This mornings swim was bust as the pool was closed so, instead, I took HRH for a very early break-of-dawn breakfast at Maria’s Downtown with all the old farts to celebrate her first day back to school in 2017 (and not a moment too soon I might add). And, now, it’s back to the grindstone myself. Goodie. To kick start off the work day, I’m pillaging something from my Cornball collection of albums, the ‘Close Personal Friend‘ by Robert A. Johnson.
Now, providing you looked closely (actually, you didn’t even have to look that closely) you’ll know already, that this particular Robert Johnson isn’t the same 1930’s Robert Johnson who met the devil at the crossroads to negotiate his profound blues prowess.
Far from actually.
This Robert Johnson (born in the 1950’s) is a rock and blues guitarist based in Memphis, Tennessee, best known for his work in the 1970’s. He’s also as white as a David Duke rally.
C’mon look at this guy:
How friggin’ white can you get? And he wants to be your “close personal friend”.
How can turn down that kind of offer?
By the way, what the fuck is going on inside that bottle of Sprite?
I originally bought the album for $1.00 because it literally made me laugh out loud. And if something makes me openly howl like that, then I figure it’s a worthwhile thing to own…especially for a buck.
But, Hells bells, it also seems like Mr. White Bread here can really play too. Apparently, early in his career Johnson played in bands with Jack Holder and Greg Reding, who later became members of Black Oak Arkansas. Johnson’s work became well respected by other musicians, and at the age of 23 he was auditioned by The Rolling Stones as a possible replacement for Mick Taylor (he was deemed too young and too American to join the Stones. Yeah! And between 1974 and 1977 he went on tour as the lead guitarist for John Entwistle’s band, known as “John Entwistle’s Ox”. And then in 1995 he became a part of The John Entwistle Band singing Lead Vocals and in 1998 he went on the ‘Left for Live‘ tour with the band which was recorded and released as an album of the same name as the tour. Furthermore, the back cover of the album suggests that he’s also played on albums by Isaac Hayes and Ann Peebles and on several classic Stax Records sessions.
Okay, so the dude apparently has some merit. But you’d never know that he was one of the hottest rock & roll guitarists of the mid-’70s, bluesy and bruising, street smart and sharp, and a gritty songwriter, by looking at this album. One glance and you’d likely have him pegged for another new waver, just one more in that long line of quirky power poppers who emerged from the post-Costello ’70s and were soundly dismissed on the spot. Which leaves ‘Close Personal Friend‘ in that awkward space somewhere between the classic it is and the bargain-bin regular it became (hence my $1.00 purchase). Too soulful for the skinny-tie brigade but too confusing for everyone who should have loved it, the album features ten stunning rockers that dance on the brittlest edge of American roots, and if any album of that era demands rediscovery, this is it.
I shit you not.
This white nerdy cat can really freakin’ play!
I’m shocked. Here I bought it because, I mean, seriously, look at it? Wouldn’t you? But it turns out that ‘ol Captain Wonderbread here can play like the real Robert Johnson (had that Robert Johnson played electric, of course).
Not a bad find for a $1.00 purchase.