Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Anna May Johnson sings

Anna May Johnson

20985 - Time And Time Again
20986 - Songs Tell A Story

Rite 1913

Produced by Clay Eager


Anna May Johnson had started her music career in 1940 at the age of 14, appearing as the “Sunbonnet Girl” on WMRN-AM in Marion, Ohio. At 24, she married fiddler Hank Johnson, and the two went on tour together playing barn dances and radio shows on the weekends. As their family grew, so did the band. Daughter Janet played drums; son Billy sat in on guitar. It wasn’t just a hobby. The family needed the money.

“Those were very lean times, and music kept food on the table,” remembered Billy Johnson from his home in Madison. “She always did the best she could with what she had.

By 1977, however, her children had grown and moved away, and Anna May grew tired of the music business. She decided to relocate to Nashville, where Billy had moved. She got a job in the Opryland gift shop and abandoned her hopes for a singing career. Then one night she was at Stage Door Lounge when the performers onstage recognized her in the audience and asked her to sing. The appearance led to a regular gig, and by 1980 she was singing weekly at the Nashville Palace.

Boxcar Willie was there one night when the woman singing onstage. Anna May Johnson was more than 60 years old, but she belted out songs and worked the room with professional aplomb. After the show, Boxcar Willie drew her aside. “What you need is a gimmick,” the Singing Hobo is said to have told Anna May. “I picture you in some kind of granny outfit.”

From that day forth, Anna May was Granny Johnson.

She died died April 1, 1997 of breast cancer at the age of 72.

From [http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/vox-kronoid/Content?oid=1181241]


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