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Johnnie Johnson

 

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"Spirit of St. Louis"

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Johnnie Johnson performs live in Sydney, Australia at "The Basement" blues club in 2003.

Personnel:

Johnnie Johnson, piano & vocals
Les Karski, guitar & vocals
Roy Daniel, bass
Ace Follington, drums

Known as the "Spirit of St. Louis", West Virginia native Johnnie Johnson first moved to the city in 1952 after having taken up residence in both Detroit and Chicago.

There the pianist formed the "Sir John Trio" with saxophonist Alvin Bennett and Ebby Hardy on drums, and began playing a regular engagement at the Cosmopolitan Club in East St. Louis.

However, Alvin Bennett suffered a stroke just prior to the club's much anticipated 1952 New Year's Eve party and was unable to perform, leaving Johnson and Hardy scrambling to locate a replacement.

With such little time who could they find ?

Their answer came in the form of a semi-professional guitarist named Chuck Berry whose singing and showmanship would propel the group to super-stardom.



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