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Big John Wrencher


The Maxwell Road open air marketplace was a seven- to ten-block area in Chicago that through the 1920s towards the mid-’60s played host to various blues music artists — both professional and amateur — who performed directly on the road for tips from passerby. Many of them who began their careers right now there (like Small Walter, Earl Hooker, Hound Puppy Taylor, among others) shifted up to the convenient confines of golf club work. But person who remained and became a most recognizable fixture of the region was a wonderful harmonica participant and singer called One-Arm or Big John Wrencher. Wrencher was created in Sunflower State, MS, on the plantation in 1924. His fresh curiosity about music — specially the harmonica — held him on the road being a vacationing musician, playing throughout Tennessee and neighboring Arkansas in the past due ’40s to the first ’50s. In 1958, Big John dropped his still left arm in an automobile crash in Memphis. By the first ’60s, he previously transferred North to Chicago and quickly became a normal fixture on Maxwell Road, always focusing on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to almost 3:00 within the evening virtually nonstop, as Sundays had been the big pay day advance for some busking music artists working the region. Although cupping both harmonica and large microphone in a single hands (which he also sang through), Wrencher’s physical problem seemingly did small to improve the hugeness of his audio or the slurring strike he taken to the device. Usually supported by only an electric acoustic guitar along with a drummer, Big John’s audio and design was nation juke joint blues taken to the town and amplified to the utmost. A flamboyant showman, he’d placed on quite a display for individuals on the road, moving and dance constantly as the cigar package was handed around for ideas. By all accounts, nobody was ever disappointed from the display or the music. But despite his tremendous playing and carrying out skills, the discography on Wrencher, sadly, remains woefully slim. He seems to have performed on a program with Detroit bluesman Baby Boy Warren within the ’50s, but this tape is apparently lost towards the ravages of your time. His initial public recordings surfaced on a set of Testament albums in the ’60s, offering Big John within a sideman function behind slide star Robert Nighthawk. His just full record of materials surfaced in the first ’70s over the Barrelhouse label. Manufacturer George Paulus also utilized him being a support musician behind glide guitarist but these edges lay down unissued until lately, turning up piecemeal on several compilations. After many years of vacillating between his regular Maxwell Road gig and some appearances on Western european blues celebrations, Wrencher went back again to Mississippi to go to family and previous close friends in July of 1977. While swapping tales of his moves with some buddies at bluesman Wade Walton’s barber store in Clarksdale, he abruptly dropped deceased from a coronary attack at age 54. Like a heartfelt (and relatively surreal) memorial to his older pal, Big John’s last container of whiskey can be permanently ensconced on the shelf at Walton’s barbershop.

Quick Facts

Full Name Big John Wrencher
Died July 15, 1977, Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States
Music Songs Big John's Boogie, Maxwell Street Alley Blues, Telephone Blues, Lonesome in My Cabin, I'm a Root Man, Third Degree, Runnin' Wild, Trouble Makin' Woman, How Many More Years?, Now, Darling, Where Did You Stay Last Night?, Take a Little Walk With Me, Can't Hold Out Much Longer, Honey Dripper, Come on Over, Lucille
Albums Big John's Boogie Plus

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