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Johnny Jenkins

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Johnny Edward Jenkins (March 5, 1939 – June 26, 2006) was a renowned left-handed blues guitarist, who helped launch the career of Otis Redding. His flamboyant style of guitar playing also influenced Jimi Hendrix, who would later use some of Jenkins’s tricks in his stage show.

In the 1960s Jenkins was the leader of a band called the Pinetoppers, he employed a young singer called Otis Redding as his chauffeur and singer for the Pinetoppers. During a recording session in 1962 organized by the band’s manager Phil Walden, Jenkins left 40 minutes of studio time unused. Redding used this time to record a ballad entitled These Arms of Mine (Jenkins played guitar on this track) Redding’s career had begun.

With Phil Walden concentrating on Redding’s flourishing career, Jenkins was sidelined and it wasn’t until after Redding’s death in 1967 that Walden again concentrated on Jenkins’s career. In 1970 Jenkins released the album Ton-Ton Macoute!, in later years this album was to become a collectors item as the opening track, a cover of Dr. John’s I walk on Gilded Splinters, has been sampled by numerous artists from Beck to Oasis.

With Phil Walden again becoming involved in other projects (The Allman Brothers) Jenkins became disillusioned with the music industry and did nothing of note until 1996 when Walden persuaded him to make a comeback, he released the album Blessed Blues recorded with Chuck Leavell. Two further albums followed; Handle With Care and All in Good Times.

Jenkins died in the same town he was born, Macon Georgia aged 67 from a stroke.

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