When my dad went overseas with the Air Force because of the Vietnam war, my mother, brother and I moved in with my grandparents, Pop Pop and Nana, for a year in St. Clair, Pa. It's a small coal town, one mile long and a half mile wide, that sits next to Pottsville, home of what's now the country's oldest brewery, Yuengling.
I already had an interest in music, but my love of it kind of blossomed listening to that collection. Some of the songs were big band numbers, some were classic crooners, and some were downright corny, like The Hoosier Hot Shots performing "The Pants That My Pappy Gave To Me," about a pair of pants that lived through buckshot in the butt, numerous weddings and plenty more while they were being handed down through generations of males in a backwoods country family.
And more than a few of them would be non-PC because of their sexual innuendo which I, as a young boy, was completely oblivious to. I just liked the melodies, the rhymes, and the "feel" of them. I had no idea you could say something that would mean two things at the same time.
Blind Willie Jackson was a country/blues singer who recorded in the 1930's. He worked mostly in the midwest and had a couple of songs that were considered regional hits, including this one. Although almost completely forgotten now, (I couldn't find a single image on-line anywhere!) Blind Willie was well known then for playing a guitar made by the Johnson Music Company in Chicago, IL, which is where the double meaning comes in.
I remember that he was pictured with it sitting on a porch on the sleeve of the record, because it was the only 78 in the entire collection that had a picture. The Johnson Music Company went out of business sometime in the late 40's, and although Johnson Guitars exists today, it's a completely different company.
Here's the refrain:
I'm, sittin' on the davenport playin' with my johnson
Ain't nothing' more that this poor boy can do
I'm, sittin' on the davenport just diddlin' my johnson
'Cuz you're gone and all I have are thoughts of you
And man could that guy diddle that guitar! The solo break in the middle was inspiring. When I got a little older and finally understood the other thing Willie was doing with his "johnson" on the davenport I realized why he may have been blind. (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)
I still sing it around the house, much to my wife's chagrin! Anyway, when a band name was needed, "Davenport Johnson" was one of the first things that popped into my head.