Roy Lee Johnson

When a Guitar Plays the Blues

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For those of you who tuned in late, Roy Lee Johnson was a member of Dr. Feelgood and the Interns and wrote their big hit, "Mister Moonlight," twhich gained Johnson his liner-note historical footnote when it was covered by the Beatles on one of their early albums. Johnson went on to record for OKeh and Stax, write with Otis Redding, and have the title track of this album be recorded by Roy Buchanan and Albert Collins. His first new recording since 1985's All Night Long, this one finds him in a distinctly down-home mode, recorded in his laundry-room home studio with a relaxed small combo providing the backup. Johnson's soulful voice will immediately call to mind James Carr and especially Clarence Carter, and his guitar playing shows a wider range than most when it comes to mixing up styles as diverse as jazz and the church and other points in between. In addition to new versions of "Mister Moonlight" (heard here in both vocal and instrumental versions closing out the album), other highlights include "Livin' In Reverse," the swampy "Who Do Me," the ballad "I Thought About You" and a blues about the physically challenged, "Hooks and Wheels." A down-home album with a strong church and soulful feel to it, Johnson has come up with a minor classic here.

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