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Johnny 'Guitar' Watson: North Sea Jazz 1993

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Album Review

This intriguing and bizarre album was originally released in 1981, and features Johnny "Guitar" Watson playing all the instruments and singing all the vocal parts. The end result has a surprisingly contemporary 21st century feel, and sounds a bit like Shuggie Otis' similarly lost-solo sessions from a decade earlier, mixing hard blues, jazz, soul and touches of funk into a fascinating hybrid that is remarkably fluid and light on its feet. The whole album is of a piece, but some obvious highlights include "Family Clone," "Ain't Movin'," "Voodoo What You Do," and some mind-blowing vocoder guitar on "Come Dance with Me." Not quite a great lost classic, but it comes pretty darn close. [Also released with bonus tracks.]

Biography

Born: 03 February 1935 in Houston, TX

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

"Reinvention" could just as easily have been Johnny "Guitar" Watson's middle name. The multi-talented performer parlayed his stunning guitar skills into a vaunted reputation as one of the hottest blues axemen on the West Coast during the 1950s. But that admirable trait wasn't paying the bills as the 1970s rolled in. So he totally changed his image to that of a pimp-styled funkster,...
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