Reviewed May 2001
by R. Thomas Marion
johnny's blues aggregation
Dallas Blues Society Records (DBS 8905)
photo by: Jeffery H. Brown
Brought to us by the Dallas Blues Society Records (who brought us Zuzu Bollin, Big Al Dupree,
and Henry Qualls) is the second album by the guitarist on all those Darrel Nulisch recordings.
He is yet another veteran in a long list of Texas axemen.
The album is built on the Texas shuffle anchored by an upright bass, drums, piano, various
vocalists, and Johnny's guitar, done live-in the studio. All the songs have that retro, late 50s
Texas rockabilly sock hop feel to them. This is fun stuff and must work very well in a small venue
environment. Johnny never indulges himself in mindless solos, but rather favors short,
well-thought out riffs to compliment the songs. He holds onto a rhythm without straying, coming
out when it is his turn, then returning to the rhythm, allowing for the other musicians to show
their chops equally. Upon my first listening I wanted to turn off the fuzz in Johnny's guitar and
drench it in reverb. It wasn't until I really listened to the whole album that it struck me that that
fuzz is the sound he is after and it would be a world-class jerk to fiddle with that (good thing I'm
not in charge).
Among the notable tunes: the first song, an obscure rockabilly nugget, "Oh Baby Oh," anchored
by rhythm guitarist and vocalist Homer Henderson. It bops and rolls like great old rock and roll
with the attending energy so tragically lost in the past 30 years of rock history. Another gem is
"Thinking," featuring Shawn Pittman's vocals and piano. This tune strolls with the roll on the
strength of the shuffle. Other tunes of note include Morris Pejoe rocker, "Let's Get High"
(pianoman Matt Farrell providing gleeful vocals); Roy Head's
grab-your-honey-for-some-belly-rubbing "Your Turn To Cry" (vocals by Homer); and Big
Maceo's fabulous blues, "Worried Life Blues" (with excellent vocals by Matt). There are two nice
instrumentals, both written by Johnny. The final cut features drummer/brother Jason on a Slim
Harpo/Frank Frost tribute on vocals. I am certain you will find your own favorites in this fine CD.
Kudos to the good folks at the DBS and thanks for bringing another good 'un to our attention.
To obtain this CD, send $15 (which includes shipping) to: Dallas Blues Society Records, POBox
190406, Dallas,Tx 75219
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