Johnny “Guitar” Watson
I had heard an interview with him (I think on an NPR station) and he said that when he received his first guitar, it was on a promise that he wouldn’t fall victim to playing “the devil’s music”. He immediately broke his promise.
Before George Clinton started dressing up, Johnny did it first, getting all pimped up with wild sunglasses, a gold tooth and fly suits. He was a hipper looking pimp than Huggy Bear.
But, nothing overshadowed his effortless shape-shifting ability to play in any era and not only survive and thrive, but to lead the charge.
He just barely managed to scrape and claw his way into the R&B charts with this cut in 1962. Passionate, raw, even with the violins holding the reins, Johnny is resolute in his determined to get a chance to get a turn. It was this type of performance (and I can easily imagine this going over in an even bigger way unrestrained in front of an enthusiastic audience) in which he easily outdistanced himself, or should I say, he rather individualized and further distinguished himself from the other leading blues men who were mighty giants in the field in the early sixties.
A Real Mother For Ya
Persistent in its arrogant groove, and impossible not to nod to, this cut boosted his reputation to the stratosphere and helped to swell even further the fever for all that is Johnny. I can’t help but remember that when this came out, it knew no boundaries of where it would be heard. Based on the feel alone, this was played without judgment in dance halls, at discos, in damp cellar taverns, at drunken longhaired ‘raves’ deep in the thick woods, at neighborhood barbecues and at rock concert venues to whip the crowd up.
I’m happy to announce that it doesn’t get much better than this.