Johnny "Guitar" Watson

The Very Best of Johnny Guitar Watson [DJM]

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Culled from the fine run of bluesy funk sides Watson cut between 1976-1980, DJM's The Very Best Of... doesn't really qualify as a complete hits package -- "Superman Love" and "Tarzan" are missing, for starters -- but sports an attractive mix of solid tracks all the same. Featuring plenty of Watson's P-Funk-inspired grooves and inflation-era commentary, the 14 tracks include such highlights as "Ain't That a Bitch," "Lover Jones," "A Real Mother for Ya," and "I Need It." Equally heavy on the funk, but a bit off the quality radar, more obscure album tracks like "Booty Ooty," "Mother-in-Law," and "Miss Frisco" still come through with an abundance of Watson's irresistible guitar licks and wry vocals. Also adding to the fine stock here are progressive funk sides like "What The Hell Is This" (reminiscent of P-Funk experiments like "Hydraulic Pump"), the after-hours blues ballad "I Want to Ta-Ta You Baby," and the gospel-tinged "Strung Out" -- and that's not too mention the incredible arrangements and seamless blend of styles Watson pulls off. Even without all the hits, this DJM package is quality all the way.