March 18, 1976 – Luther “Snake Boy” Johnson was born Lucious Brinson August 30, 1934 in Davisboro, GA.
He was raised on a farm where he taught himself to play guitar.
After service in the US Army up to 1953, Johnson played guitar with a local gospel group called the Milwaukee Supreme Angels. However, he gradually moved towards blues and set up his own trio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before relocating to Chicago, Illinois in the early 1960s.
He backed Elmore James prior to his death, and in 1964, released a solo single on the Chess Records label entitled “The Twirl”, billed as Little Luther. He then joined Muddy Waters’ backing band in 1966. Johnson worked with various musicians over this period, including Chicago Bob Nelson, before recording his debut album, Come on Home in 1969.
In 1970, Johnson moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and found work on the blues festival and college circuits for the next few years. Black & Blue Records released Johnson’s Born in Georgia in 1972, and this was followed by Chicken Shack (1974), Lonesome in My Bedroom (1975), and the final album issued in his lifetime, Get Down to the Nitty Gritty (1976).
Johnson died of cancer in Boston in March 1976, aged 41.