Coming out of Houston's fertile blues scene with Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland, Johnny "Guitar" Watson trod the same route to fame that his peers did in the latter half of the '50s and for most of the '60s. Unlike Collins and Copeland, though, Watson found his biggest success as a funkster in the '70s. And lest one thinks of an aging blues legend embarrassing himself aping the innovations of George Clinton and Sly Stone, Watson found a singular groove by slicking up his already urbane blues style with lots of tasty horn arrangements, plenty of fat basslines, and wah-wah-issue guitar licks. The latter element, of course, was to be expected from a virtuoso such as Watson. And whether reeling off one of his subtle solos or blending in with the band, the reborn blues star was never less than compelling. Ain't That a Bitch, from 1976, heralded Watson's new funk era with plenty of guitar treats and one of the best batch of songs he ever cooked up. The variety here is stunning, ranging from the calypso-based blues swinger "I Need It" to the quiet storm soul ballad "Since I Met You Baby." In between, Watson goes widescreen with the comic book funk of "Superman Lover" and eases into an after-hours mood on the organ-driven jazz and blues gem "I Want to Ta-Ta You Baby." Besides the fine Watson roundups on the Rhino and Charly labels, Ain't That a Bitch works beautifully as a first-disc choice for newcomers, especially those who want to hear the '70s funk material.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook