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John Henry Barbee

A solid storyteller and good guitarist, John Henry Barbee discovered music playing in a variety of homes throughout Henning, Tennessee being a youth. He proved helpful for a short while with John Lee Williamson (Sonny Boy Williamson I) in 1934, after that began using Sunnyland Slender. They made performances over the Mississippi Delta. Barbee afterwards transferred to Chicago, where he documented for Vocalion in 1938. He used Moody Jones’ group on Maxwell Road in the ’40s, but still left the music business for quite some time. Barbee documented for Spivey and Storyville in the middle-’60s, and toured European countries within the American Folk Blues Celebration. A portion from the tour’s concert in Hamburg, Germany was released by Fontana. Barbee was in an car crash in 1964, and experienced a coronary attack while in prison waiting for the situation to come quickly to court.

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