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Lazy Lester

Contrary to his colorful sobriquet, (supplied by prolific south Louisiana producer J.D. Miller), harpist Lazy Lester swears he never was all that lethargic. But he seldom was in much of a hurry either, although the relentless pace of his Excello Records swamp blues classics "I'm a Lover Not a Fighter" and "I Hear You Knockin'" might contradict that statement, too.

While growing up outside of Baton Rouge, Leslie Johnson was influenced by Jimmy Reed and Little Walter. But his entree into playing professionally arrived quite by accident: while riding on a bus sometime in the mid-'50s, he met guitarist Lightnin' Slim, who was searching fruitlessly for an AWOL harpist. The two's styles meshed seamlessly, and Lester became Slim's harpist of choice.

In 1956, Lester stepped out front at Miller's Crowley, Louisiana studios for the first time. During an extended stint at Excello that stretched into 1965, he waxed such gems as "Sugar Coated Love," "If You Think I've Lost You," and "The Same Thing Could Happen to You." Lester proved invaluable as an imaginative sideman for Miller, utilizing everything from cardboard boxes and claves to whacking on newspapers in order to locate the correct percussive sound for the producer's output.

Lester gave up playing for almost two decades (and didn't particularly miss it, either), settling in Pontiac MI in 1975. But Fred Reif (Lester's manager, booking agent, and rub board player) convinced the harpist that a return to action was in order, inaugurating a comeback that included a nice 1988 album for Alligator, Harp & Soul. His swamp blues sound remained as atmospheric (and, dare one say, energetic) as ever on subsequent releases including 1998's All Over You and 2001's Blues Stop Knockin', featuring Jimmie Vaughan. ~ Bill Dahl & Al Campbell, Rovi
full bio

Comments

owwwwwwwww!! ! ! hahah oh,yeah
yup
Down and dirty....jus t good and nasty....
This is my great uncle... Love you dearly Uncle Leslie!!!!
Love the harp!
SOLO288
REMINDS ME OF MAGIC DICK JAKE GILES BAND
awesome
Saw him at a show Reno. He was part of the encore at a Gov't Mule show. Awesome. Funny the song after this on Pandora was G. Mule!
a less lazy slim harpo
luv this song, deep soul at the least
lazy izz the booam
@Rosiekosh- He's been here since at least late '07 =P
I know Lester, ( I live right up the street from him). He really misses Jimmy Vaughan. Super-cool cat, and appreciates a good beer :)
artnotes619
This guy is awesome.
scottcampbel l 1 9 5 8
Man, I loves me some Lester.
rosiekosh
Last year Lester moved to my home town of Paradise, Ca. It's cool to see him around.
Very Nice
I live near Houston and have been making trips to Louisiana since I was 17. Til this day if I'm not in a hurry I cut off of I10 at LaFayette and go into N.O. on old 90. I try to stop at every juke joint I can and listen to this kind of music. It's in my heart and soul.
Jill,how cool u got to meet Lester.love his style.
kbriggs1967
Always heard stories about this brother. I knew his family who lived 3 doors down from my family. His father "Mr Johnson" would always scold us as kids for playing baseball too close to his bedroom window. Man this is the sound of my hometown. Good to see him still going strong. Truly a Giant of the industry.
Met Lester through Teddy Morgan at the Blue Cafe in Long Beach Calif. LOVE LOVE LOVE HIM!!! Listen to Teddy to hear current Lester - He's fab!!!
great harp licks ---a true blues man
I met Lester on Halloween at Kmart in Paradise, California a couple of years ago. I didn't know who he was but I went up to him and said "you look like a man who's had an interesting life." He told me he had and that he's an old blues man from Louisianna. Then he signed my guitar and shook my hand. Pretty cool....
johnmahon
I grew up in St. Louis listening to the two black radio stations of the 40s & 50s and Jimmy Reed was a favorite. Lazy Lester reminds me of him.
reminds me of some of the old crawfish eatin hangouts on the Gulf, goodbye sweet Gulf of Mexico
schiresr
Absolutely love this guy.
Ya love this guy
texasjoseph
Always worth it...
stephanie.cl e l a n d
Gots to love the blues.......
without it, there would be nothing else
affajbar
sugar coated harp
magruver
Wonderful. Awesome is all I can say , Love it!!!!!!
Amazing.
great tune
What a great blues player and singer. Lazey Lester

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