Lonnie Johnson

Blues Masters

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By 1963, Lonnie Johnson was out of fashion and practically forgotten in America, but the Storyville label in Europe teamed him with pianist Otis Spann for this collection. Of the 13 tracks, nine are written by Johnson, and range from downhearted to more upbeat and hopeful, soulful blues, including his "You Don't Know What Love Is," not the jazz standard known by all. He does classics "See See Rider" and "Jelly Jelly," but starts off uncharacteristically with the ballad "Tomorrow Night," and then dives into a more formulaic, expected program. As there are far too few Lonnie Johnson recordings in this world, this one, even at the tail-end of his career, comes recommended.

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