Johnny Adams

The Great Johnny Adams Blues Album

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

New Orleans R&B crooner Johnny Adams wasn't a classic blues shouter, and when he tackled a blues arrangement, he took a relatively refined, jazz approach to it, which gives his scattered pure blues pieces a sophisticated, laid-back, and resigned feel, a bit like listening to a guy talk late at night in the bar when the lights have come on and there's nothing more to do about anything. This collection brings together a dozen of these bluesy songs drawn from Adams' lengthy tenure at Rounder Records, which began in 1984. The focus here is on Adams' calm, velvet vocals -- as it should be -- and even when he uses horns, the charts are subtle and non-intrusive. Everything goes to mood, with tracks like "Roadblock" coming across as more soul-jazz than anything else. Among the highlights are a fine cover of Sam Cooke's "Laughin' and Clownin'," the late-night chillout blues of Percy Mayfield's "Danger Zone," and the down-and-out bounce of Doc Pomus' "My Baby Quit Me," which features Dr. John on piano and Duke Robillard on guitar. Perhaps not the ideal introduction to Adams, since he wasn't primarily a blues singer in the classic sense, this remarkably cohesive set shows he knew what to do with the blues when he got his hands on it, but then Johnny Adams could sing a classified ad or a wine list and make those work, too.

blue highlight denotes track pick