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JB Lenoir

JB LENOIR (1929 - 1967 )

JB Lenoir fled Mississippi with his guitar as a teenager escaping oppression and discrimination of the early 20th century Deep South . After a couple of detours (which included time in New Orleans with Sonny Boy Williamson II and Elmore James), JB landed under the wing of Big Bill Broonzy during the golden age of the Chicago Blues where he performed with legendary icons Muddy Waters and Memphis Minnie and harmonica great Little Walter. He began openly injecting politically infused lyrics about subjects ranging from Korea to Eisenhower that would carry on into the 1960s critiquing the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement. Most of this work resonated with the European market while receiving very limited exposure in the US.

JB did it all dressed to the nines - impeccably dressed in zebra patterned suits to accompany his explosive stage performances. He was killed in 1967 from injuries he suffered in an Illinois car accident and upon his death, British Bluesbreaker John Mayall went to the drawing board twice honoring JB in song - I'm Gonna Fight for You, J.B. and Death of J. B. Lenoir.

Interest in his work was rekindled when he was featured in the 2003 documentary film The Soul of a Man directed by Wim Wenders.

Lightning Hopkins


Big Bill Broonzy


Wim Wenders


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