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Johnny Shines (April 26, 1915 – April 20, 1992) was an American blues singer and guitarist.
He was born John Ned Shines in Frayser, Tennessee. He spent most of his childhood in Memphis playing slide guitar at an early age in local “jukes” and for tips on the streets. His first musical influences were Blind Lemon Jefferson and Howlin’ Wolf, but he was taught to play the guitar by his mother. Shines moved to Hughes, Arkansas in 1932 and worked on farms for three years putting his musical career on hold. "First time I came to Helena was 1932, I think it was. That's the time I met Robert the first time." It was this chance meeting with Robert Johnson, his greatest influence, that gave him the inspiration to return to music. In 1935, Shines began traveling with Johnson, touring the south and heading as far north as Ontario where they appeared on a local radio program. The two went their separate ways in 1937, one year before Johnson's death. "He (Johnson) was alright to travel with, he was a good companion to travel with, 'cos he talked a lot and I didn't."
Shines played throughout the U.S. South until 1941 when he decided to return to Canada and then to Africa. He never made it past Chicago. In Chicago, Shines found work in the construction trade and continued to play in local bars.
He made his first recording in 1946 for Columbia Records, but the takes were never released. He later recorded for Chess and was once again denied release. He kept playing with local blues musicians in the Chicago area for several more years. In 1952, Shines recorded what is considered his best work for the J.O.B. Records record label. The recordings were a commercial failure and Shines, frustrated with the music industry, sold his equipment and returned to construction.
In 1966, Vanguard Records found Shines taking photographs in a Chicago Blues club and had him record tracks for the third installment of Chicago/The Blues/Today! The album has since then become a blues classic and it brought Shines into the mainstream music scene.
Shines toured with the Chicago All Stars alongside Lee Jackson, Big Walter Horton and Willie Dixon. In the late 1960s and 1970s, Shines toured with Robert Johnson's stepson, Lockwood.htm">Robert Lockwood, Jr. as the last remaining original delta blues musicians. In 1980, Shines' music was brought to a standstill when he suffered a stroke. He would later appear in the documentary Searching for Robert Johnson and manage to release one last album, Back To The Country. It featured playing from Snooky Prior and Johnny Nicholas.
In 1989, Shines met a young, Minnesota-born blues player named Kent Duchaine, and the two of them toured for the next several years until Shines' death.
Shines died on 20 April 1992, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame later the same year.