Jimmy Johnson came dramatically to the attention of the blues world with the release of his first American album, Johnson’s Whacks (Delmark 644), in 1979, one of the few albums around that time to project a new and distinctive blues personality. Originally issued in ’82, North/South contained all original compositions reflecting Jimmy’s background in blues, soul, gospel and jazz. Songwriter and blues aficionado Doc Pomus wrote on the original LP, “Individuality is a sign of the great ones. When you hear a bar or two, and you know immediately who’s hitting the notes, you know you’re listening to a master – and that’s how it is when you’re hearing Jimmy Johnson. He’s an incredible blues singer, guitarist and songwriter.”
North // South
1. Country Preacher
2. Can't Go No Further
3. Track To Run
4. Walking On Thin Ice
5. Talking ’Bout Chicago
6. A Woman Ain’t Supposed To Be Hard
7. I Can’t Survive
8. Sang A Song In Heaven
9. Dead Or Alive
All songs are by Jimmy Johnson, Granite City Music, BMI.
Jimmy Johnson, vocals and lead guitar
Carl P. Snyder, piano and organ
Larry Exum, bass
Ike Davis, drums
Larry Burton, guitar (1,3,4,6,7,9)
Criss Johnson, guitar (2,8, solo on 5)
Professor Eddie Lusk, organ (2,3,6,9)
1,4,7 recorded August 11, 1981; 3,6,9 recorded January 27, 1982;
2,5,8 recorded February 10, 1982.
Individuality is a sign of the great ones. When you hear a bar or two, and you know immediately who's hitting the notes, you know you're listening to a master -- and that's how it is when you're hearing Jimmy Johnson. He's an incredible blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He uses his mastery of the instrument to give himself a broader range of ideas and an extraordinary ability to execute them. And he's always funky and real; he's got that uncanny knack of writing the songs that are just right for him. I promise you, he'll touch you and get deep inside you.
North // South is Jimmy Johnson's second album on Delmark. The first, Johnson's Whacks (Delmark 644), was one of the most-praised blues albums of 1980-’81, and the single from it, "I Need Some Easy Money/Ashes In My Ashtray," won the Handy Award for best blues 45 of the year. We at Delnark are very grateful for the warm response to Jimmy Johnson's work:
" ... an exceptionally talented and original bluesman." Robert Palmer,
" ... a major blues talent. Johnson's blues lyrics are both funny and strikingly original." Robert Palmer, The Real Paper
"If you think the blues is a codified. structured form with nothing new to contribute to today's music scene, then Johnson's high octane kineticism should prove a pleasant surprise." Musician, Player & Listener
"Today there are quite a few relatively youthful bluesmen who guarantee the survival of blues as a musical mainstay. But Jimmy Johnson is one of the few through whom the blues may be heard evolving." Tim Schuller, Down Beat
"To my mind, this is one of the most impressive blues debuts in many years... Jimmy Johnson, then, takes the blues into the ’80s in fine fashion." Peter Guralnick, Boston Phoenix
Produced by Steve Tomashefsky and the Jimmy Johnson Band.
Album Production and Supervision by Robert G. Koester
Recorded at Solid Sound Studios, Judd Sager, engineer, and at
Zenith/db Studios, Malcolm Chisholm, engineer.
Mixed at Solid Sound Studios, Judd Sager, engineer, and at Chicago
Trax Studios, Al Ursini, engineer.
Photography by John Alderson.
Design by Kate Hoddinott
Thanks to Bob Koester, Chris Quinn, Ben Sandmel, and Columbia
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