During the late 1970s and early 1980s, John Watkins stood out as one of Chicago’s most promising young blues guitarists and singers. He grew up in the shadow of the famed Theresa’s Lounge on the South Side. In 1973, still in his early 20s, he grabbed a gig as Willie Dixon’s guitarist, holding the post for seven years before joining James Cotton for a year and a half. After another stint with Dixon, John joined his uncle Jimmy Johnson’s group, and they stayed together for two years. John’s crisp, clean guitar work and soaring, soul-drenched vocals were showcased on his debut LP, Here I Am, cut for the French Blue Phoenix label during a 1984 tour. His American recording debut was “Chained To Your Love,” a track on Alligator’s The New Bluebloods compilation, which remains his only U.S. release.
In the late 1980s, John moved to Detroit where he played locally before putting down his guitar and taking a day job.