“Gangster of love“, some twenty years after the original version. Do listen to the delicious intro, with nods to the Coasters‘ “The Shadow knows” and “Riot in cell block no. 9“ … (and did I recognise a “Limehouse blues” too?) – a sublime performance by Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson & his band from 1977, recorded in Bremen (Germany). A well documented best of JGW’s early work has just been reissued on HooDoo (who still have no functioning website) as “Space Guitar Master (The 1952-1960 Recordings)” (2011, cat. no. 263397). Freaks note: the man was an important influence on Frank Zappa, and Jimi Hendrix dug “Love bandit” aka “Gangster of love” too; like the Cadets, he recorded a version …
Tag Archives: Watson Johnny ‘Guitar’
Soulmusic.com Records (as distributed by Cherry Red) aren’t just releasing expanded editions of albums by George Duke or Harvey Mason – see earlier posts – but also manufacture reissues of fine funky stuff by Barbara Ann aka Bobbi Humphrey, Loose Ends, Mtume, Roy Ayers and many more … “New Face Deli” (1986, here without the tedious intro) features William “Bootsy” Collins (who cowrote the song with James Mtume) while “Home-made jam” (1978) strongly reminds of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “A real mother for ya“, no?
Johnny Otis (of Greek descent, born Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes) is one of those rhythm ‘n’ blues heroes that played an important role, was an esteemed player in his own time … but who has remained an R’n’B pioneer that never made it to megastardom, nor was he to have a second career hit like Johnny “Guitar” Watson or others had … Still, just read those first couple of lines of this wiki, and you’ll see he’s worth your listening attention … e.g. via this Ace cd. Image source: “the Dreamers visit Johnny Otis in 1954“ via the Doo-Wop Society of Southern California.