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16

SUNDAY

Born in rural Georgia, blues picker Larry Johnson moved to Harlem in 1959 at the age of 21, and spent much of the ’60s and early ’70s playing originals and covers derived not only from the standard 1930s Delta songbook but also from the ragtime and gospel picking of the Rev. Gary Davis and the stride piano of Fats Waller. Along with the fact that he was one of only a handful of young black acoustic players at the time, Johnson’s pebbles-in-the-mouth delivery and relaxed yet intricate chording combined to give him regular work on the live circuit and allowed him to release records such as the recently reissued Fast and Funky. Unhappy with the workings of the biz, Johnson subsequently gave up performing for nearly two decades. Now considered an old master, he headlines a D.C. Blues Society afternoon of “Working Blues” with Neil Harpe, Cindy Cain, David Jackson, David Harris, and Joe Harris at 1 p.m. at the Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium, 10th & Constitution Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 357-4574. (Steve Kiviat)