Recorded at Chalk Farm Studios, London.
Johnny Mars - born at Lawrence, South Carolina on July 12th, 1942. His parents were migrant farmers and in his early youth he journeyed with them through the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. His mother died during 1957 and Johnny was taken to New Paltz, New York to live. There he entered high school, forming a band Johnny Mars and The Cotton Brothers. In 1962 he left to begin working with a variety of blues groups including Burning Bush, with whom he recorded "Deep In The Wilderness" for Mercury. By 1967, he was in San Francisco hoping for a real break. Though he led his own band and gigged with Creedence Clearwater, Magic Sam, Earl Hooker, Mike Bloomfield and others nothing much happened, so, in May 1972 he turned up in London to begin what has turned out to be a highly sucessful solo career.
Johnny Mars is a young, intelligent and highly articulate bluesman. He may only be 30 years old, but already his amplified harmonica technique rivals that of George Smith or James Cotton. Since the age of 10, when he first heard the legendary Little Walter, he has worked hard to not only reproduce the sounds of his masters but to also inject that personal quality that has made Mars' Blues something to sit up and take notice of. Though Walter has always been Johnny's God, Junior Wells, Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Jimmy Reed have all played an influencial role in his life. From their records he learned how to blow a harp - from those of B.B. King and Bobby Bland came the inspiration behind his vocals delivery.
This is his first album and it's a good one. Aided by a fine, home-grown combo he works his way in down-home fashion through a set of old and new favourites with the accent on Little Walter. The songs featured may belong to others, but Johnny wanted to do them for, at first, he needs to identify himself as a musician who knows his roots and one who understands just what the public likes. When he's accepted as his own man - and he will be - watch out for his original material. There's a lot of it.
A Howling Wolf benefit concert in London introduced us to Johnny Mars and now he's here to stay. He came to Britain in search of Blues and ended up by being discovered himself. After a dose of this you'll know what all the excitement was about!
Warwickshire not Alabama
A lack of Living Blues fored a starving Big Bear out to the Birmingham woods four years ago. The hunting was good - already that lean, hungry look has been replaced by one of well-fed contentment. More good news - he not only found enough to satusfy himself, but there was plenty left over for his friends. The Big Bear needs Big Blues to survive and so do you. Get your share now!
Big Bear (Blues) Music
32 Deblen Drive
Printed and made by Garrod and Lofthouse Ltd.
(P) 1972 (Marketed by) Polydor Ltd.
Made in England
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