Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jimmy Johnson
End of the Road
Ruf Records

Jimmy Johnson’s infrequent albums are always occasions of great interest for blues lovers. With his wiry guitar attack and high tenor vocals, the Chicago bluesman has produced some very distinctive and fine recordings. This new one is another strong addition to his discography. Johnson has contributed some fine originals like the opening Roots of All Evil (about money, and sporting a trumpet solo by
Jimmy Johnson at the 2007 Pocono Blues Festival
Claude Egea), End of the Road which contains an appearance by the late Luther Allison who rides the song out with a fiery short solo, and The Street You Live On, with its lilting reggae beat.

In addition, Johnson’s covers of Thunderbird Davis’ Blue Monday, Black Night and Cut You Loose are fresh, with crisp funky arrangements. Throughout this, Johnson plays in his recognizable style that perhaps show the influence of Otis Rush and Albert King more than others, as well as delivering his vocals without too much in the nature of hysterics.

In addition to his fine band, Johnson is backed by a nice horn section that includes jazz trombonist Frank Lacy and saxophonist Paul Cerra in addition to trumpeter Egea. With Johnson being in strong form both vocally and instrumentally, he has produced a very fine release.

This review originally appeared in the November/December 1999 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 242). It is available from third party sellers on amazon. Photo of Jimmy Johnson © Ron Weinstock. Here is a video of Jimmy Johnson performing with Dave Spector.

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