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J. B. Hutto
Birth name Joseph Benjamin Hutto
Born April 26, 1926(1926-04-26)
Blackville, South Carolina, United States
Died June 12, 1983 (aged 57)
Harvey, Illinois
Genres Blues
Occupations Musician
Instruments Singing, guitar, slide guitar
Years active 1954-1983

J. B. Hutto (April 26, 1926 – June 12, 1983[1]) was an American blues musician, born Joseph Benjamin Hutto. Hutto was influenced by Elmore James, and became known for his slide guitar work and declamatory style of singing. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame two years after his death.


Life and career

Hutto was born in Blackville, South Carolina, the fifth of seven children. His family moved to Augusta, Georgia when Hutto was three years old. His father, Calvin, was a preacher and Hutto, along with his three brothers and three sisters, formed a gospel group called The Golden Crowns, singing in local churches. Hutto's father died in 1949, and the family relocated to Chicago.[2] Hutto served as a draftee in the Korean War in the early 1950s, driving trucks in combat zones.[3]

In Chicago, Hutto took up the drums and played with Johnny Ferguson and his Twisters. He also tried the piano before settling on the guitar and playing on the streets with percussionist Eddie 'Porkchop' Hines. After adding Joe Custom on second guitar they started playing club gigs, and harmonica player George Mayweather joined after sitting in with the band. Hutto named his band The Hawks, after the wind that blows in Chicago.[4] A recording session in 1954 resulted in the release of two singles on the Chance label and a second session later the same year, with the band supplemented by pianist Johnny Jones, produced a third.[5]

Later in the 1950s Hutto became disenchanted with music and gave it up to work as a janitor in a funeral home after a woman broke his guitar over her husband's head one night.[6] He returned to the music industry in the mid 1960s with a new version of the Hawks featuring Herman Hassell on bass and Frank Kirkland on drums.[7] His recording career resumed with, first, a session for Vanguard Records released on the compilation album Chicago/the Blues/Today! Vol. 1, and then albums for Testament and Delmark.[8] After Hound Dog Taylor died in 1975, Hutto took over his band the Houserockers for a time, and in the late 1970s he moved to Boston and recruited a new band which he called the New Hawks, with whom he recorded further studio albums for the Varrick label.[7]

Death and legacy

Hutto returned to Illinois in the early 1980s, where he was diagnosed with cancer. He died in 1983, at the age of 57, in Harvey. He was interred at Restvale Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.[9]

In 1985 the Blues Foundation inducted Hutto into its Hall of Fame.[10] His nephew, Lil' Ed Williams (of Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials) has carried on his legacy, playing and singing in a style very close to his uncle's.[11]

There was also a bar in West Saint Louis County named after JB. They hosted a wide list of some of the best blues musicians.

A "J.B. Hutto" model guitar is often used to refer to a mid-1960's, Red, Montgomery Ward Res-O-Glas Airline Guitar. Although he was not a paid endorser, J.B. made the guitar famous by appearing with it on the cover of his Slidewinder album. This is the same type of fiberglass guitar later played by Jack White of the White Stripes.

See also


  1. ^ Allmusic biography -accessed January 2008
  2. ^ Rowe 1981, p. 114
  3. ^ van Rijn 2004, p. 97
  4. ^ Rowe 1981, p. 114-5
  5. ^ Ledbitter and Slaven 1987, p. 650
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b biography - accessed May 2008
  8. ^ Ledbitter and Slaven 1987, p. 650-651
  9. ^ Find A Grave website - accessed May 2008
  10. ^ Blues Foundation: 1985 Hall of Fame Inductees - accessed May 2008
  11. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. pp. 121. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.  


  • Leadbitter, M. and Slaven, N. (1987), Blues Records 1943 to 1970 Vol. 1, 2nd Ed., London: Record Information services
  • Rowe, M. (1981): Chicago Blues: the City and the Music, Da Capo Press
  • van Rijn, G. (2004): The Truman and Eisenhower Blues, Continuum

External links



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