V.S.O.P. #117 JOHNNY 'GUITAR' WATSON: THE ORIGINAL GANGSTER OF LOVE, THE KEEN RECORDS SESSIONS.
Johnny “Guitar” Watson had recorded for Federal and Modern/RPM by the time he was brought over to Keen Records by Bumps Blackwell. The first session, in November of 1957, yielded “One Room Country Shack” and the original version of “Gangster of Love”. The record must have been a success because a second Johnny “Guitar” Watson session took place in February of 1958. At that second session, backed by the Turks, Johnny recorded “Honey” and “Deana Baby”. These last two were rockers, in contrast to the bluesy tracks on his first Keen .The complete Keen Records sessions are included here, starting with the master takes of “Gangster of Love” and “One Room Country Shack”, then followed by the session recordings for both. The second session is also presented in a similar order, the master of “Honey” followed by the master of “Deana Baby”, followed by the complete sessions of both. The Turks back Johnny “Guitar” Watson on “Honey” which is not surprising as they were friends at Jefferson High and the Hodge brothers were neighbors of John Watson’s mother. What is particularly fortunate is to have such pristine recordings without any deterioration almost fifty years after they were recorded. You can actually hear whispered conversations in the background of some of the takes, including some of the master takes. Both sessions were recorded at Radio Recorders, engineered by Don Thompson, who was the specialist at the studio for R&B and blues sessions. This CD presents excellent recordings from both a technical and a historical standpoint . A must have for all blues and R&B collectors.
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