The blues legend JOHN LONG live on Blue Roots Denver TV Live performance & interviews!
DELTA GROOVE RECORDING ARTIST
John Long started playing music in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo. at an early age. He, and his older brother Claude, performed at every opportunity from their pre-teens, forming their own band, The Mystics.
In his late teens, John became a member of a popular St. Louis blues band, Doc Terry and the Pirates, an all-black band. Doc Terry was a big influence on the harmonica.
In his early twenties, John moved to Chicago where his love of the blues really took hold. It was an opportune time there, being exposed to and meeting many blues greats. Imagine learning from the likes of Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Roosevelt Sykes, Muddy Waters, Homesick James. Some just getting up close to, watching and listening, others getting the opportunity to play with, or open shows for, or becoming long-time friends. As a young man John soaked up all this magic and culture, molding him into who he is.
John truly loved and respected this older generation of blues men and blues women, still lifting them up today, at every opportunity.
Back in the late seventies, or early eighties, a harmonica player (Jerry Portnoy) took ('Steady Rollin’) Bob Margolin to hear and meet this young Johnny Long. Bob, a band member of the Muddy Waters blues band, introduced John to Muddy, which led to Johnny Long opening shows for Muddy Waters. At some point Muddy is quoted as saying, “Johnny Long is the best young country blues player playing today,” or something in that vein. Mr. Margolin confirmed that he had heard it.
Over the years, John has had the opportunity to open shows for many, and varied names in the blues, and also folk music artists, many of whom he also got the chance to play with. A few of these included, along with Homesick James and Muddy, John Hammond, B.B. King, Snooky Pryor, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray and brother Jimmy Vaughan (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Odetta, Big Mama Thornton, George Thorogood, Phoebe Snow, Steve Goodman, John Prine, Kathy Mattea, Robert Cray, Dan Hicks & the Hotlicks-the last three on John’s three appearances on NPR’s ETOWN, hosted by Nick Forster ( of Hot Rize fame) and Helen Forster. The list goes on.
John’s ‘blues dad’ Homesick James was like a second father to him. They were very close, playing together often over thirty plus years. John was at Homesick’s bedside when this blues giant passed December 13, 2006, at about ninety-six years. Homesick was John’s biggest influence.
John has been live on many blues radio shows across the country, and in the UK, including locally from Denver’s own Blues Vassal Kai Turner’s Strictly Blues, Southern California’s Sheldon Abbott’s Cure for the Blues (KUCI), KDHX in St. Louis, Mo., WRFG (Good Morning Blues), Atlanta, Ga. He has also appeared on some PBS stations across the country, including Lancaster Live, Lancaster, Pa.
John relocated from Chicago to Denver in the mid-seventies, playing predominantly in Boulder at first. He did a lot of shows through Feyline. Johnny Long performed all around Colorado for twenty plus years, both solo and with the Johnny Long Blues Band.
Some notables, here in Denver, who played with the Johnny Long Blues Band over the years who have bands of their own are Maynard Mills, Lionel Young, Dexter Payne, and Gene Bass. We need to mention also drummer Joe Chadwick, Guitar Scotty, and Erik Johnson (bass & keyboard). John also worked shows with Sammy Mayfield and his band. Piano men George ‘Boogie Woogie’ Daniels and Ralph DeFermo often shared the stage with John.
David McIntyre, of the Colorado Blues Society, called John ‘Colorado’s own Bluesman’, in a review of John’s first Delta Groove CD, Lost and Found. Both of his Delta Groove releases were nominated for a BMA (blues music award) by the Memphis Blues Foundation, formerly the W.C. Handy Awards, ten years apart (2007 & 2017). His most recent CD is Stand Your Ground, released May 20, 2016. John also has a self-produced CD, Long on Blues, released in 1998 under Johnny Long. He records with Delta Groove Music under John Long.
John is often approached to be a contestant in blues competitions which he always declines. He has no interest in competing, although he thinks it’s fine for others to do so. His only competition is with himself, trying to be the best he can be, but mostly just letting the music come alive through the instruments and his voice. “It’s not about being better, or more popular, than someone else; it’s about being who you are, and about letting His Light shine through you. I thank the Creator for giving me this gift, to play the music, and to sometimes touch the lives of some who hear me, through my music."
John Long is an international blues artist. He has played in Europe, Canada, and coast to coast here in the US. John was repeatedly invited, over the years, to come to Germany and play his blues. In 2017, he finally accepted. His sixteen performance tour ran from September 22-October 28, 2017 through Germany and Austria. John’s longtime German friend, Bluesman Willie Salomon, joined John for most of the performances. The Germany/Austria Tour was produced and organized by Ms. Elfie Whalley,
who also was John's tour manager. John was extremely well received in Europe, and has been invited back, to include other countries also.