Johnny "Guitar" Watson

Space Guitar

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"The Proper Introduction to Johnny "Guitar" Watson and His Space Guitar" is indeed an introduction to Watson's early years, long before he became a funk master. The 18 cuts on this set are mainly from the 1950s, when Watson was a blues and R&B kingpin burning up the soul circuit and the jukeboxes in the South and up into Chicago. He came out of the Joe Turner tradition on the one hand, and the great T-Bone Walker Texas blues heritage on the other. This set is close in proximity to the Varese Sarabande collection that was issued with a similar name in 2004, but the Proper set has better notes and some better selections, such as "Motor Head Baby." The music, from "Highway 60" through to "Half Pint-A-Whiskey" and the title cut, and all the way down to his badass strolling rocker "Those Lonely Nights," offer a glimpse of the direction he would go in, but he's still far from the Gangster of Love image he would project during the funk years.

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