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James “Super Chikan” Johnson: Blues Come Home to Roots

I don’t mind that James “Super Chikan” Johnson doesn’t exactly play in tune, or that he doesn’t always stick to the standard 12 bars in his songs. There’s a sense of warmth, humor and complete lack of guile to his cryptic tales that makes Blues Come Home to Roost (Rooster Blues R2634; 59:51) somehow engaging. Johnson deals in the human relationships and sociology of the Mississippi Delta where he has lived all his life and worked alternately as a truck driver, cab driver and bluesman. Tunes like “Captain Love Juice,” “Crystal Ball Eyes” and “Camel Toe” come across as raw, unrefined and real. There’s an eccentric charm here, the sonic equivalent of the Southern primitive school of painters who are all the rage these days. Probably more suitable for art school grads than hardcore blues fans.

Originally Published