Not many guitarists could say they schooled Jimi Hendrix — say it without being laughed out of the room, at any rate — but Johnny Jones was a member of that extremely small circle of musicians. Jones (who died last month at the age of 73) was a leading light of the Nashville blues scene, and he showed the young Hendrix a thing or two, as he recalls in the clip above. Jones’ first band, the Imperial Seven, had a bass player named Billy Cox, who had met Hendrix in the Army and invited his friend to sit in with the group. Cox later recorded with Hendrix on Band of Gypsys.
Jones was far better known in Europe than in the U.S. Ironically, it was a soul-styled cover version of “Purple Haze” that gave Jones his overseas calling card:
Late in life, Jones played out a good deal with his friend Doc Blakey: