Will Johnson

William K. "Bill" Johnson (died August 13, 1955) was an American jazz banjoist, guitarist, and vocalist.

Johnson was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, where he played locally until relocating to New York in 1926. There he worked with the Dixie Ramblers and George Howe, then joined Luis Russell's orchestra in 1927. He remained with Russell until 1932 and during this time recorded with King Oliver, Red Allen, and Jack Purvis. He worked with Fess Williams in 1933-1934 and continued working actively until the end of the 1930s. After retiring from music he moved back to Lexington; in 1955 he died in a house fire.

He is often confused with William Manuel Johnson, a jazz bassist, in published works.

Birth and Death Data: Born January 1st, 1905 (Lexington), Died January 1st, 1955 (Lexington)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1929 - 1931

Roles Represented in DAHR: guitar, banjo, tenor guitar, vocalist

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 49 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-48333 10-in. 2/1/1929 Call of the freaks King Oliver Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, guitar, banjo  
Victor BVE-48334 10-in. 2/1/1929 The trumpet's prayer King Oliver Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, guitar, banjo  
Victor BVE-49649 10-in. 1/16/1929 Freakish light blues King Oliver Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, guitar, banjo  
Victor BVE-49650 10-in. 1/16/1929 West End blues King Oliver Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, guitar, banjo  
Victor BVE-53929 10-in. 7/17/1929 Feeling drowsy Henry Allen ; New York Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor BVE-53930 10-in. 7/17/1929 Swing out Henry Allen ; New York Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor BVE-55133 10-in. 7/16/1929 It should be you Henry Allen ; New York Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor BVE-55134 10-in. 7/16/1929 Biff'ly blues Henry Allen and his New York Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor BVE-55852 10-in. 9/24/1929 Make a country bird fly wild Henry Allen ; Four Wanderers ; New York Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal quartet instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor BVE-55853 10-in. 9/24/1929 Funny feathers blues Henry Allen and his New York Orchestra ; Victoria Spivey Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor BVE-55854 10-in. 9/24/1929 How do they do it that way Henry Allen and his New York Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor BVE-55855 10-in. 9/24/1929 Pleasing Paul Henry Allen ; New York Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor BVE-56732 10-in. 10/1/1929 Blood hound blues Victoria Spivey Female vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BVE-56733 10-in. 10/1/1929 Dirty T. B. blues Victoria Spivey Female vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BVE-56734 10-in. 10/1/1929 Moaning the blues Victoria Spivey Female vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BVE-56735 10-in. 10/1/1929 Telephoning the blues Victoria Spivey Female vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BVE-57080 10-in. 11/13/1929 Sweet Peter Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BVE-57081 10-in. 11/13/1929 Jersey Joe Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BVE-57082 10-in. 11/13/1929 Mississippi Mildred Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BVE-57083 10-in. 11/13/1929 Mint julep Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BVE-57554 10-in. 11/25/1929 Day breakin' blues Sweet Peas Spivey Female vocal solo, with instrumental quartet instrumentalist, tenor guitar  
Victor BVE-57555 10-in. 11/25/1929 Heartbreakin' blues Sweet Peas Spivey Female vocal solo, with instrumental quartet instrumentalist, tenor guitar  
Victor BVE-57556 10-in. 11/25/1929 Leavin' you baby Sweet Peas Spivey Female vocal solo, with instrumental quartet instrumentalist, tenor guitar  
Victor BVE-57557 10-in. 11/25/1929 Longin' for home Sweet Peas Spivey Female vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, tenor guitar  
Victor BVE-57927 10-in. 12/18/1929 Ridin' but walkin' Fats Waller’s Buddies Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, guitar  
(Results 1-25 of 49 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Johnson, Will," accessed July 26, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100886.

Johnson, Will. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 26, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100886.

"Johnson, Will." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 26 July 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100886

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