Donald Ray Johnson

Donald Ray Johnson

BandBluesR&B

Pure pleasure:Donald Ray Johnson's deep soulful voice blended with funky blues and R&B is pure pleasure.

Biography

Donald Ray Johnson was born on November 12, 1948 in Bryan Texas. He took an early interest in music, as did his older sister Janice Marie. They sang in church and at family functions. At age 7, Donald Ray became interested in playing the drums, beating on whatever he could get his hands on.

"Our house was across the street from the Allen Military Academy, and I would rush home from school to listen to the marching band's practices, especially the drum cadences." During the summer Donald Ray worked in the cotton fields of the Brazos Bottom's plantations to earn money for school clothes.

In 1961 he was introduced to high school band director Waymond Webster, who taught him to play " Traps." (The drumset). At age 14, Donald Ray began his professional career with blues piano legend Nat Dove. Throughout his teens Donald played with the two local bluesmen based in Bryan. Organist Joe Daniels, and Guitarist Lavernis Thurman ("We played a live radio show every Sat. night.").

On January 18, 1966, Donald Ray entered the US Navy serving aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard. After two tours in Southeast Asia (Viet Nam ), he was honorably discharged. After his discharge Donald Ray relocated to San Diego. While working " house band " at the Downtown Hustlers Club, Donald met quite a few of the L.A. based blues & R&B artists including Lowell Fulsom, Bobby Womack, and Pee Wee Crayton.

In early 1970, Don was called to play weekends in LA with Phillip Walker, by long time friend Nat Dove, who now lived in LA. Some 29 years later the relationship with the Phillip Walker Band still exists. In 1971 Donald moved to LA to work with the Joe Houston big band backing some of the west coast's top blues artist.

While trying to find a weekend gig Don met songwriter - producer, Perry Kibble who was in the process of developing a group that featured the talents of two young African American women, (bassist, Janice Marie Johnson & guitarist Carlita Durhan). We later became known as " A Taste Of Honey ". In 1979, this band was the first Afro - American Band to win and be presented with the "Grammy Award" for "Best New Artist".

Now living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Don has become a well liked and respected member of the Canadian blues community. Named "Best Canadian Male Blues Vocalist" in 1997 by Real Blues Magazine, Don was also nominated "Best Blues Drummer" in 1997 and Best Male Blues Vocalist in 1998 by the Toronto Blues Society. He was recently nominated "Best Blues Artist" by the Alberta Recording Industry Association (A.R.I.A.)

Discography

Donald Ray Johnson Discography:

It Aint Easy Being Blue
Pure Pleasure
Traveling Man

Set List

a standard set is 1hour.