Whitey Johnson review…November 9, 2014…

WHITEY JOHNSON

WHITEY JOHNSON

SLOW MOVING RECORDS

MEMPHIS WOMEN AND CHICKEN–LIVIN’ IT DOWN–BRILLIANT CONVERSATIONALIST–EVERY TIME I SING THE BLUES–BLUES IN BLACK AND WHITE–DEVIL GOIN’ FISHIN’–JACKSBORO HIGHWAY–WORRY B GONE–I NEED TO KNOW–LIE NO BETTER–HOUSE IS ROCKIN–YES WE CAN

Gary Nicholson, Whitey Johnson’s alter-ego, has been responsible for some of the best-known and most-played songs over the last thirty years.  He’s had songs recorded by Delbert, T. Graham Brown, and Lee Roy Parnell, to name just a few.

As he tells it, Whitey Johnson was borne from a short story that Gary wrote about a guitar player from his home in Garland, TX.  He was a black albino that  everyone called “Whitey,” who came to a tragic end at the hands of the Klan.  When Gary performs as Whitey, he plays with the passion for the blues that Whitey had, and that is the premise behind the twelve cuts that make up Whitey’s self-titled album.

Along with Whitey on guitar and vocals, he  is joined by some of Music City’s premier sidemen, including Steve Cropper, Anson Funderburgh, and Colin Linden on guitars, Willie Weeks and Dave Roe on bass, Kevin McKendree on keys,  Jim Hoke on harp, and Bryan Owings and Tom Hambridge on drums.

The party starts with Whitey needing some food and a little lovin, and nothin’s better than “Memphis Women And Chicken.”  A very well-built woman who always “lets her walkin’ do the talkin’ is the hot subject of “Brilliant Conversationalist,” while Whitey tells his cheatin’ woman that “If you can’t Lie No Better than that, you might as well tell the truth!”

Our favorites leaned more toward the Delta-flavored, acoustic-themed cuts.  Check out getting just “one more sip of that Worry Be Gone” to see things in a much clearer light!  “Devil Goin’ Fishin” is a cool song about the many traps you can fall into, and “he’s done caught his limit, but he’s always lookin’ for more!”  And, that “endless boogie” of “Jacksboro Highway” takes you down to a foreboding place where “there’s always something goin’ on,” and it might be “murder in the first degree!”

Whitey Johnson has a seemingly-infinite wellspring of tales to tell over his rich, resonant guitar playing. We can attest that he is awesome in a live setting, and this album is the next best thing to being there!!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

 

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