jazz Audio Experience

Episode 061 Chicago Music Revealed with Jimmy Johnson

July 1, 2020

James Earl Thompson, known professionally as Jimmy Johnson, is an American blues guitarist and singer. In the 1960s he played music in more of an R&B style, working with Otis Clay, Denise LaSalle, and Garland Green. He had his own group from the early 1960s, and by the mid-1960s he had released his first single. By 1974, Johnson had returned to playing blues, working with Jimmy Dawkins and touring Japan with Otis Rush in 1975.In November 1980, Johnson was awarded at the first annual Blues Music Awards, held in Memphis. His career continued to pick up until December 2, 1988, when his touring van crashed in Indiana, killing his band's keyboardist, St. James Bryant, and bassist, Larry Exum.[3] Johnson was injured and took an extended break from the music industry. He returned to record for Verve Records in 1994. In 2002, he recorded with his brother Syl. He remained active and toured Europe in 2009, performing in the United Kingdom and at the Copenhagen Blues Festival in Denmark. On Friday June 7, 2019, while performing at the 36th annual Chicago Blues Fest, Chicago Major Laurie Lightfoot officially declared it to be Jimmy Johnson Day.