Thursday, April 22, 2010
Junior WATSON - Long Overdue 1994
Recorded at Sunburst Studios, Culver City, CA
October 1987, March and October 1992
With nearly thirty years of experience, Junior Watson has reached cult status. Junior has done what all great artists have done: melting diverse styles to create a style all his own. With influences as diverse as Tiny Grimes, Oscar Moore, Bill Jennings, Rene Hall, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Jimmy Rogers, Eddie Taylor, Guitar Slim, Earl Hooker and others he has truly created one of the most unique and original guitar voices to come along in years. Besides his mastery of blues and swing he often adds his own cartoon-like twist to everything he plays. You'll never know what he will do and when asked he doesn't know himself. His energy and playing gives you a feeling of reckless abandonment. As he was once quoted "like a train off the tracks".
His artist resume is as large as it is impressive. A founding member of The Mighty Flyers he stayed with the band for ten years. He then left to join Canned Heat for ten years. He then toured for a while with LA-based harmonica player/vocalist Lynwood Slim. All along the way he has backed up and recorded with the who's-who of the blues. His list of musical endeavors include backing up and recording with Big Mama Thorton, George Smith, Jimmy Rogers, Shakey Jake, Luther Tucker, Charlie Musselwhite, Kim Wilson, William Clark and there's more. Suffice to say the list is very extensive.
In the past Junior has always been the sideman or featured artist. For the first time in his career he has a band that is taking the back seat and having Junior do all the driving. For the first time you can hear this amazing, original artist wail all night long. This fact alone is exciting and when unleashed, Junior will prove to the rest of the blues community what his cult status is all about.
Despite playing the role of perrenial sideman, often in fine bands that left much to be desired in the visibility department, Mike "Junior" Watson was, and is, one of the most influential blues guitarists of his generation. In fact, following Robben Ford's defection into fusion, Watson was rivaled only by Hollywood Fats as king of the hill in California and only by Jimmie Vaughan anywhere else. While he and Vaughan have radically different approaches, Watson's arch-top-cheapo-through-reverb-tank sound has much in common with Hollywood Fats', as does his ability to nail seemingly every traditional electric blues style. But whereas Fats was a master of mimckry, Watson has a spontaneous, original bent laced with his oddball sense of humor. After starting out with harpist Gary Smith in northern California in the early '70s, he teamed with Rod Piazza's Mighty Flyers (née Flying Sauce Band) for 11 years, where he was instrumental in injecting the Chicago-styled blues band (and countless others in its wake) with ample doses of swing, culling licks from guitarists Bill Jennings, Tiny Grimes, and Billy Butler. Along the way he gigged with Charlie Musselwhite, Jimmy Rogers, Luther Tucker and others, eventually joining the '80s edition of Canned Heat, with whom he continued to tour until the late '90s.
Giving jump blues and early R&B a kick in its baggy pants, Watson's aptly-titled solo debut revealed what only guitarists (the more conscientious of them) had known for more than a decade: Here is a 6-stringer of rare talent, with the unique ability to play authentically and spontaneously -- all-too-often contradictory paths in the late '70s blues revival. The best and most fitting compliment one could give a Watson solo is that it makes you laugh; this is blues of the rent party variety and Watson never lapses into the maudlin. Along with singers Brenda Burns and Lynwood Slim (on harp as well), Watson favors us with half a dozen surprisingly confident vocals. In fact, the only criticism is that his voice is sometimes too low in the mix.
By Dan Forte, All Music Guide.
Bill Stuve Bass
Jeff Big Dad Turmes- Sax (Baritone)
Junior Watson- Guitar, Vocals
John "Juke" Logan- Organ (Hammond)
Brenda Burns- Vocals
Lynwood Slim- Harmonica, Vocals
Richard Duran- Vocals (Background)
Victor Gutierez- Vocals (Background)
Rich Holmstom- Vocals (Background)
Larry Taylor- Bass
Jimi Bott- Drums
Tom Fabre- Saxophone
Rick Holmstrom- Vocals (Background), Guitar
Richard Innes- Drums
Fred Kaplan Piano, Organ (Hammond)
01. Certainly All 2:40
02. Lonesome Train 4:32
03. Biscuits 4:17
04. Frankie and Johnny 5:05
05. Mojo Boogie 5:15
06. That's What You Are To Me 2:38
07. The Woodpecker 3:28
08. Want Me Some Love 4:40
09. Big Boy 3:55
10. Long Time Baby 2:20
11. Special Lesson #1 3:06
12. The Long Letters 4:12
13. Cool Evening 2:26
14. I Gotta Go (Back Home) 2:08
15. Lump In My Throat 5:20
16. The Train 2:54
17. Don't Leave Me Baby (The Easy Livin' Plan) 3:45