Spider John Koerner Two Photos

On the passing of Spider John Koerner

22 May 2024

I’m heartbroken at the loss of one of my dearest friends, Spider John Koerner, who passed away last Saturday at 85 in Minneapolis, surrounded by his family.   

We’ve been close friends since we met in ‘69, hung out in Cambridge in the early 70’s and in all the decades since. John, along with Snaker Dave Ray and Tony Little Sun Glover, comprised one of the greatest and most influential blues groups from the mid-Sixties. From the first time I heard their seminal ‘Blues, Rags and Hollers’ album, I’ve been completely under his spell. 

He was funny, talented, mischievous, always curious —loved life, good music, watching stars and a high time with friends. Between his incredibly unique, funky, rhythmic guitar playing and singing, his great original songs and the hilarious, long-winding stories he’d weave into his sets, there was simply no one like him. 

Through their terrific album together, ‘Running, Jumping, Standing Still,’ I met Willie Murphy, who went on to produce my first album and record one of my favorite song of John’s, “I Ain’t Blue.“

We got to enjoy a lifetime of fun, great music and meaning. John will be remembered as one of the most beloved and important revivalists of the great folk and blues song tradition. 

My deep condolences to his family and we will remember and treasure him and his wonderful music always.

— Bonnie



One of my faves of John’s originals, from his first album with Dave Ray and Tony Glover, 1963‘s  Blues, Rags and Hollers.
“Creepy John” https://youtu.be/C91OMLB36I8

Another great original from one of my favorite albums ever—Running, Jumping, Standing by Still, recorded with Willie Murphy and  released in 1969.
“Running Jumping Standing Still” https://youtu.be/lK8Xry9I-1k

And here’s my version of John’s beautiful “I Ain’t Blue,” from my first album 1971.  Produced by Willie Murphy 
“I Ain’t Blue” https://youtu.be/YsELUACBg8s

Photo Courtesy of Treehouse Records (top); Photo Courtesy of Red House Records (bottom)

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