The Immortal Soul of Johnny Adamsby Johnny Adams
A wonderful introduction to the astonishing voice of Johnny Adams, this disc is culled from material (the liner notes aren't explicit about dates) he recorded from the mid-'70s to the early '80s. This is the period when he was recording for Senator Jones before he signed with Rounder Records. These tracks were, for the large part, recorded in his hometown of New Orleans, with some of the top sessionmen available, such as Walter Washington, Allen Toussaint, George Porter, and Leo Nocentelli, to name but a few. This leads to one of the criticisms of this disc: there are no credits as to who wrote the songs or who was playing on which cuts. However, you are getting 61-plus minutes of vintage Adams, with excellent backing musicians and great sound quality for an exceedingly low price. If you aren't familiar with Adams' voice, you have been deprived of a musical treat. He was well-known and well-loved in his native New Orleans as "The Tan Canary," and he was respected by all who knew him and his music. Aaron Neville, for one, credits him as a leading inspiration in the evolution of his singing style. Listen to what this man does with a song. The delivery is smooth as silk without the feeling of overpolished studio production. He works a song and makes it his own. Listen to his disco-ish version of that Ben E. King standard "Spanish Harlem" -- it should be a disaster with the excessive production, but his timing, falsetto voice, and phrasing don't let the song sink, and it, in fact, became a hit! There are strings on a couple tracks that give the sound an overproduced effect, and several endings are rather abrupt. Yet when his voice soars and plummets (like on "Share Your Love"), he takes your mind away from the distractions and flaws inherent in this release from the Louisiana Mid-Price Music Series. You are receiving more than ample recompense. These songs are good, hard to find, and gathered together on one disc. Just kick back and close your eyes and listen to what he does with the gospel-influenced "Stairway to Heaven." His voice reaches and rises, but never strains as it reaches new plateaus. This track alone is worth the price of admission.
- Release Date:
- Aim Records
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