Little Johnny Taylor - Open House At My House (Funk-Blues US 1973)

Minggu, 28 Oktober 2012

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Bitrate: 256
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Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Some folks still get them mixed up, so to get it straight from the outset, Little Johnny Taylor was best known for his scorching slow blues smashes "Part Time Love" (for Bay Area-based Galaxy Records in 1963) and 1971's "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" for Ronn Records in Shreveport, LA. This Johnny Taylor was definitely not the suave Sam Cooke protege who blitzed the charts with "Who's Making Love" for Stax in 1968; that's Johnnie Taylor, who added to the confusion by covering "Part Time Love" for Stax. Another similarity between the two Taylors: both hailed from strong gospel backgrounds.

Little Johnny came to Los Angeles in 1950 and did a stint with the Mighty Clouds of Joy before going secular. Influenced by Little Willie John, he debuted as an R&B artist with a pair of 45s for Hunter Hancock's Swingin' logo, but his career didn't soar until he inked a pact with Fantasy's Galaxy subsidiary in 1963 (where he benefited from crisp production by Cliff Goldsmith and Ray Shanklin's arrangements).

The gliding mid-tempo blues "You'll Need Another Favor," firmly in a Bobby Bland mode, was Taylor's first chart item. He followed it up with the tortured R&B chart-topper "Part Time Love," which found him testifying in gospel-fired style over Arthur Wright's biting guitar and a grinding, horn-leavened downbeat groove. The singer also did fairly well with "Since I Found a New Love" in 1964 and "Zig Zag Lightning" in 1966.

Taylor's tenure at Stan Lewis' Ronn imprint elicited the slow blues smash "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" in 1971, and a similarly witty hit follow-up, "Open House at My House," the next year (both were covered later by Z.Z. Hill for Malaco). While at Ronn, Little Johnny cut some duets with yet another Taylor, this one named Ted (no, they weren't related either). Though he recorded only sparingly during the 1980s and 1990s, he remained an active performer until his death in 2002.

Issued in 1973, Open House at My House had Little Johnny Taylor recording for Stan Lewis' Ronn Records out of Shreveport, LA, after a long tint with Galaxy Records. Interestingly, Johnnie Taylor, the hitmaking soul singer whose name was close -- too close for comfort -- also recorded for Galaxy at the same time. Little Johnny's set here digs far deeper into the blues than his earlier records had. He was an R&B shouter, pure and true in his earlier days, but the producers at Ronn knew he needed a makeover if he was to get another shot at the charts after a couple of singles he recorded for the label in Los Angeles and at Muscle Shoals never broke the Top 40. 

Songwriter and producer Bobby Patterson, along with engineer Jerry Strickland, brought it home to Shreveport and the resulting title track -- recorded in two parts and covering both sides of a 45, hit number 16. Five other tracks from this bluesy set were issued as single A-sides as well. These were all penned by Patterson and Strickland. Four other cuts on the set were recorded in Los Angeles. There is remarkable material here, including the steamy and funky ballad "I'll Make It Worth Your While," which resembles B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone" more than a little. But it hardly matters; its slow, sultry groove powered by a B-3, strings, and horns features a killer opening alto sax break to introduce the vibe a full 12 bars before Taylor even sings a word. The rest of the album is a bit more unhinged in a modern blues manner with the Southern soul thing kicking it in the background. Of the later work that Taylor did, Open House at My House is the high point. 

  01.  Open House at My House, Pt. 1 Patterson, Strickland 2:40 
  02.  You're Not the Only One Baby(That's Got Someone Across Town) Patterson, Strickland 2:47 
  03.  My Special Rose Taylor 3:30 
  04.  A Thousand Miles Away Taylor 3:05 
  05.  I Can't Stop Loving You Taylor 2:30 
  06.  What Would I Do (Without You) Lewis 2:55 
  07.  Open House at My House, Pt. 2 Patterson, Strickland 3:51 
  08.  You're Savin' Your Best Loving for Me Patterson, Strickland 3:19 
  09.  As Long as I Don't See You Patterson, Strickland 3:37 
  10.  Strange Bed with a Bad Head Patterson, Strickland 3:21 
  11.  I'll Make It Worth Your While Patterson, Strickland 2:59 

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