Billiken Johnson is an interesting figure in early
blues history, since he didn't sing or play an instrument, and yet he recorded
at least six sides in the late '20s. Johnson's unique talent was his ability to
imitate train whistles and provide other vocal effects, all of which made him a
popular figure on-stage at the juke joints and taverns of the famed "Deep
Ellum" district of Dallas, TX. Under his own name he recorded two tracks
for Columbia Records ("Sun Beam Blues" and "Interurban
Blues") in Dallas on December 3, 1927, followed by two more ("Frisco
Blues" and "Wild Jack Blues") a year later on December 8, 1928.
He is also listed as part of a duet of sorts with Texas Bill Day on
"Billiken's Weary Blues" and "Elm Street Blues," recorded
December 5, 1929, in Dallas and also issued by Columbia. Recorded in Dallas on December 3, 1927.