Johnny "Guitar" Watson

The Best of the Modern Years

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Although Johnny "Guitar" Watson had already recorded some sides for Federal (including the astonishing instrumental "Space Guitar"), the majority of those tunes featured the piano-playing Young John Watson. It was when he began recording for the Bihari Brothers' RPM subsidiary of Modern Records that he "became" Johnny "Guitar" Watson and his amazing legacy really began. The songs are solid West Coast blues, but they're brought to the next level by Watson's impassioned vocals and his incredible biting, staccato guitar solos. Watson's tenure at RPM was short-lived (as were most of his label relationships) and all these tracks were recorded in 1955, but they were wildly influential on a number of great guitarists and still hold their power 50 years down the road. This material has been released umpteen times over the years, but the remastering of this compilation has more clarity and warmth than the others. Johnny "Guitar" Watson recorded some great material for a variety of labels, but the real meat of his blues legacy is on these RPM sides. Fans of tough '50s blues and great blues guitar owe it to themselves to check this stuff out. Recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:41
2 2:39
3 3:17
4 2:41
5 2:53
6 2:58
7 2:40
8 3:02
9 3:25
10 2:22
11 2:52
12 2:53
13 2:09
14 2:33
15 2:34
16 3:22
17 2:47
18 3:30
blue highlight denotes track pick