Syl and Jimmy Johnson
Two Johnson's Are Better Than One
by Dick Houff
Review date: November 2002
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
The Johnson Brothers put out a damn fine recording with this disc. The material is all original compositions by Syl, and Jimmy. Now, most blues fans are going to be familiar with Jimmy's work and discography: Delmark, Alligator, Verve, and Ruf Records-some classic sides with Alligator caught my attention early on. Syl, on the other hand, was a soul singer with quite a few sides recorded on the old Federal label, plus Chicago-based labels like One-derful, TMP-Ting, and Special Agent. During the early 60's it wasn't uncommon to record 45s on a string of independent record labels. Syl's first hit was in 1967: "Come On Sock It To Me." The record made it to the number 12 position on the R&B charts. Syl ran into some good luck and later, opened a chain of fish restaurants . His career lasted into the 80's (about the time he opened the chain). Many musicians tire from the repetition of playing the same songs night after night. However, I don't think Syl ever really left the business completely-this album has no rust in regards to Syl! Jimmy, on the other hand, took off in 1959, and has been busy ever since. On this record, the brothers Johnson strut their stuff-the competitiveness between the two is something to behold. What I catch, is a whole lot of love and respect for each other from the opening track: "Two Johnson's Are Better Than One," to the final track: "Bottoms Up." A five star recording and a must have for the racks.
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