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Long John Hunter passes away at 84

Billy Gibbons pays tribute to Texas bluesman, remembered for high-energy live shows

Texas electric blues guitarist Long John Hunter has died at the age of 84, his former label have announced.

Alligator Records say he’ll be remembered for “single-note solos and melodic, drawling vocals” and that he leaves a legacy of seven solo albums and a number of successful singles.

ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, a long-time fan, tells the El Paso Times: “He was El Paso and Juarez’s gift to the blues. I fondly remember listening to his El Paso Rock when I was a kid. It didn’t get more Texas border boogie than that.”

Born John Thurman Hunter Jr in Arkansas in 1931, he moved to Texas two decades later and bought his first guitar after seeing B.B. King play. His first single, She Used To Be My Woman, was released in 1953, with his biggest success being 1961’s El Paso Rock.

Hunter developed a reputation for high-energy live performances that saw him swinging from venue rafters while continuing to play guitar with one hand. He was an associate of James Brown, Buddy Holly and Etta James, among others.

He didn’t release his first solo album, Texas Border Town Blues, until 1988. His most recent LP was 2009’s Looking For A Party.

Hunter passed away in his sleep at home in Arizona. No cause of death has been reported.

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