Friday, April 06, 2012

Johnny Adams Keep His Music Planted In The Blues

The late Johnny Adams was among my favorite blues and soul singers, but he was so capable of more. His catalog on Rounder is universally excellent. The following review of one of his excellent Rounder albums appeared in the December 1996 DC Blues Calendar as well as the February 1997 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 218). I likely received my review copy from Rounder Records. This CD is available currently as a download.

Johnny Adams is simply a terrific singer and his latest Rounder album, One Foot In the Blues, has him backed by Dr. Lonnie Smith on the Hammond B-3, guitarist Jimmy Ponder and drummer Shannon Powell along with saxophonists Ed Peterson and Donald Harrison Jr. and with trumpeter Jamil Sharif. Despite the jazzy backing, this has more of a blues flavor than Adams’ two previous Rounder releases. He is in good form, although he no longer vocally soars into the stratosphere as he did a couple decades past.

The title song is a fine new number penned by Dan Penn, Jonnie Barnett and Carson Whitsett. Other songs include a couple of fine blue ballads from Buddy Johnson’s pen, including I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone, and three Percy Mayfield Numbers including the classic Two Years of Torture. Smith greases the musical stew, Ponder adds some tasty fills and solos, and the horn players cook

There is a relaxed groove and tasty looseness to these performances that add to Rounder’s invaluable catalog of Adams releases.

Here is Johnny Adams in performance at the Lone Star in NYC from 1990.

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