Johnny "Guitar" Watson

The Best of the Okeh Years

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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.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:22
2 2:42
3 2:35
4 2:15
5 2:57
6 2:25
7 2:44
8 2:15
9 2:54
10 2:44
11 2:37
12 2:04
13 4:41
14 2:15
15 3:16
16 3:19
17 2:28
18 3:09
19 5:00
20 3:18
blue highlight denotes track pick