Jan 26, 1989
Dear John #III & Family
I'm sure glad to hear from you, and that you enjoyed
the tape of the Johnson Band or part of it "the band"
(3 members). 2 or 3 more records were made at this
same time and some were much better than this one
(I thought). They were all out at Dad's on the farm
and I salvaged only this one.
("I inquired of Dorothy & the girls if they knew
what became of them and I never got an answer.
There was also a lot of Dad's band music complete
for a fifty piece band stored there also and it
In regards to what instruments we played. John#1
played the violin, John#2 played the mandolin, and
your Uncle Hane brought up the rear on guitar.
John#2 would have played much more but he was
the recording artist and had to spend most of his time at
the controls as it was such a make shift thing, and took
quite a bit of adjustment.
Your Dad was making a broadcasting station for the
college as part of his credits and that is why we were
able to have access to the equipment at nights.
John#2 thought we might market some records but
found out it was very expensive and we had no
connections for marketing so we gave it up.
We were working at Canton Mo. at the time
remodeling the house for John#2's landlord (Bill Henton)
and did not have the rest of the band with us (Dean &
Maro) so we had no quartets involved.
Fromhere our band scattered out and we went down
hill pretty fast, only meeting at Christmas about every
year or two.
When we were all at home we entered every amatuer
contest in the country never came out below 1st place
but Dad would not leave home to go W.L.S. or Knox
for a regular show. We played at the county fairs and
once at Springfield for W.L.S. Barn Dance at the State
fair but that is as far as John#1 would go.
Dad's roots were in Pike county Ill and that is where
he kept them, no money or any offer would take him
In the depression days (1930-1940) we played a lot
in local towns to draw a crowd on Wed & Sat nights,
and I do mean crowds, the towns were so crowded that
they had regular traffic jams. It sure made us feel good
to think we were so popular. Dad charged $40.00 per
hour and we were paid for 2 hours and we usually
donated an extra hour for free.
I had a new Chevrolet 2 door and we all went crowded
in it. Mom stayed at home to make room for all the
instruments. If it rained we had to put the Bull fiddle in
side the car and that made the boys in the back seat
set on each others laps which usually caused trouble
thier clothes got pretty wrinkled before we got there, but
the crowd never seemed to object, in fact they seemed
to show more appreciation than ever.
I'm glad you appreciate a little bit of the Johnson
music history the best I can narrate it.
Love to you all
Lorraine C. Johnson