Johnny Otis

Good Lovin' Blues

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"There's nothing seriously wrong with..." That's kind of a standard line, if a true one, to describe records by veterans who might be in their tried-and-true style, but really aren't very interesting. And it's an opening line that applies to this 1990 effort, in which the Johnny Otis Show presents its customary R&B variety show, but without the all-stars or future stars that had lent it much of its pizzazz in the long-ago past. You probably haven't heard of anyone on this session aside from the members of the Otis family, including Johnny Otis, Shuggie Otis, and Nick Otis, the vocals taken by Ramona (no last name given), Jackie Pane, and La Dee Streeter. It's not embarrassingly slicked-up or modernized R&B; in fact, it's not slicked up at all. There's just a sense of veterans comfortably going through the routine on this set of journeyman big-band blues/R&B Otis originals, with covers of "Rock Me Baby" and "Baby What You Want Me to Do." Shuggie Otis (on guitar, bass, and organ) is a cult figure in his own right, but his role here is limited to functional lines within a standard R&B format that was essentially the same as what Johnny Otis had been playing back in the 1950s. No doubt the ensemble could have still put on a reasonably entertaining live show for your club or social function. But you want more than that from a record, and as R&B ones go, this is competent but unmemorable.

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