This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.
(b. June 20, 1933 – d. August 22, 2018)
It’s rural Louisiana, the 1950’s. Leslie Johnson takes a seat on a bus, and starts talkin’ to the man next to him. Turns out the stranger’s headed to a recording session at Excello records in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Leslie tags along. That stranger was the celebrated swamp blues guitar player, Lightnin’ Slim. When they get to the recording session, the harmonica player doesn’t show. So Leslie steps in. The record exec likes what Leslie Johnson does. Signs him a deal. And renames him Lazy Lester. Cause of his laid back, methodical approach to life and music. And the rest is history.
Lazy Lester proved to be a talented multi-instrumentalist. Providing guitar, vocals and harmonica for a number of Excello sessions. Even did a little drumming too—playing percussion with whatever was around. Cardboard boxes, horse saddles, rolled up newspaper. And he wasn’t a bad songwriter either. Lester wrote some pretty cool tracks. Including one of my favorites. “I’m a Lover Not a Fighter.”