Born: in Winnsboro, LA
Styles: Retro-Soul, Soul-Blues
Ernie Johnson continues in the soul-blues singing path forged by artists like Bobby "Blue" Bland, Z.Z. Hill, Little Milton and R.L. Griffin. Born in Winnsboro, Louisiana, Johnson didn't begin singing professionally until after moving to Dallas. His vocal influences included Nat King Cole, Dee Clark, Clyde McPhatter, Jackie Wilson, and especially Bobby "Blue" Bland; he recalled that hearing Bland sing "Further on Up the Road'' was a revelatory experience. Johnson had a chance to open for Miss Lavelle White and Guitar James in Mexia, Texas, and stole the show. At that point, he quit his day job with the Dallas parks department and formed a band, the Soul Blenders. He recorded his first single, "Lovin You" b/w "Cold Cold Heart," for Fats Washington's Movin' Records in 1968. Johnson recorded other singles before his first album for Ronn Records, Just in Time. Johnson has played the blues festivals in San Francisco and Monterey, and his first compact disc, It's Party Time, was released on the Louisiana-based Paula Records label in 1993. Johnson financed and produced the album himself, and wrote all the songs except for his rendition of Otis Redding's "Dreams to Remember." In 1995, Malaco Records released another album, In the Mood; Hot and Steamy followed three years later. Although he doesn't tour that widely, Johnson does get around on the blues festival circuit.
- Richard Skelly (All Music Guide)