James Earl Thompson

b. November 25th, 1928 in Holly Springs (Mississippi)

JUMP JACKSON CHICAGO BLUES SESSION

Private Pressing

JUMP JACKSON'S 1960 BLUES PARTY

Blue Eye (mp3)

Summer 1960

Frère de Syl Johnson (chanteur de Soul-Blues) et de Mack Thompson (bassiste de Magic Sam), Jimmy nait dans une ferme au sein d'une famille rurale. Il quitte son Mississippi natal en 1950 et s'installe à Chicago où il devient soudeur dans une usine. Ayant appris la guitare, il joue notamment derrière l'harmoniciste Slim Willis pendant un an et demi tout en se produisant dans les clubs de la ville. Jimmy enregistre un morceau ("Long about midnight") dans le garage du batteur Jump Jackson durant l'été 1960. Ce morceau devait sortir sur le label LaSalle de Jackson mais est resté inédit très longtemps. Sur ce premier titre en leader, Jimmy est accompagné de Tom Archia, Lee Jackson et Jump Jackson.

Brother of Syl Johnson (Soul-Blues singer) and Mack Thompson (bassist of Magic Sam), Jimmy is born on a farm in a rural family. He left his native Mississippi in 1950 and moved to Chicago where he became a welder in a factory. Having learned the guitar, he played in particular behind harmonicist Slim Willis during a year and a half while performing in the city clubs. Jimmy recorded one track ("Long about midnight") in the garage of drummer Jump Jackson during summer 1960. This piece was to be released on Jackson's label LaSalle but remained unissued for a long time. On this first title as a leader, Jimmy is accompanied by Tom Archia, Lee Jackson and Jump Jackson.

MA BEA'S ROCK

MCM

Storyville

October 1975

Voisin et ami de Magic Sam, Jimmy se perfectionne à la guitare grâce à l'enseignement de Reggie Boyd vers 1961-62. Alors qu'il est un habitué des clubs de Chicago depuis une quinzaine d'années, il grave cet album pour le label français MCM dirigé par Marcelle Morgantini. Celle-ci fait en sorte d'obtenir le son le plus brut possible restituant au mieux l'ambiance des clubs en plaçant les micros à même le sol de la scène du Ma Bea's. Jimmy est déjà un chanteur remarquable influencé par le Gospel et un guitariste au jeu fluide et élégant. Accompagné par un excellent groupe constitué de Jimmy Dawkins, Sylvester Boines et Tyrone Centuray, il donne de belles versions de "So many roads" et de "Crosscut saw". Une moitié du disque est consacrée à Luther Johnson Jr. La version CD éditée par Storyville est enrichie de titres supplémentaires.

Neighbor and friend of Magic Sam, Jimmy perfected on guitar thanks to the teaching of Reggie Boyd around 1961-62. While he is a regular at Chicago clubs for fifteen years, he records this album for the French label MCM directed by Marcelle Morgantini. She makes sure to get the rawest sound as possible restoring clubs atmosphere by placing the microphones directly on the floor of the Ma Bea's stage. Jimmy is already a remarkable singer influenced by Gospel and a guitarist with a fluid and elegant playing. Accompanied by an excellent group with Jimmy Dawkins, Sylvester Boines and Tyrone Centuray, he gives beautiful versions of "So many roads" and "Crosscut saw". Half of the disc is dedicated to Luther Johnson Jr. The CD version edited by Storyville is enhanced with additional titles.

I DIDN'T GIVE A DAMN IF WHITES BOUGHT IT vol.2 & 4

Red Lightnin'

PEPPER'S HANGOUT

Delmark

March 1977

En mars 1977, Jimmy entre en studio sous la supervision du producteur Ralph Bass pour ce qui aurait dû être un album complet dans la collection Chicago Roots. Malheureusement, les bandes - gravées en quelques heures seulement - restèrent inédites. Elles furent finalement éditées au milieu des années 80 par la firme anglaise Red Lightnin' sur sa série d'anthologies "I didn't give a damn if whites bought it". Ensuite, il faut attendre l'année 2000 pour que le matériel soit repris par Delmark (qui a racheté les bandes) en CD. Avec un petit groupe souple et compact (Bob Riedy, David Matthews, Jon Hiller), Jimmy délivre un superbe disque de Chicago Blues : sa voix claire fait merveille et son jeu de guitare se montre constamment inspiré et virtuose. Meilleurs moments : "Married woman blues", "Pepper's hangout", "Looking for my baby".

In march 1977, Jimmy entered studio under the supervision of producer Ralph Bass for what should have been a complete album in the Chicago Roots collection. Unfortunately, the tapes - recorded in just a few hours - remained unissued. They were finally published in the mid-1980's by the British label Red Lightnin' on its serie of anthologies "I didn't give a damn if whites bought it". Then, it is necessary to wait for the year 2000 so that the material is taken back by Delmark (who bought the tapes) in CD. With a flexible and compact band (Bob Riedy, David Matthews, Jon Hiller), Jimmy delivers a superb Chicago Blues album : his clear voice is a marvel and his guitar playing is constantly inspired and virtuoso. Highlights : "Married woman blues", "Pepper's hangout", "Looking for my baby".

TOBACCO ROAD

MCM

Storyville

October 1977

Second album pour le label MCM de Marcelle Morgantini. Cette fois, Jimmy est capté sur la scène du Golden Slipper avec ses musiciens : David Matthews, Ike Anderson et Dino Neal. Il délivre à nouveau une excellente performance dédiée au Chicago Blues avec des moments intenses : "Long about midnight", "Tobacco road", "Three times Chicago", "Engine n°9". La réédition CD de Storyville a inclus 4 morceaux supplémentaires.

Second album for Marcelle Morgantini's MCM label. This time, Jimmy is captured on the Golden Slipper stage with his musicians : David Matthews, Ike Anderson and Dino Neal. He again delivers an excellent performance dedicated to Chicago Blues with some intense moments : "Long about midnight", "Tobacco road", "Three times Chicago", "Engine n°9". The Storyville CD reissue included 4 additional songs.

CHICAGO BLUES NIGHTS vol.1

MCM

Storyville

October 1977

Deux titres provenant du même concert que "Tobacco road" : une reprise de "Little by little" et une excellente version de "Lucille".

Two tracks from the same concert as "Tobacco Road" : a cover of "Little by little" and an excellent version of "Lucille".

LIVING CHICAGO BLUES vol.1

Alligator

Sonet

February 1978

Dans la célèbre série supervisée par Bruce Iglauer pour documenter la scène chicagoane de l'époque, co-financée par Alligator et Sonet, Jimmy donne une prestation sensationnelle. Quatre morceaux remarquables qui représentent le mieux son style : "You turn to cry", "Serves me right to suffer", "Ain't that just like a woman", "Feel like breaking up somebody's home". Derrière lui, un groupe superbe : Larry Burton (guitare), Carl Snyder (claviers), Ike Anderson (basse), Dino Alvarez (batterie).

In the famous series supervised by Bruce Iglauer to document the Chicago scene of the time, co-financed by Alligator and Sonet, Jimmy gives a sensational performance. Four remarkable pieces that best represent his style : "You turn to cry", "Serves me right to suffer", "Ain't that just like a woman", "Feel like breaking up somebody's home". Behind him, a superb backing band : Larry Burton (guitar), Carl Snyder (keyboards), Ike Anderson (bass), Dino Alvarez (drums).

LIVE IN MONTREUX

Black & Blue

Evidence

EVERYTHING GONNA BE ALRIGHT

Black & Blue

July 1978

Jimmy participe au festival de Montreux au sein des Chicago All Stars aux côtés de Junior Wells et Buddy Guy. On peut l'entendre sur "So many roads" en leader.

Jimmy participates in the Montreux Festival in the Chicago All Stars alongside Junior Wells and Buddy Guy. He can be heard on "So many roads" as a leader.

JOHNSON'S WHACKS

Delmark

October 1978 / February 1979

Produit par Steve Thomashefsky et le Jimmy Johnson Band, cet album très abouti est le meilleur du bluesman chicagoan. Variété de l'inspiration, subtilité et expressivité du jeu de guitare, qualité des compositions, voix passionnée de Jimmy : tout concourt a rendre ce disque fondamental. Pas de moments faibles, l'ensemble de la set-list est puissante et intense : "Ashes in my ashtray", "I stand alone", "Strange how I miss you", "I need some easy money", "Jockey sports" sans oublier la reprise du standard Country "Drivin' nails in my coffin".

Produced by Steve Thomashefsky and the Jimmy Johnson Band, this highly accomplished album is the best of the chicagoan bluesman. Variety of inspiration, subtlety and expressiveness of guitar playing, quality of compositions, passionate voice of Jimmy : everything contributes to make this album fundamental. No weak moments, the whole set-list is powerful and intense : "Ashes in my ashtray", "I stand alone", "Strange how I miss you", "I need some easy money", "Jockey sports" without forgetting the cover of Country standard "Drivin' nails in my coffin".

NORTH SOUTH

Delmark

August 1981 - February 1982

Gravé lors de trois séances en 1981-82 pour Delmark, co-produit une fois encore par Steve Thomashefsky et le Jimmy Johnson Band, ce nouvel album se place dans la directe continuation du précédent. L'inspiration se fait toutefois plus large bien au-delà du Blues avec des éléments de Soul et de Rock. On peut relever "Country preacher", "Can't go no further", "Talking 'bout Chicago", "I can't survive" et le superbe morceau Soul "A woman ain't supposed to be hard".

Recorded in three sessions in 1981-82 for Delmark, co-produced once again by Steve Thomashefsky and the Jimmy Johnson Band, this new album is in the direct continuation of the previous one. The inspiration is however wider well beyond the Blues with Soul and Rock elements. We can note "Country preacher", "Can't go no further", "Talking 'bout Chicago", "I can't survive" and the beautiful track Soul "A woman ain't supposed to be hard".

HEAP SEE

Blue Phoenix

Black & Blue

BAR ROOM PREACHER

Alligator

November 1983

Gravé lors d'une tournée en France avec son groupe régulier, on retrouve intactes les qualités de Jimmy : superbe chant, guitare inventive, groupe compact. Plusieurs superbes moments : "Chicken heads", "Cold cold feeling", "Heap see", "When my first wife quit me", "You don't know what love is". La seconde version CD de Black & Blue ajoute un morceau capté au festival de Montreux en juillet 1978 ("I don't want no woman").

Recorded during a tour in France with his regular band, we find intact the qualities of Jimmy : superb voice, inventive guitar, compact backing band. Several great moments : "Chicken heads", "Cold cold feeling", "Heap see", "When my first wife quit me", "You don't know what love is". The second CD version of Black & Blue adds a song picked up at the Montreux festival in july 1978 ("I don't want no woman").

LIVIN' THE LIFE

Black & Blue

November 1990

Enregistré en banlieue parisienne en novembre 1990 avec son groupe régulier, on trouve ici une bonne tranche de Blues conventionnel bien joué : ses compositions comme "I used to be a millionaire", "Livin' the life" et quelques bonnes reprises. Ce disque n'a toutefois pas la créativité des précédents opus. Petite particularité : Jimmy joue aussi de l'orgue et de l'harmonica ici.

Recorded in the suburbs of Paris in november 1990 with his regular band, we find here a good slice of well played conventional Blues : his compositions as "I used to be a millionaire", "Livin' the life" and some good covers. This album does not however have the creativity of the previous opus. Small peculiarity : Jimmy also plays organ and harmonica here.

I'M A JOCKEY

Birdology

Verve

June 1993

Projet initié par Jean François Deiber et Jacques Lacava pour la petite marque Birdology. Dans ce superbe album (produit par Deiber), Jimmy joue avec son groupe régulier, quelques invités prestigieux (Billy Branch et Lucky Peterson à leur meilleur) et une belle section cuivres arrangée par Gene Barge. De remarquables réussites (reprises ou compositions originales) émaillent la set-list : "That will never do", "Jockey", "Highway 13", "As the years go passing by", "The highway is like a woman", "Look over yonder's wall". On trouve également de belles incursions Soul ("My ring") et Reggae ("Black & white wall").

Project initiated by Jean François Deiber and Jacques Lacava for the small imprint Birdology. In this superb album (produced by Deiber), Jimmy plays with his regular backing band, some prestigious guests (Billy Branch and Lucky Peterson at their best) and a beautiful horn section arranged by Gene Barge. Remarkable achievements (covers or original compositions) adorn the set-list : "That will never do", "Jockey", "Highway 13", "As the years go passing by", "The highway is like a woman", "Look over yonder's wall". There are also beautiful Soul ("My ring") and Reggae ("Black & white wall") incursions.

EVERY ROAD ENDS SOMEWHERE

Ruf

A ROAD MAY END SOMEWHERE

Birds & Blues

March - April 1997

TWO JOHNSONS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

Evangeline

Evidence

November 2000 - January 2001

A l'initiative du producteur Jon Tiven, il s'agit de la réunion des frères Syl & Jimmy Johnson dans leurs registres Soul et Blues. Les deux frères se complètent parfaitement. On retrouve leurs excellentes compositions (avec une aide de Jon & Sally Tiven) jouées avec goût et feeling : "Two Johnsons are better than one", "Uncomplicated life", "Is it because I'm black", "Ashes in my ashtray", "Living the life", "Dangerous".

At the initiative of producer Jon Tiven, this is the meeting of brothers Syl & Jimmy Johnson in their Soul and Blues registers. The two brothers complement each other perfectly. We find their excellent compositions (with a help of Jon & Sally Tiven) played with taste and feeling : "Two Johnsons are better than one", "Uncomplicated life", "Is it because I'm black", "Ashes in my ashtray", "Living the life", "Dangerous".

BROTHERS LIVE

Brambus

2002

Capté au Blues Festival de Bâle et publié par une marque suisse Brambus, voici un concert sympathique et plaisant de Jimmy Johnson associé à Chicago Dave.

Captured at the Basel Blues Festival and released by swiss imprint Brambus, here is a nice and enjoyable concert by Jimmy Johnson associated with Chicago Dave.