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Thread: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #15

  1. #1
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Blues, Stomps, & Rags #15

    Johnny Young (1918 – 1974) is an important and influential blues mandolin player. Born later than Yank Rachell and Howard Armstrong (Blues, Stomps, & Rags #2,3,7), he too lived and performed into the blues revival era, so became known to many who didn't hear older blues mandolinists. Sadly, he died of a heart attack at the relatively young age of 54. Young was a guitar and mandolin player, as well as a fine blues singer. He was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he was influenced by the Mississippi Sheiks, specifically Ed Chatmon on mandolin and Walter Vinscon on guitar and vocals. He also heard Charlie McCoy (B,S,&R #1) play mandolin. However, Johnny Young was a self-taught musician who played in Mississippi string bands in the 1930s.

    He moved to Chicago in 1940, and was playing alongside prominent blues musicians by 1943. According to Rich DelGrosso, Young was the first Chicago blues artist to get a post-WWII recording contract. He wasn't very successful though, and retired from performing in the 1950's. With the blues revival of the '60's, he became active again, and gained popularity as a member of the Chicago String Band with the blues mandolinist Carl Martin and others (B,S,&R #8). The American record producer, Pete Welding described Johnny Young as "one of the kindest, sunniest, warm-hearted, unaffected, and truly gentle men I've had the pleasure of meeting" (DelGrosso, p.67). He was a fine Chicago bluesman as well. DelGrosso's Mandolin Blues has biographical notes on Johnny Young as well as notation and MP3's for two of Young's tunes (pp. 66-71). My notes are from DelGrosso and the Wikipedia article on Johnny Young.

    Here's a rockin' Chicago-blues performance, in a Chicago nightclub, with Johnny Young on mandolin, accompanied by Lee Jackson on guitar, and Winehead Willie Williams on drums. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Johnny Young At The High Chaparral (1972)".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3ThSCouGOk




    And here's Johnny Young and his band doing another excellent blues set at Salle Pleyel Paris (American Folk Blues Festival) in 1972. (Don't you love all the "rare footage" on YouTube? These folks are in for a surprise; as soon as you put it on YouTube, it's no longer "rare.") The camera work is poor but there's good footage of Johnny's playing on this video. (If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Johnny Young rare blues footage PARIS 1972".)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SXeGn71hvE

    "It's just music; you can't break it."

    Buffy Ste-Marie on experimenting with your sound.
    "On Reserve", CBC Radio.

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  3. #2
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #15

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    Johnny Young (1918 – 1974) is an important and influential blues mandolin player. Born later than Yank Rachell and Howard Armstrong (Blues, Stomps, & Rags #2,3,7), he too lived and performed into the blues revival era, so became known to many who didn't hear older blues mandolinists. Sadly, he died of a heart attack at the relatively young age of 54. Young was a guitar and mandolin player, as well as a fine blues singer. He was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he was influenced by the Mississippi Sheiks, specifically Ed Chatmon on mandolin and Walter Vinscon on guitar and vocals. He also heard Charlie McCoy (B,S,&R #1) play mandolin. However, Johnny Young was a self-taught musician who played in Mississippi string bands in the 1930s.

    He moved to Chicago in 1940, and was playing alongside prominent blues musicians by 1943. According to Rich DelGrosso, Young was the first Chicago blues artist to get a post-WWII recording contract. He wasn't very successful though, and retired from performing in the 1950's. With the blues revival of the '60's, he became active again, and gained popularity as a member of the Chicago String Band with the blues mandolinist Carl Martin and others (B,S,&R #8). The American record producer, Pete Welding described Johnny Young as "one of the kindest, sunniest, warm-hearted, unaffected, and truly gentle men I've had the pleasure of meeting" (DelGrosso, p.67). He was a fine Chicago bluesman as well. DelGrosso's Mandolin Blues has biographical notes on Johnny Young as well as notation and MP3's for two of Young's tunes (pp. 66-71). My notes are from DelGrosso and the Wikipedia article on Johnny Young.

    Here's a rockin' Chicago-blues performance, in a Chicago nightclub, with Johnny Young on mandolin, accompanied by Lee Jackson on guitar, and Winehead Willie Williams on drums. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Johnny Young At The High Chaparral (1972)".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3ThSCouGOk




    And here's Johnny Young and his band doing another excellent blues set at Salle Pleyel Paris (American Folk Blues Festival) in 1972. (Don't you love all the "rare footage" on YouTube? These folks are in for a surprise; as soon as you put it on YouTube, it's no longer "rare.") The camera work is poor but there's good footage of Johnny's playing on this video. (If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Johnny Young rare blues footage PARIS 1972".)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SXeGn71hvE




    AWESOME!

    If you die when you´re in your fifties when you´re not properly in tune, I will last a long time.

    If you´re dying when you´re musically uninspirational, I´m long gone.

    This is some music that is sadly often overlooked. Thank´s for bringing it up.
    Olaf

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