The 70s Japanese tours of Otis Rush, Jimmy Dawkins, Eddie Taylor and others created a small but intense Japanese blues following that today bursts over with talent three generations and forty years later.  Delmark Records presents No Border Blues, the first-ever American compilation of the underground Japanese blues scene.  Here are twelve of the best Japanese bluesmen and women today you should know about, with musical contributions by Johnny Burgin and production by Stephanie Tice.

Recorded 5.5.19 at Fukada Studios, Osaka and 9.20.19, Riverside Studios, Chicago.

Vocals: Johnny Burgin, Lee Kanehira, Kotez, Nacomi Tanaka, Kaz Nogio, Iper Onishi.  Guitar:  Johnny Burgin, Yoshi Mizumo, Nacomi Tanaka, Minoru Maruyama.  Piano: Lee Kanehira.  Harmonica:  Kotez, Kaz Nogio, Iper Onishi.  Drums: Takigiman, Ataka Suzuki, Fumiko Maejima, Stephen Dougherty.  Bass: Yoshimi Hirata, Hironori “Zee” Yanaga, Chris Matheos.

A week after No Border Blues’s official release, it hit  #1 on the Oregon Roots Music Report, #1 on the Chicago Blues Roots Music Report, and #8 on the Top 50 Blues Albums Roots Music Report.  It hit #5 on the Living Blues radio chart.


No Border Blues is gloriously loose, earthy, and immediate Chicago Blues… stellar fretwork.  Vintage Guitar

Man these cats wail!  And this is as underground as a scene gets.  Mike Greenblatt, Goldmine, Click here for full review.

No Border Blues is a powerful collection by a master which shows how this iconic American genre transcends borders, culture and languageBill Turck, WCGO AM

No Border Blues is a great effort to expand the reach of Chicago blues globally; it’s a first but let’s hope not the last of these kinds of recordings to showcase Chicago’s greatest musical gift to the world. Greg Easterling, host of the “American Backroads” and writer for Chicago Blues Guide.  Click here for full review.

   Steve Ovadia, Blues Rock Revue.  Click here for the full review.

Johnny Burgin Live


Release Date: August 2019, Delmark records.

Download the single ft Charlie Musselwhite, “California Blues”!

Johnny Burgin: guitar, vocals
Kid Andersen: guitar, piano
Steve Dougherty: drums
Aki Kumar: harp
Chris Matheos: bass
with Special Guests
Rae Gordon: vocals
Charlie Musselwhite: harp
Nancy Wright: sax

“Raw, fresh and full of energy!”  Freddy Cellis, Rootstime (Belgium)

 “Burgin’s clean, reverb-soaked guitar licks recall Magic Sam, while his vocals sound breezy and effortless.   It takes a special talent to generously share the spotlight and bring out the best in a star-studded cast of musicians. Burgin and his friends clearly had a great time on stage, and that makes Johnny Burgin Live a joyous listen.”  Jon Kleinman, Living Blues 

“A master  of controlled chaos, Johnny has the great ability and chops to take it to the edge and bring it right back home.  Johnny Burgin Live is an excellent live snapshot, a great inducement to catch these folks in person.”  Bob Monteleone, Big City Blues.

Now available on LP!  “Johnny Burgin Live” was nominated for a Blues Blast Award for Best Live Blues Recording of the year.  It debuted at #3 on the Living Blues blues radio chart last October and hit #1 on the Roots Music Report Chicago Blues Chart in November of 2019.  It was at #1 or #2 on the Oregon Top 50 Roots Music Report Album chart from November to February.   It offers twelve brand-new originals and two covers performed by Johnny’s regular road band and augmented by the cream of the crop of West Coast blues talent.   The band had just one night to nail it – which made this recording a crazy, but thrilling, high wire act! Johnny drew from the great Bay Area blues talent pool that lured him to the West Coast back in 2016. Blues legend Charlie Musselwhite’s driving boogie-woogie harp on California Blues is an absolute highlight.  You could feel a jolt of electricity run through the crowd when Portland, Oregon-based Rae Gordon took the stage.  The end result is a raw, fresh, and original all-star set of blues, shot through with live energy.  Recorded 1.5.19 at Redwood Cafe, Cotati, CA.

Click here for a rave review from the Cascade Blues Assocation.  Click here for a recent review from Blues Power Blog.


Released February 22, 2019 on Vizztone Label Group

Johnny Burgin: Gtr, Vc
Quique Gomez: Harmonica, Vc
w Spec guests Greg Izor, harmonica, Josh Fulero, Gtr.
Christian Dozzler: piano, accordion
Eric Przygocki, David Salvador Fructuoso: Bass
Stephen Dougherty, Pablo Barez del Cueto: Drums

WANTED! Guitarist and singer Rockin’ Johnny Burgin hangs his fedora in the Portland territory, and harpman and singer Quiqué Gomez hails from Madrid, Spain. Together and separately they have ridden many a dusty trail with some of the last of the great Chicago bluesmen.  Today they are the feared gunslingers of the international blues scene.  In the winter of 2018 they partnered up, galloped through the Western Territories, and took dead aim on twelve originals and two blues classics. Quique Gomez is a versatile jazz-influenced blues singer who also sings Frank Sinatra songs with a Spanish Big Band.  This CD was recorded in Toledo, Spain and Austin, TX, and mixed and mastered at Greaseland Studios in San Jose, CA.  Ft special guests Greg Izor and Josh Fulero.  Cover art by New Mexico Folk Artist JD Sipe.

Click here for a full review in Chicago Blues Guide.
Click here for a  full review in Blues Junction.

“There’s pure Blues in every note– the Blues is in very good hands with this release!”
-Bill Bowker
KRSH/Santa Rosa, CA/XRDS.fm/Clarksdale, Ms

“Pure entertainment that really delivers, this is blues for good times by a pair of daddies that love their work. Delightfully hot stuff.”                                   –Chris Spector, Midwest Record




Released 2017

Rockin Johnny Burgin: guitar, vocal, harmonica
Aki Kumar: harmonica, vocals
Alabama Mike: guest vocals
Kid Andersen: guitar, piano, electric piano, bass
Nancy Wright: sax
Bob Welsh: guitar, piano
Vance Ehlers, Chris Matheos: bass
Stephen Dougherty, June Core: drums
Steve Willis: accordion
Billy Wilson: rub board

Neoprene Fedora chronicles Rockin’ Johnny Burgin’s move to California from Chicago. This time around he’s written 11 songs from surf to zydeco to gut-bucket blues to plain old PARTY!  The combination of his Chicago-based styles with some of the best musicians of the popping South Bay scene is intoxicating.  Neoprene Fedora shows an artist at the height of his powers as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist.

Neoprene Fedora embraces the entire blues tradition with a multitude of sounds.”
-Aaron Cohen, senior contributor, Downbeat

Burgin generates real excitement.. Neoprene Fedora is deep, it’s tough, and it’s clearly aware of tradition even as it slyly bends the rules.  I keep going back to it!” Tom Hyslop, Contributing Editor, Blues Music Magazine

The bay area blues tribe recently gathered yet again in San Jose at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in support of guitarist and vocalist Rockin’ Johnny Burgin.  The opening title track sets the tone, as this seven-minute instrumental includes a variety of sounds that coalesces under the general vibe of Gidget being banged by Quenten Tarantino.  Everything is thrown into this ambitious ocean of ideas.   It is a wide-ranging affair that is just spectacular.  Burgin and company demonstrate that original tunes can mix with a wide variety of blues dialects.  On Neoprene Fedora, the contemporary and tradition drink out of the same glass. This CD receives my highest recommendation. – David Mac, BLUES JUNCTION Productions.com



BUY NOW download from amazon.
BUY NOW  download from bandcamp.
BUY NOW  for CD copy.

Released 2015, West Tone records.

It was time to change it up– I’d never recorded with any of the band before, much less in California!    So the cover is an aerial view of San Jose, the house that Greaseland studio resides in is visible in the photo.   I’d just gotten off a month long Japanese tour and my spirits were sky-high.  I did this recording in five hours– we just banged out my most successful band tunes and a couple I’d written in the last two days.  Then we all went to a fabulous Indian restaurant.   This CD remains a fan favorite.

Kid Andersen, guitar, organ
Aki Kumar, harp
Vance Ehlers, bass
June Core, drums

“Johnny has that raw looseness on guitar that is so lost from blues recordings today. If there is a more exciting “real blues” guitar player on the planet today, tell me who it is! (Buddy Guy excepted) This is a must-hear release!”
–Bman’s Blues Report
Click here to read full review.

“Burgin has become a shoot-from-the-hip guitarist who knows his material very well. And he likes to play loose, stretch it out, push the limits, and get a little wild.”
–Justin O’Brien, Living Blues Magazine
Click here to read full review.


Released 2012 Delmark 820

with:                                                                                                                                                                                                        Big D (Davin Erickson), harmonica                                                                                                                                                  Stephen Bass, drums
John Sefner, bass
Rick Kreher, guitar


“Rockin’ Johnny’s triumph is that he sounds different, his voice adding vulnerability and fragility to a genre that’s about facing woe with bold ruggedness.”
–Roctober Magazine


Released 2010, this was my comeback CD after many years away from the music scene.

Rob Lorenz, drums
John Sefner, bass
Greg Sefner, organ
Rick Kreher, guitar

“Burgin’s West Side influenced guitar playing and his vocals have matured and are now at a level that should earn respect from all blues fans. This recording displays soul and sensitivity.”
-Chicago Blues Guide, Eric Shelkpopf




Released 2000 Marquis Records
Recorded Aug 30-31, 2000 at BLUES on Halsted

Sho Komiya, bass
Rick Kreher, guitar
Kenny Smith, drums
Billy Flynn, guitar
Eddie Shaw, sax

“Overall this release is a great success and captures a working band in full flight.”
–Phil Wight, Blues and Rhythm 160, (UK)


Released 1999 Delmark 732

Martin Lang, harp
Sho Komiya, bass
Rick Kreher, guitar
Kenny Smith, drums

“The Rockin Johnny Band are one of the hardest working bands around, and can usually be found plying their trade in the Chicago clubs several nights a week. “Man’s Temptation” shows that RJB are more than capable of rocking up a storm.”
–Gordon Baxter, Blues on Stage


Released 1998 Delmark 720

Featuring: Robert Plunkett (drummer/singer with Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James), Taildragger, and Sam Lay (drummer/singer with Paul Butterfield, Bob Dylan and Howlin’ Wolf) with Kenny Smith, dr, Martin Lane, harp, Rick Kreher, gtr, Illinois Slim, gtr, Sho Komiya, bass, Willie Young, sax

“Burgin’s guitar playing, on the other hand, is mature way beyond his years, a precocious assimilation of the vernacular of Chicago blues circa 1963. He and his band show a great sensitivity to the subtleties of Chicago blues and are making their mark as some of the best of the young players in town.”  Jack Oudiz, Blues Access


  • Mike Bourne Band, Cruisin Kansas City, Blue Heart Records, 06/23
  • Johnny Sansone, Into Your Blues, May 2022
  • Tony Holiday: Porch Sessions Volume Two, NOLA Blue, 2021
  • Ilana Katz Katz: In My Mind, 2021
  • Johnny Burgin Ft Anson Funderburgh: Cherry On Top Digital Single, Delmark, 2021
  • Red’s Blues:  Broke Down in the Fast Lane, 2020
  • Henry Gray and Bob Corritore Sessions Volume 2: Cold Chills, Vizztone, 2020
  • Various Artists with Johnny Burgin: No Border Blues Japan, Delmark, 2020
  • Liz Mandeville: Playing With Fire, 2020
  • Johnny Burgin  (ft Rae Gordon, Charlie Musselwhite and Nancy Wright): Johnny Burgin Live, Delmark, 2019– Blues Blast Award Nominee for Best Live Blues Recording of the Year.  Available on Vinyl!
  • Rockin’ Johnny and Quique Gomez: Dos Hombres Wanted, 2019, Vizztone
  • Tony Holiday: Porch Sessions, 2019, Vizztone
  • Sugar Brown: It’s a Blues World, 2018
  • Aki Kumar: Hindi Man Blues, Little Village Foundation, 2018
  • Bob Corritore: Don’t Let the Devil Ride, Vizztone, 2018
  • Mary Lane, Milwaukee Slim, Little Jerry Jones, Mike Mettalia: Chicago/The Blues Legends/Today, West Tone, 2018  :”Chicago/The Blues Legends/Today  is one of the best compilations of current Chicago blues to hit the scene.  What this outstanding album says to blues fans is that the Chicago blues scene continues to  be vital and authentic.  Sam Charters would be proud of this effort.”  Tom Mazzolini, KPFA, Berkeley CA.  BUY NOW
  • Various Artists:  Howlin’ at Greaseland – a tribute to Howlin’ Wolf- West Tone; Sept 2017, nominated for a BMA (Blues Music Award) for Best Traditional Blues CD of 2017 BUY NOW
  • Rockin’ Johnny Burgin: Neoprene Fedora – West Tone; 2017 w Kid Andersen, Alabama Mike, Nancy Wright, and Aki Kumar
  • Rockin’ Johnny Burgin: Greetings From Greaseland – West Tone; 2015 w Kid Andersen and Aki Kumar
  • Peter Struijk: Straight Blues– Blueshine Records (Netherlands), 2015
  • Martin Lang: Chicago Harp Sessions – Random Chance; 2015 w Billy Flynn
  • Willie Buck: Cell Phone Man – Delmark; 2013
  • Rockin’ Johnny Band: Grim Reaper –  Delmark; 2012
  • Rockin’ Johnny Band: Now’s the Time –  5105 Music; 2010
  • Tail Dragger: Live at Roosters DVD –  Delmark; 2010 ft Jimmy Dawkins
  • Jimmy Lee Robinson: Chicago Jump – Random Chance; 2004
  • Shirley Johnson: Killer Diller – Delmark; 2002
  • The Mighty Blue Kings: Live in the City – 2001
  • Rockin’ Johnny Band: More Real Folk Blues – 2000 ft Eddie Shaw
  • Eddie Taylor Jr.: Worried About My Baby – Wolf; 2000
  • Paul DeLay: DeLay Does Chicago – Evidence; 1999 ft Jimmy Dawkins and Zora Young
  • Little Arthur Duncan: Singin’ With the Sun – Delmark; 1999
  • Taildragger: American People – Delmark; 1999 ft Billy Branch
  • Paul Jones, Andre Williams: Rockin After Midnight – St. George; 1998
  • Rockin’ Johnny Band: Man’s Temptation – Delmark; 1998
  • Little Arthur Duncan: Rib Tips Live – Random Chance; 1997
  • Rockin’ Johnny Band: Straight Out of Chicago – Delmark; 1997 ft Taildragger, Sam Lay, and Robert Plunkett
  • Blues Before Sunrise: Billy Boy Arnold, Big Wheeler, Jimmy Burns –  Delmark; 1997
  • Jimmy Burns: Leavin’ Here Walkin’ – Delmark; 1996
  • The Black Lone Ranger: Truth Unmasked — 1996 45 vinyl
  • Taildragger: Crawlin’ King Snake – St. George; 1995
  • Jimmy Lee Robinson: Lonely Traveler – Delmark; 1993
  • Big Wheeler: Wheeler’s Bone Orchard – Delmark; 1992