Johnny Jenkins - Ton-Ton Macoute! (1970)

Johnny Jenkins was an American blues guitarist and singer.

A self-taught guitarist from Georgia, Johnny Jenkins started out playing rhythm & blues in the late 50s with his band The Pinetoppers. In 1961 he had a local hit with his instrumental “Love Twist”. Unfortunately his career was destined to suffer from numerous set-backs over the years.
It was at a talent show in Macon that he encountered a young Otis Redding, and offered to back Redding as a guitarist. With Jenkins’ help, Redding went on to win the contest several weeks running, and was invited to become the lead singer of the Pinetoppers. It was at the end of a Pinetoppers studio session at Stax Records that Redding got to record one of his own songs - “These Arms Of Mine”. It so impressed the band’s manger Phil Walden that he decided to release it as a single, launching Redding’s solo career. As a result of this, Jenkins’ career ended up being sidelined as Walden focused on Redding. Jenkins has expressed bitterness at this.

Back in Macon, he continued to perform, where he gained a loyal following, and his wild guitar showmanship influenced many, including Jimi Hendrix.
It wasn’t until Redding’s death in 1967 that Walden came back to focus on Jenkins. The fantastic Ton-Ton Macoute! album came out in 1970, with Jenkins as lead singer. Much of the guitar work was actually played by Duane Allman, and other members of the Allman Brothers Band also appeared (Butch Trucks, Berry Oakley and Jaimoe), as they were also managed by Walden. It’s some great swampy blues-rock, featuring an incredible cover of Dr John’s “I Walk On Gilded Splinters” (plus other covers including Sleepy John Estes’ “Leaving Trunk”, Muddy Water’s “Rollin’ Stone”, Otis Rush’s “My Love Will Never Die”, John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples” and Bob Dylan’s “Down Along The Cove”).
However unfortunately for Jenkins, Walden was again distracted, this time by the burgeoning success of the Allman Brothers. Disenchanted, Jenkins quite the music business for many years.

|> Blessed Blues (1996)


1 comment:

boppinbob said...

Thanks for the link. Just finishing a post on Johnny Jenkins whose birthday is today (March 5, 1939 – June 26, 2006. Regards, Bob)