Big John Wrencher


Big John Wrencher Similar Artists: Snooky Pryor, Joe Carter, Blind Joe Hill Influenced By: Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter * Born: February 12, 1923, Sunflower, MS * Died: July 15, 1977, Clarksdale, MS * Active: '60s, '70s * Genres: Blues * Instrument: Harmonica, Vocals * Representative Albums: Maxwell Street Alley Blues, Big John's Boogie, Memphis to Maxwell Biography The Maxwell Street open air market was a seven- to ten-block area in Chicago that from the 1920s to the middle '60s played host to various blues musicians -- both professional and amateur -- who performed right on the street for tips from passerbys. Most of them who started their careers there (like Little Walter, Earl Hooker, Hound Dog Taylor and others) moved up to the more comfortable confines of club work. But one who stayed and became a most recognizable fixture of the area was a marvelous harmonica player and singer named One-Arm or Big John Wrencher. Wrencher was born in Sunflower County, MS, in 1924 on a plantation. His youthful interest in music -- particularly the harmonica -- kept him on the move as a traveling musician, playing throughout Tennessee and neighboring Arkansas from the late '40s to the early '50s. In 1958, Big John lost his left arm in a car crash in Memphis. By the early '60s, he had moved North to Chicago and quickly became a regular fixture on Maxwell Street, always working on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to nearly 3:00 in the afternnon virtually non-stop, ...

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