Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Books and Articles => Topic started by: Bunker Hill on September 13, 2008, 02:18:32 AM

Title: Carroline Shines Carries on Her Father's Music Legacy
Post by: Bunker Hill on September 13, 2008, 02:18:32 AM

By Jerry Henry

Carroline Shines Carries on Her Father's Music Legacy

Johnny Shines was born, John Ned Shines, April 26, 1915 in Frayser, Tennessee. His mother taught him to play guitar when he was about 17 years old influenced the music of Blind Lemon Jefferson and ?Howlin" Wolf.  He played in juke joints and on the streets for tips in Memphis. In 1932 he moved to Hughes, Arkansas where he worked as a cotton picker and field hand. He met the legendary Robert Johnson (his greatest influence) in nearby Helena and began traveling with him from 1935 until 1937. In 1941 he moved to Chicago where he became a construction worker while playing bars at night. He had limited success until 1966 when Vanguard Records recorded him for Chicago/The Blues/Today third volume which became a blues classic and helped "discover" Shines. He toured with the Chicago All Stars which included Willie Dixon, Big Walter Horton and Lee Jackson. Johnny and his 10 grandchildren moved to Tuscaloosa in the late "60's after his daughter died unexpectedly. He wanted to remove them from urban life. In the '70's he toured with Robert Lockwood, Jr. (Robert Johnson's stepson). In 1975 Tomato Records released Too Wet To Plow with the cove showing his Holt address hand painted on his guitar case. Shines suffered a stroke in 1980 that hampered his playing but after a courageous fight to recover appeared in the documentary, Searching For Robert Johnson. His last release was Back To The Country which featured Snooky Pryor and Johnny Nicholas. In 1989 he began touring with Kent Duchaine along with several Tuscaloosa musicians until his death on April 20, 1992. He is buried in the cemetery at Mimosa Park.

When Johnny Shines died his daughter was grown, married with 3 children. She remembers him as "dad" while others remember him as a blues legend. She says, "He was a strong father that was always there for me." He taught her music and how to sing. He also gave her advice for life. He told her, ?You was born a girl, you grow up to be a woman, but it takes finesse to be a lady." Carroline Shines is truly a lady.

Carroline lives in the house, in Holt, her father purchased when she was 3 years old. She is a down-to-earth person and seems to always to be herself. She gave birth to 3 girls and adopted her great nephew after his parents died. She has 4 grand children, goes to church and volunteers her time to help others. She has worked for Bryce Hospital since 1993, except for a year when she worked for Searcy Hospital in Mobile. She loves working with the mentally ill and sings to her patients all the time. She sings to her grand children constantly which may insure the family music legacy for the future.

Some confuse Carroline or her mother, Hattie, with Johnny's last wife, Candy, who also sings. Johnny married Hattie on Thanksgiving Day, 1964 in Chicago. When Johnny's daughter died while giving birth to her 11th child, he brought her 10 children to Hattie to raise. Carroline was the only child for Johnny and Hattie. Johnny was married 3 times. Hattie died 6 years ago. Carroline and Candy do share the stage at times.

Carroline loves all types of music but performs blues and of course sings gospel in her church, Morning Star Baptist Church. The same church her dad attended. Many wanted him to be kicked out of the church because he was a bluesman that played in bars for a living. Regardless of their attitude toward him, if he was in town when Sunday morning came he got dressed and went to his church. Morning Star Baptist Church is where his funeral was held. She told me that singing for large crowds now doesn't bother her but she still gets that "lump" in her throat each time she sings in church. She says she sings her prayers because music is such a huge part of who she is. She feels her voice and her talent is a gift from God. She didn't start singing professionally until she was in her twenties. The first place she sang professionally was for the Tuscaloosa Talent Search. When she went to audition, Mr. Freeman with PARA stopped her in her second verse and told her she was to open the show and was to close the show. He paid her $500 for her performance that night. Later she sang with George Crumbie and Arthur Wells in places like Blackie's, a juke joint down highway 69. Next came gigs with the Alabama Blues Project. She has a huge amount of respect for Debbie Bond, Rick Ashley and all that make up the ABP. She counts Debbie as a sister and says of Rick, "If Jesus had a 13th disciple, it would be Rick." Those and the other musicians in her life she considers her family. They have always been there when she needed them and she will be there if any of them need her. Her band is Ralph Lucian on guitar, Eric Simmons on bass, J.K. Terrell playing harp & percussion, Duane Pruitt or Jesse Suttle as drummer.

 She was shot by her ex-husband 3 years ago. She had prayed to get out of her bad marriage and him shooting her certainly gave her the grounds for a divorce. She laughs as she says, "Watch what you pray for because you might get it." The bullet went through her lower leg and then lodged in her right hip. (I think she has the makings of a blues song.)

She gets excited when I ask if there are any men in her life now.

Carroline says the first song she wrote was about Alex Cabbil, her 6'5" gift from God. She says she is like Whitney Houston in the movie "Bodyguard" and Alex is Kevin Costner. He takes care of her.

I asked what she wanted others to know about her father. She said, "He was an amazing man. He taught himself how to read, do math and use proper speech. He didn't graduate from high school but yet, he was in college when he died. It took a lot for him at his age to seek his education among all those young people. It took a lot of guts. He truly was an amazing man."

Carroline and J.K. Terrell (who also played with Johnny Shines) went to see B.B. King last April in Montgomery. Back stage, B.B. remembered them from a previous gig they had done together. B.B. told them in that packed room, "Johnny Shines was the best guitar player that ever lived."
Title: Re: Carroline Shines Carries on Her Father's Music Legacy
Post by: doctorpep on September 20, 2008, 11:38:27 PM
Apart from some grammatical errors, this is an excellent article. I'd love to hear Carroline Shines' music. Can anyone verify if B.B. strongly admired Johnny's guitar playing? I've only heard B.B. mention Django, Lonnie Johnson, Blind Lemon, Buddy Guy and Earl Hooker in interviews. If anything, I'd think B.B. would have said "Johnny was the best Blues singer that ever lived"; I'm not saying he wasn't a great guitar player, though! Thank you very much for posting this article. Johnny is one of my favorite Bluesmen, and certainly one of the most versatile.
Title: Re: Carroline Shines Carries on Her Father's Music Legacy
Post by: doctorpep on September 21, 2008, 10:17:43 PM
I didn't mean anything negative by the "grammatical errors" comment. I'm currently studying to become an ESL teacher, hence the grammar comment. Does anyone have any reaction to this article or to B.B.'s comment?
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