Reviewed February 2001
Jimmy Johnson
Pepper's Hangout
Delmark Records, DD-745
Photo by: Mark PoKempner

Same Old Blues; Married Woman Blues; High Heel Sneakers; The Things That I Used To Do;
Pepper's Hangout; Looking For My Baby; Riding In The Moonlight

When Jimmy Johnson recorded this back in March of '77, it was supposed to be his first full
album. At that time, the title was "Chicago Roots." Well, things happened, and it didn't get
released until now, making the re-named "Pepper's Hangout" Johnson's seventh album. In
between, there was the Handy Award for Contemporary Blues Album for his work with Eddy
Clearwater, Handy Award winning songs on both "Johnson's Whacks" and "North/South,"
Grammy nominations for his work on the Alligator anthologies "Living Chicago Blues," and my
personal favorite, "Bar Room Preacher," among others.
"Jimmy's fervent, high-register singing is just stunning; combined with his fluent, note-bending
guitar work, those marvelous vocals invest the supercharged blues of Jimmy Johnson not just
with deep emotion but also with a rare, anguished kind of beauty."
Having seen Johnson perform live, I can attest to the feeling of "supercharged blues." And this
studio release gives you the same feeling as his live performance. It is Chicago Blues at its
finest. With Jimmy on vocals & guitar, Bob Riedy on piano, David Matthews on bass, and Jon
Hiller on drums, this is a tight, down in the alley recording showcasing some of the best that
Chicago has to offer.
As a fan of Jimmy Johnson for years, it is certainly a pleasure to find these "lost" recordings,
and be able to enjoy them. If you're a fan of Chicago Blues, or a fan of Jimmy Johnson, this will
make a fine addition to your collection. If you're not a fan, this is the one that will make you one.