Johnny "Guitar" Watson

The Gangster of Love Collection

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While there is nothing remotely special about this collection of four Johnny "Guitar" Watson albums packaged in a single box (titles: Ain't That a Bitch, A Real Mother for Ya, Funk Beyond the Call of Duty, and Giant), it is great to have these seminal titles in one place. Packaged longbox style, they represent the seamless fusion of Watson's ability to play blues, old-school R&B, funk and disco all at the same time. There are 27 cuts here, all of them with stellar, elaborate arrangements, and Watson's constant sense of groove is ongoing, whether it's a ballad, a call and response anthem, or a nasty funk jam. Add to this the composer's ability to play the living hell out of the guitar and you have the most successful artist -- outside of B.B. King perhaps -- to wed his original blues to the changing trends in black music of the day.

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