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Jimmy Johnson (1928 – 2022)

Jimmy Johnson, Facebook

Chicago blues legend Jimmy Johnson died Monday. He was 93.

“Husband, Father, Brother, Mentor and Friend, Jimmy was an Incredible Man who Lived an Extraordinary Life. Jimmy was Kind, Generous, Funny, Bright, Loving, Cleaver, and Exceptionally Talented,” a message on Johnson’s website read. “His Love and Knowledge will be impossible to replace but his Influence will continue to live on in the countless people he touched with his Intelligence and Grace.”

Johnson wrote in a mini-autobiography that he was born Nov. 25, 1928, as the first boy of 10 children with one older sister.

“Life was very hard in Mississippi. Most days we worked from sunup until sundown,” Johnson wrote. “Already at 8 years old, I worked the fields picking, chopping and plowing cotton while also helping to tend to the farm animals.”

Johnson wrote that he went to Memphis when he was 16 and worked odd jobs in construction and digging ditches. He later received a postcard from his uncle in Chicago, who was coming for a visit back in Mississippi and invited Johnson to move to Chicago with him afterward.

In Chicago, Johnson worked as a welder for Harrison Street Steel, and saved money so as to move his mother and his children to join him in Chicago.

“I finally had money, real money, a nice car, good clothes and at the age of 28 had the great pleasure of buying my first guitar,” he wrote.

Johnson played his first gig in 1958, and went on to have a long and illustrious career as a blues and soul musician.

“My music has taken me all over the world and I’ve had the great pleasure of playing with some of the greatest musicians of all-time: BB King, Albert King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Magic Sam to name just a few,” he wrote. “All have had a tremendous influence on me and my music. It’s difficult to put into words just how much they all continue to mean to me.”

Johnson was a regular performer at the Chicago Blues Festival for many years – including the most recent Blues Festival at Millennium Park in 2019. The festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(provided by New York Press News)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."