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Johnny Otis

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Album Review

This release catches Johnny Otis just as he made the switch from big band jazz-styled pieces to the pivotal R&B-based sound that would carry him into the rock & roll years. Everything here is from his first year with Savoy Records, but unfortunately doesn't include his biggest hits from that year with the label ("Double Crossing Blues," "Mistrustin' Blues," "Cupid's Boogie"). While this is an extremely satisfying disc, those omissions (each went to number one on the R&B charts) make this a poor choice for a first glimpse at this versatile and innovative musician.


Born: 28 December 1921 in Vallejo, CA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Johnny Otis modeled an amazing number of contrasting musical hats over a career spanning more than half a century. Bandleader, record producer, talent scout, label owner, nightclub impresario, disc jockey, TV variety show host, author, R&B pioneer, rock & roll star — Otis answered to all those descriptions and quite a few more. Not bad...
Full bio
1949-1950, Johnny Otis
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