Johnny "Guitar" Watson had a long, colorful, and varied career that catered to different aspects of his talent. He began as a straight blues player (with excursions into futuristic sound experimentation, as on 1954's "Space Guitar"), and reinvented himself in the '70s and '80s as a funkster. In between he had a brief stint at Okeh, where he recorded some excellent sides that were heavily inflected with the R&B feel of the day.
Watson recorded three albums and some singles for Okeh in the mid-'60s. And listeners who are surprised at the many "faces" of Watson will find the sides on BEST OF THE OKEH YEARS to be a missing link of sorts. While reminiscent of the blues structures of his earlier recordings, Watson's Okeh material is up-tempo and funky with an ear toward mainstream accessibility ("Nobody" and "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" made the R&B charts). It's fun, energetic music, with plenty of Watson's trademark pyrotechnic guitar to satisfy six-string enthusiasts.