Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Texas Johnny Brown is truly one of the legendary figures of the American blues scene. Johnny began his professional musical career in Houston in the mid-1940s with Amos Milburn's "Aladdin Chickenshackers". Johnny played guitar on many of Milburn's recordings on Aladdin Records, and Milburn and other members of his band backed Johnny during his Atlantic Records recording session in 1949. Johnny also appeared on Ruth Brown's first Atlantic Records recordings which were cut during those sessions.
Johnny toured with Bobby "Blue" Bland and Junior Parker in the 1950s and 1960s as guitarist and band leader and was a studio musician for Houston's Duke/Peacock Records. He recorded a number of his own compositions for Duke/Peacock, including Snakehips and Suspense, and his distinctive guitar style graced the recordings of numerous other Duke/Peacock blues artists, including Bland, Parker, Lightnin' Hopkins, Larry Davis, Lavelle White, Buddy Ace and Joe Hinton. Johnny also wrote the beautiful blues classic, Two Steps from the Blues, which was one of Bland's biggest hits.
Three of Johnny's original songs from his Atlantic recording session, There Goes the Blues, Bongo Boogie and Blues Rock, were included on an Atlantic compilation of blues guitarists in 1986. Johnny recut There Goes the Blues for Nothin' But the Truth, his debut full-length CD, which was released in 1998 by Choctaw Creek Records. Nothin' But the Truth also marked the first time that Johnny recorded Two Steps from the Blues himself. Nothin' But the Truth was nominated for a W.C. Handy Blues Award (1999) for Comeback Album of the Year and received Real Blues Magazine's Real Blues Award as Best Texas Blues CD (New) and Best Independently Released Blues CD for 1998.
Choctaw Creek Records released Blues Defender, Johnny's critically-acclaimed second CD, November 2, 2001. Blues Defender contains ten original compositions by Johnny and a beautiful rendition of Lil Green's In the Dark.
Since Johnny returned to music full-time in 1991, he and his Quality Blues Band have performed in the United States, Canada and Europe, and have played many prestigious festivals, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington, D.C.; the Chicago Blues Festival; the Pocono Blues Festival; the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival; the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival; the Lucerne Blues Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland; the http://www.bluesandheritagefest.com/ Blues Festival; the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival; the Blues Estafette, Vredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands (Johnny only); the W.C. Handy Blues Awards Festival, Memphis, TN; the Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival; the Cincy Blues Fest; the Blues Masters at the Crossroads Festival, Salina, KS; the Hayward/Russell City (CA) Blues Festival; the Baltimore Blues Festival; the Bluestock Festival, Memphis, TN; the Molde Blues Festival, Molde, Norway; the Long Beach Blues Festival; the Charles Brown Day of Remembrance Blues Festival, Texas City, TX; the Bowie Street Blues Festival, San Antonio, TX; the Houston International Festival; the Houston Juneteenth Blues Festival; SXSW, Austin, TX; the Bluebonnet Blues & Fine Arts Festival, Marble Falls, TX: and the Mardi Gras Galveston Festival.
Johnny was honored as Blues Artist of the Year at the Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton Blues Festival September 22, 2001 in Houston, TX, and September 22, 2001 was declared Texas Johnny Brown Day in Houston. He has also been featured on the cover of Juke Blues magazine (England) and Southwest Blues magazine, in Soul Bag magazine (France) and several times in Living Blues Magazine. Johnny has won numerous Houston Press Music Awards for Best Blues, Best Guitarist and Best Male Vocalist. Johnny is still touring, recording and going strong, or as he would say, he's still "defending the blues".