Many have dreamt of recording these 2 equally talented and successful brothers together. However, only Evidence Music has been able to turn the fantasy into a reality. For 61 delirious minutes, the brothers perform 14 original soul, traditional blues, and funk songs backed by Syl's musically adept band. It is interesting to note that no songs where written jointly and Syl's 9 songs far outnumber Jimmy's 5. Overall, Syl handles more lead vocals whereas Jimmy controls more lead guitar. Although known best for their compelling guitar skills, the brothers prove to be multi-talented musicians. Additionally Syl plays harp while Jimmy lets it rip on piano/organ.
The soul/funk rhythms begin with the title track. Frank Collier's bass rumbles while Darrell Peyton's drums thunder on the song which describes why 2 Johnsons are better than 1. If the track doesn't convince you of this, the rest of the disc will. "Uncomplicated Life" advocates living the simple life. On the tune, Syl's vocals are smoky and his harmonica is sensitive. Other songs make it obvious this isn't the lifestyle the Johnsons have experienced. Jimmy has the most definitive tenor voice of the blues. He effectively uses it to tackle the soulful "I Feel The Pain" where his lead guitar is as honeyed as the song's sweet melody. "Is It Because I'm Black" is a deep soul/funk/blues which ponders a racial issue which unfortunately still exists. On it, Syl eggs Jimmy on to express pain via his tormented guitar strings. The gloomy tune segues into the far more upbeat "If I Was White". The sadness of the conveyed message from these 2 tunes is further dramatized by appearing back to back on the disc. Comic relief occurs via the hilarious lyrics of get-down groove called "Oprah". Yes, it is a tribute to Chi-town's favorite talk show host. If you love authentic Chicago blues played serious with plenty of emotional guitar, "Ashes In The Ashtray" will completely satisfy you. Here you will feel the pain in Jimmy's anguished vocals and experience misery as he summons it to the fretboard. At 66, younger sibling, Syl offers brotherly advice to Jimmy (74) on "Let Her Go". The elder doesn't listen as evidenced on "Living The Life" where he sings about living an anxious life with a no-good wife.
When it comes to blues brothers, these guys are the real deal. Syl is considered a southern R&B artist and is best known for his many soul hits on Hi Records. Jimmy is known as Chicago's most emotional and distinctive blues performer. Their songs are as greasy as they are sleek and their musicianship is stellar. Many styles of blues are represented on this historic disc which does not evenly distribute its material amongst the brothers. At a minimum, this CD is worthy of a Handy Award nomination.
For further information, contact: Evidence Music Inc., 1110 E. Hector Street, Suite 392, Conshohocken, PA 19428 USA Tel: (610) 832-0844 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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