I love music but I’m one of the most unmusical people on earth. It’s like loving to hear the French language but not being able to speak it. I love music but I have no fluency. Over the years, however, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness some of the best. Back in 2010 at the Wheeling Heritage Blues Festival I was first exposed to James “Super Chikan” Johnson and his band, The Fighting Cocks.” The Chikan may have been playing the first homemade guitar I ever witnessed, a real double-edged axe made into a playable guitar.
Since then I’ve became increasingly aware of such instruments and built several dozen of my own. I’ve come to learn that in the right hands music can be found in almost anything that resonates. Chikan Johnson, I now know, is famous for playing his own creations ranging from a single-string kitchen broom to a solid-body six-string with a body shaped like a chicken’s head.
This evening I was prowling around the Internet and came across a video of Super Chikan doing a number at the Wheeling festival and I just have to share it with you. I’m sure this was shot by someone in the audience but it’s still very enjoyable.
By the way, Johnson is from Clarksdale, MS and while there in June of this year I visited a music shop and found several of his creations on sale. Needless to say, they command a much greater price than mine.