Elmore James' Masterful Disciple
Joseph Benjamin Hutto was born April 26, 1926 in Blackville, South Carolina. The family became situated in Augusta, Georgia, on the South Carolina border while they performed in their Golden Crowns Gospel Singers.
In his twenties, wanting to branch out on his own, J.B. headed for Chicago and after picking up the guitar, this self-taught guitarist, learning from Elmore James' slide licks, got his career start with Johnny Ferguson and His Twisters.
1954 was the year that J.B. would get together in studio with his new group, the Hawks comprised of 'Porkchop' Hines for percussion, George Mayweather providing blues harp, and backed by another guitarist, Joe Custom. They sat in on two sessions for a release of nine cuts on the Chance label. The band broke up not too long after this, and Hutto made a living at odd jobs, including custodian at a funeral home.
In 1964, with another small combo made up of him and another guitarist; and drums, J.B. Hutto found a consistent gig at Turner's Blue Lounge. He began his recording career anew, and always had some assortment of players, who would be billed "The Hawks." One such session was with Lee Jackson on guitar, Elbert Buckner keeping the beat and the bass line put forth by Bombay Carter performing two originals by J.B.: Blues Do Me a Favor, and Young Hawk's Crawl heard on LaserLight's Chicago Blues Bash. The exception was for his short tenure in 1976 in a group formerly ran by another Elmo James mentee, Hound Dog Taylor, when he replaced the now forever departed great in the Houserockers. This collusion with Brewer Phillips on the other guitar with Ted Harvey smacking the skins made for some tumultuous stage presence.
By 1977, Hutto would get together his final incarnation of the Hawks with the New Hawks in Boston, starting to finish a life of the blues in style, pink zoot suits, various wild headgear, and performing out on customers' tables with his elongated chord. He was famous for the rough presentation in playing and singing, to the point of lyrics becoming gibberish, but still loud and clear. He died in Harvey, Illinois on June 12 of 1983, after being one of the last Elmore James type players still playing.
You write a song like a man, not a boy, but a man that's saying something about his life. ...J.B. Hutto
1968 -- Hawk Squat!
1973 -- Slidewinder
1976 -- Blues for Fonessa
; Amigo Musik
1977 -- Live Vol. 1
1979 -- Live at Sandy's Jazz Revue
1980 -- Keeper of the Flame
1982 -- Slideslinger
1983 -- Slippin' and Slidin'
1985 -- Bluesmaster
1991 -- Live at Shaboo
(In Conn. 1979) ; New Rose
1991 -- And the Houserockers (Live 1977)
1992 -- High & Lonesome (live)
; New Rose
1995 -- Masters of Modern Blues
1999 -- Rock with Me Tonight
; Bullseye Blues
2000 -- Hip Shakin'
All Music Guide
Chicago Blues Bash liner notes