The Brothers Johnson

Blam!! Radio Special

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Die-hard collectors love to search for promotional interview albums, which labels send out to the media but don't sell to the general public. In 1978, one such item was Blam!! Radio Special, an LP that A&M used to promote the Brothers Johnson's third album, Blam!! This record was never released commercially, and A&M sent it out to radio stations in the hope that they would play it on the air. The LP's narrator is Jim Maddox, a radio heavyweight who was general manager of KMJQ in Houston at the time. Between snippets of material from 1976's Look Out for #1, 1977's Right on Time, and 1978's Blam!!, George and Lewis Johnson discuss, among other things, their three-album history and their relationship with producer Quincy Jones (who is also interviewed, although not as extensively as the Brothers Johnson). Obviously, promotional interview albums that labels provide for radio stations tend to play it safe and go for fluff; neither Jones nor the Brothers Johnson have anything controversial to say. Essentially, this record would be called an infomercial these days. But while Blam!! Radio Special wasn't meant to sound like an interview with Rolling Stone or Creem, parts of the LP are fairly interesting. Some of the more interesting moments come when Maddox asks the Brothers Johnson what music they listen to at home; George notes that his taste in music ranges from Chick Corea to Paul McCartney. Although Blam!! Radio Special wasn't created with the general public in mind, copies of the LP inevitably turned up in some used record stores. And when that happened, the promos were quickly snatched up by hardcore Brothers Johnson collectors, who are the only consumers that such a record would appeal to.