Friday, November 23, 2012

Clarence Johnson And His Tom Cats on Jerome

Clarence Johnson And His Tom Cats

 Jerome 7363

 One copy of this RARE record was recently auctioned by records dealer (and blues collector) John Tefteller, described as follows  :
M- GREAT AND RARE!!! Rockin' Country Blues Masterpiece! MB $2000

 Clarence Johnson

On Feb. 18, 2006, Clarence Johnson, 86, was found wrapped in clothes, trying to stay warm in sub-freezing temperature in an unheated, ramshackle duplex at 480 N. 26th St. in East St. Louis. Johnson died 20 minutes after reaching the hospital
It was rumored among the blues community that he was the son of the renowned blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson, whose distinctive style he drew from heavily. But Fannie Harper, his half-sister,  discounts the connection. "I don't know where they got that from," she says of the legendary lineage. "His father was Jack Johnson."

Perhaps shrewdly, Clarence did little to clarify the matter while he was alive.
Johnson worked mainly as a sideman.  He backed up a young Miles Davis, as well as several other area musicians.   Over the years he managed to lay down a few tracks of his own for Jerome.   Though he played music all his life, he earned his keep fixing radios and other small electronics out of his house.

  • Beth Hundsdorfer, obituary published in Belleville News-Democrat on March 8, 2006 :  Blues singer identified; family to be at funeral
  • Malcolm Gay,  "Going Down Slow" article, Riverfront Times,  Apr 26 2006

Jerome label

The Jerome label is listed in the Song-Poem records discography (Phil Milstein)

 The question of who operated the label is still open. 

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