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Johnny Young

Although the mandolin is not an instrument commonly associated with Chicago blues, it has been used by Chicago-based string bands or on Chicago-made recordings by artists such as Carl Martin, Charles and Joe McCoy, and Yank Rachell. However, the only artist to use it successfully in the later electric blues format was Mississippi-born bluesman Johnny Young.

An important figure in blues history, Young loved the rough-and-tumble string band tradition of the Delta, a style that readily co-existed with blues.

Young's initial 1947 Chicago classic, "Money Taking Women," exhibits the same exuberant down-home sound, fusing blues with the older country breakdown traditions. The string band ensemble sound suited street performance as well, whether in Memphis or in Chicago's open air Maxwell Street Market, where Young and his cronies were brought in off the streets to record. Over the years, Young's mandolin activity declined as Chicago's African-American blues audience demanded a more modern and urban sound. Since Young was also a skilled guitarist and a fine vocalist, he easily weathered the transition.

During the late '60s, an emerging white blues-revival audience proved eager for Young's mandolin styling. Unlike Yank Rachell, whose mandolin playing retained an older string band feel, Young's style was firmly grounded in a more contemporary postwar blues idiom, and he interacted well with other electric blues artists. Throughout his life, he had worked with the major figures of blues history, including Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, Walter Horton, and Otis Spann. He was, he insisted, born to be a musician. When interviewed shortly before he died, he said he had struggled all his life trying to make it in the music business. An emotional man, he hoped he would live long enough to make enough money to buy a house. He never made it. ~ Barry Lee Pearson
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Arhoolie 40th Anniversary Collection 1960 - 2000

Disc 1

1. San Francisco Bay Blues

2. Mercury Blues

3. Shake Shake Mama

4. Cairo Blues

6. One Thin Dime

7. Charmin' Betsy

9. I Am The Black Ace

10. Brother James

15. Bald Headed Woman

19. The Country Blues

20. Crowley Waltz

22. Ay, Ai Ai

23. Write Me A Few Lines

24. Charlie James

25. Louisiana Blues

Disc 2

1. Cindy

2. Little Red Rooster

6. I Wonder Where You Are Tonight

9. Sometimes I Cry

10. Two Bugs And A Roach

11. Dream

12. Things Gonna Get Better

13. Visions

17. Please Settle In Vietnam

18. Shake 'em On Down

21. Finger Lickin' Good

Disc 3

1. Church Point Breakdown

3. Gibson Creek Shuffle

5. You Ain't Got A Chance

7. Satan's Burning Hell

8. Luzita

12. Allons A Grand Coteau

15. Fast Santa Fe (Bear Cat)

16. I'll See You In C-U-B-A

17. El Balaju

21. Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio

22. Mi Problema

Disc 4

1. Gritenme Piedras Del Campo

2. Co-Fe

3. Single Girl

4. Bee De La Manche

6. Negra Ausencia

12. Here To Stay

13. I Know That's Right

19. Hot Chili Mama

21. El Canoero

23. San Francisco Can Be Such A Lonely Town

Disc 5

5. Food Stamp Blues

6. Ain't It A Shame

8. La Mal Sentada

9. Falling For You

14. El Corrido De Esequiel Hernandez

15. What's His Name-Jesus

16. Just A Closer Walk With Thee

x

Track List: Chicago Is Just That Way

Disc 1

1. It's A Brand New Boogie

2. When Things Go Wrong With You

3. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

4. That's Her Own Business

5. 1950 Blues

6. It's Good Like That

7. Love Her With A Feelin

8. New Deal Blues

9. Don't Blame Shorty For That

10. Sweet Little Angel

11. She's Dynamite

12. Pretty Baby Blues

13. Early In The Morning

14. Boogie Woogie Woman

15. I Won't Let Her Do It

16. Green And Lucky Blues

17. I'm Gonna Put You Down

18. But I Forgive You

19. Too Late Too Long

20. I'll Never Let You Go

21. Got A Mind To Leave This Town

22. Please Mr. Doctor

23. I Should Have Loved Her More

24. So Crazy About You Baby

Disc 2

1. Kidman Blues

2. Bedroom Blues

3. Buzz Me

4. Tennessee Woman Blues

5. Delta Pine Blues

6. Ride, Ride Mama

7. Evil Hearted Woman Blues

8. (Now I) Got The Blues

9. Don't Ration My Love

10. Mistake In Life

11. Grinder Man Blues

12. Roll Dem Bones

13. My Woman's A Pearl Diver

14. Jumping At The Club Blue Flame

15. Mean Red Spider

16. Jitterbug Blues

17. Hard Day Blues

18. Burying Ground Blues

19. Horse Shoe Boogie

20. Ruby Moore Blues

21. Lowland Blues

23. That's All Right

24. The Blues What Am

25. I Ain't Done Nothing Wrong

26. Going Down Slow

27. Stockyard Blues

28. Keep What You Got

Disc 3

1. Jivin' Boogie

2. Brown Skin Woman

3. 5 Foot 4 Gal

4. I've Done You Wrong

5. Worried Man Blues

6. Money Taking Woman

8. Better Cut That Out

9. Blue Monday Blues

10. Lowland Blues

11. Savoy Boogie

12. Candy Man Blues

13. Why Should I Cry

14. Hard Times

15. School Days

17. Telephone Blues

18. Little Store Blues

19. Lovin' Man Blues

20. One Doggone Reason

21. Coming Up Fast

23. I Want My Baby

24. Let Me Ride Your Mule

25. My Baby Walked Out

26. Chicago Is Just That Way

27. I Love My Whiskey

28. Water Coast Blues

Disc 4

1. Look What You Are Today

2. A Lie Is Dangerous

3. Hand Me Down My Walking Cane

4. Big City Blues

5. Do You Remember

6. Just Tell Me Baby

7. One Sunday Morning

8. That's All Right

9. I'm In Love

10. Boogie Man

11. It Keeps Rainin'

12. Boogy Fool

13. Raisin' Sand

14. Why Did I Make You Cry

15. Kidman Blues

16. Ludella

17. Boll Weevil

18. Red Headed Woman

19. Rollin' And Tumblin' Part 1

20. Rollin' And Tumblin' Part 2

21. Bad Acting Woman

22. Just Keep Loving Her

23. Wine-O-Woman

24. Crawlin' King Snake

25. Leavin' Day

26. Southbound Train

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