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Love Walked In

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Album Review

This is the third album erstwhile vocalist Betty Johnson — who has returned to singing after a 33-year leave of absence — has released of material from her early years of performing. The album is a compilation of her work during the 1960s, and differs from other Johnson reissues in that it occasionally approaches jazz, as she turns to classic standards rather than the pop material of the day. (And some of the latter — like "The Tea in China" — even acknowledges the singer's flirtation with folk music.) Standards provide the opportunity for Johnson to be more expressive and expansive in her delivery, sometimes sounding like Lee Wiley. She takes full advantage of this opportunity with her clear soprano voice and excellent phrasing. But, like her earlier releases, Love Walked In is a bit unusual. There is a full menu of 27 tunes, but none of them last longer than two minutes! Also, the very good musicians backing her (the Metropolitan Jazz Quartet) are not identified, although we know they are from New York and that the guitarist is George Barnes, who is critical to establishing the occasional jazzy ambience. His playing meshes well with Johnson, particularly on "These Foolish Things." It's too bad we don't know who the other musicians are, since they do more than a routine job. For example, there's some excellent bass on "Blue Room" and piano on "How Long Has This Been Going on?" The group takes a couple of instrumentals, like a 53-second romp of "When You're Smiling," which features some good trombone. Small individual doses of music and the anonymity of the players notwithstanding, these vignettes of song are entertaining, making one wish they were just a little longer.


Born: 16 March 1932 in Possum Walk, NC

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '90s, '00s

Singer Betty Johnson got her start with the Johnson Family Singers, a gospel group which included Betty's parents and three brothers (lasting from 1938 throughout the '40s). The Johnson Family Singers enjoyed success down South, due to the group being broadcast daily on WBT radio in Charlotte, NC, and the CBS network. Despite several recordings for the RCA-Victor and Columbia labels (as well as an appearance at the famed Grand Old Opry), the Johnson Family Singers broke up in the '50s. Betty eventually...
Full bio
Love Walked In, Betty Johnson
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  • €8.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 06 June 2000

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