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Daily Dose: Juke Boy Bonner

I first heard Juke Boy Bonner singing I’m a Bluesman on a compilation record (remember records) I had way back in the early 80s. I was a serious blues freak back in those days. There was something about Bonner’s performance of I’m a Bluesman that captured my imagination, even though I’m convinced the guitar was a bit out of tune on the recording.  I looked for more material at the time but there was little to be found.

The Juke Boy was born March 22, 1932 and sadly died young on June 29, 1978 from cirrhosis of the liver. He had several recordings, but was sidelined for a while with a serious stomach problem, which required major surgery. Apparently Bonner wrote some poetry around this time. I’d love to find it one day.

There is very little video footage of Juke Boy Bonner, but this video is choice, recorded live in Montreux in 1975, and it includes I’m a Bluesman performed live.

Here’s one of my fave Juke Boy Bonner cuts – Houston – The Action Town. This one was never adopted by the Houston tourist bureau. There was another cut he did around the same time I really love but haven’t been able to find for you today. I think it was called Sporting Blues and it’s a boogie all about a guy who keeps getting nabbed by the game warden for his fishing and hunting offenses. I think you would like that one too, but we’re going to have to make do with Action Town for right now.

Although many of his songs were fast boogies, he was not exactly Mr. Happy and recorded a number of cuts like Life Gave me a Dirty Deal…

Let’s go out with Rock with me Baby…

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