Johnny Otis

Cold Shot!/Snatch and the Poontangs

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Two 1969 albums by Otis and his band are combined onto one CD here, though the second of the pair was credited to Snatch and the Poontangs. Though Cold Shot, credited to the Johnny Otis Show, wasn't much different from the straightforward R&B he'd been doing for years, it did have some updated rock, soul, and funk influences, due in large part to the presence of his teenage guitarist son, Shuggie Otis. The band is tight and the vocals OK, but it's on the ordinary side as far as such music goes, even if the stew of blues, soul, and funk is reasonably solid. Well, it's not wholly ordinary: "The Signifyin' Monkey Part 1" has some daringly profane language for 1969, with the word "motherf*cker" cropping up in the very first line and a drawling spoken delivery that anticipated rap. This track's approach, particularly in its lewd language, would be amplified on the Otis album credited to Snatch and the Poontangs the same year, Snatch and the Poontangs. You didn't think that a band with a name like Snatch and the Poontangs was likely to do much touring and get much airplay, did you? The record couldn't have gotten much airplay either, filled to the gills as it was with profane and sexually explicit language. In that sense, it was something of a groundbreaker, with extemporizing as blunt and filthy as almost any to be heard on rap records several decades later. The language was barrier-busting (or should we say ball-busting), much more so than the somewhat faceless blues-soul backup music. Otis did have the wit to rework his "Willie and the Hand Jive" hit as "Hey Shine" (with suitably no-holds-barred lyrics), and the spoken narrative "Two Time Slim," set against lonesome blues guitar, is a little more inventive in its delivery and musical track than much of its surroundings. The wordless "Two Girls in Love (With Each Other)," with its orgiastic female moans and improvised jazz-blues licks faintly in the background, also sticks out for the relative difference in its construction. The CD adds two previously unreleased Snatch and the Poontangs tracks, both of them consistent with the approach purveyed on most of the Snatch and the Poontangs album, though neither is special.

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