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Lonnie Johnson and Elmer Snowden in Philly - 1959

Elmer and the Ferrograph

Lonnie Johnson, Chris Albertson, John Hammond, Elmer Snowden. Photo
taken bu Bertha Waters on the day these recordings were made.

These performances by Elmer Snowden and Lonnie Johnson took place in my Philadelphia apartment one afternoon in 1959. I recorded them on my Ferrograph tape machine, which I still have. 

This was the tape I took to Bob Weinstock, the one that led to the Prestige albums.


  1. Terlocious, terrific, and absolutely unforeseen.

    Thanks again for this confluencia del pavos, just in time for a pleasant summer evening.

  2. That was just so Rich with Soul. To know I share the same birthday (Feb 8th) with Lonnie Johnson, I will now think of him & his music at least once a year.

    Keep digging stuff out of that closet, its the best.

  3. Thank you Chris and David. There is more in that closet. If only I had a reel to reel machine that works, especially one that can handle 10 1/2" reels. I'm working on that—in the meantime, there is more accessible stuff.

  4. Lovely, Lonnie has been one of my favourites since I was 16.. long time ago now!

    Now as to a Ferrograph I just happen to have a 4 speed green one as in the picture sat in cupboard that was put away working..

    I have no idea where you are or if it still works, but what a great cause to donate it to, if you are interested maybe we can get in touch.

  5. Thank you, Richard T., what a generous offer, but I'm afraid the distance is too great, I am in New York City and I think you may be in Holland—am I correct?

    If you respond with your e-mail address, I will contact you and not publish the address.

  6. I had a feeling we were too long distance as I am in the Channel Islands, however pigs may fly !

    My email is rt@weekendblues.org

    I am away from tomorrow for a couple of days so if I don't hear from you before I will contact you on my return. I've only just discovered the blog and I know it's hard to keep it alive but do keep up the good work and nice to see mix of jazz with blues. R

    August 30, 2010 12:03 PM

  7. Genial. Muchas gracias por compartir esto.
    Gracias tambien por el comentario en Blues Syndicate.
    Me alegro de haber conocido su blog.
    Disculpe, perdon. Mi ingles no es bueno.
    Estoy preparando un especial sobre la figura de Lonnie Johnson.
    Muchas gracias

  8. Amazing. One of my favorite pairings ever. Thank you, Thank you.

  9. thank you for that fantastic recording ; Lonnie
    is one of my favorite guitarist
    I play his blues since more than 35 years
    Alain Giroux, french guitarist

  10. Hey Chris, I always wondered how Lonnie Johnson was rediscovered. I had just finished reading the liner notes about it on a recently acquired Lonnie Johnson record, when I realized I was reading your book Bessie. I looked on the internet for more information about you, and stumbled across this!!! I am absolutely amazed to see that this moment was preserved, and can't thank you enough for sharing. It's absolutely incredible. Is there any way I can download this file from you so I can play it off of the internet??

    Thanks again

    1. Thank you, Joseph.

      If you drop me a note in the guest book, I will have your e-mail address and gladly send you the audio file.

      This should take you to the guestbook, otherwise just scrolldown until you see an image with a quill.


  11. Hi Chris, the link isn't working on my computer – can you send me audio files for your complete Lonnie/Elmer session? Would love to hear them. Thanks
    beal.o.david (at) gmail.com