John Riley Brown, known on stage as Texas Johnny Brown, has died after losing his battle with lung and liver cancer. Brown wrote and recorded songs well into his 80′s and performed right up to the point that he was too sick to play.
Over the years he played guitar with a who’s who of blues artists including Junior Parker and Bobby Blue Bland. His song,’”Two Steps From the Blues” is considered by many to be one of the finest blues songs ever written. Texas johnny was 85.
On a personal note my band, Brother2Brother, shared the stage with Johnny and his “Quality Blues Band” on several occasions. He and the members of his band were always friendly, gracious, and as complimentary of our performance as we were of theirs. Johnny was always dressed to the “nines” topped with a colorful hat and he was very accessible to his large base of fans.
We younger musicians were amazed at the busy schedule of live performances he kept up at his age. Here was a musician in his 80′s performing regularly and it gave us all hope that we’d be able to do the same. Texas Johnny Brown will be greatly missed, but he leaves behind a large body of musical work that will live on.