Johnny Guitar, A Blues Legend, Dies at age 71
It was with a heavy heart that Bluestar Band announced the passing of legendary bluesman Johnny Guitar two weeks ago. Folks say his heart just gave out. A Eulogy is being held at Hope Church in St Petersburg, FL, 2532 12th Avenue South November 12th at 11 am. Donations for his burial are requested in lieu of flowers, to his stepdaddy: Dennis Davis, 2938 8th Avenue South, St. Pete, FL 33711.
Johnny grew up in North Central Florida and began playing guitar at an early age. He enlisted in the armed forces, and upon discharge he began playing blues at juke joints around Hernando and Pasco Counties. His soul was in the blues, and he soon moved to the Tampa Bay area, eventually settling with his wife, Jean, in St Petersburg.
Jean passed away a few years ago. She was an ordained minister in later years, and Johnny played his guitar in his Stepdaddy’s Gospel Group. But his songs, his lifetime in his songs, he played solo, until he began playing with James Peterson. James passed a few years ago, as did his son Lucky. Johnny (his birth name, Clifford Scrivens) continued playing, and eventually formed a group named Bluestar. A total bluesman, Johnny believed in wearing his very best when performing, and was featured at the Bradenton Art Fest wearing a gold tux. But whatever he wore, his music was original. There were a few cover tunes, but Johnny would make up songs he felt in his heart. He loved to go out in the audience, sing to his fans (sometimes even down on his knees!) and was a consummate entertainer. Bluestar performed at the Capital Theater in St Petersburg, for the Chamber of Commerce annual event at the Powell Crosley Estate, at the Blue Rooster, Ocean Blues, Jr’s Old Packinghouse and had a regular Saturday night gig at The Ritz in Sarasota. The world of blues will miss him, as Bluestar Band moves on with his music and more.
Photo from Beth Hammer