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Tag: Syl Johnson

Saturday, October 12th

basement jukebox

Willie Mitchell, record producer, March 1, 1928–January 5, 2010  

O. V. Wright (1939-1980), “A Nickel and a Nail,” 1971

 

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Syl Johnson (1936-), “Take Me to the River,” 1975

 

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Otis Clay (1942-2016), “Trying to Live My Life Without You,” 1972

 

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Ann Peebles (1947-), “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” 1973

 

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Al Green (1946-), “Let’s Stay Together,” 1971

 

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lagniappe

random sights

other day, Kankakee, Ill.

Friday, December 7th

This is Jimmy’s brother.

Syl Johnson, “Take Me to the River” (A. Green, M. Hodges), 1974

 

*****

Another take.

Live (with Howard Grimes [drums], Leroy Hodges [bass], et al.), Memphis

 

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lagniappe

random sights

other day, Oak Park, Ill.

Thursday, April 12th

basement jukebox

Syl Johnson, “Take Me to the River” (Al Green, Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, writers; Willie Mitchell, producer), 1975

 

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

I am waiting, patiently, for the United States Postal Service to issue a Forever stamp honoring Willie Mitchell. Nobody—nobody—has produced better records.

Monday, 12/6/10

Here’s more from the city that does death like no other.

Funeral for Juanita Brooks, New Orleans, 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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lagniappe

Here’s a taste of the Syl Johnson show I recently saw.

Syl Johnson, “Same Kind of Thing,” live, Chicago, 11/27/10

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Thursday, 12/2/10

Memphis.

1953.

A little studio—Memphis Recording Service—over on Union Avenue.

Little Junior Parker, “Feel So Bad” (1953), “Sittin’ at the Bar” (1954), Sun Records, Memphis

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lagniappe

I’d like to dedicate this song to Little Junior Parker, a cousin of mine who’s gone on, but we’d like to kind of carry on in his name . . . .

Al Green, “Take Me To The River,” Hi Records, Memphis, 1974

Al wrote this, with guitarist Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, and recorded it first; Hi labelmate Syl Johnson had the hit.

Saturday, 11/27/10

This guy and the guy we heard Monday (Syl Johnson) are brothers.

Speaking of Syl, he’s getting a lot of attention right now: the cover story in this week’s Chicago Reader; a big new boxed set on the Numero label; and a concert tonight, in Chicago, with a top-flight band and guest Otis Clay (yeah, I’ll be there).

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replay: a clip too good for just one day

This take?

Or that?

Move the voice forward?

Back?

Make the guitar brighter?

Darker?

Enough bass?

Too much?

Enough room sound?

Mixing a record, as I learned when I worked at Alligator Records (back in the 1970s), involves a seemingly countless number of decisions. After a few hours, everyone starts to get a little punch-drunk. By the end of the night, for instance, this track had morphed—in the warped warble of engineer Freddie Breitberg (AKA, in his personal mythology, Eddie B. Flick)—into “Serve Me Rice For Supper.”

Jimmy Johnson, “Serves Me Right To Suffer” (Living Chicago Blues, Vol. 1, Alligator Records, 1977 [Grammy Nominee])

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lagniappe

reading table

The ’net’s filled with enough dreck for a thousand lifetimes; but then, as happened the other day (after hearing about it on the radio), you come across something that’s simply stunning—like the new, complete collection of the letters of Vincent van Gogh.

. . . Van Gogh’s letters are the best written by any artist . . . Their mixture of humble detail and heroic aspiration is quite simply life-affirming.—Andrew Motion, The Guardian (11/21/09)

(Originally posted a year ago [11/27/09].)

Monday, 11/22/10

Walk into a blues bar on Chicago’s south or west side in the mid-1970s:
this would jump out of the jukebox.

Syl Johnson, “Take Me To The River,” live, 1975, Memphis

Friday, 1/8/10

Presence, immediacy, feeling: the way his records sound, you’d swear they were nailed in just one take.

What higher compliment could you pay a record producer?

Willie Mitchell (March 23, 1928 – January 5, 2010)

*****

O.V. Wright, “A Nickel and A Nail” (1971)

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Ann Peebles, “I Can’t Stand the Rain” (1973)

*****

Syl Johnson, “Take Me To The River” (1975)

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Al Green, “Love and Happiness” (1977)

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lagniappe

mail

Thank you so much, Richard. . . . Stay well and Happy New Year. Love, Sheila

(Sheila Jordan, 1/6/10, 9/28/09 [in response to an email letting her know she was being featured here])

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