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Smoky Mountain Blues Society
Midwest Record (January 27, 2018)
A 2017 recording recorded with old school values that sounds like those 60s blues records you were supposed to like but didn’t have the facilities to fully appreciate at the time. Stomping, wild stuff in the early Alligator and Chess traditions, this will serve as a reminder to all those white boys with the blues running around today that the real music from the true vine will always exist and always kick ass. Old school with no dust on it by a real devotee.
– Chris Spector
Don And Sheryl’s Blues Blog (January 31, 2018)
Johnny Tucker grew up listening to his father play guitar. Later in life, he learned James Brown’s hits of the day, coming to Los Angeles in 1964 and working with Phillip Walker in a cover band, playing top ten hits. A bold, brash, and big-voiced singer, that voice leads the charge on his second album for HighJohn Records, “Seven Day Blues.” All fifteen cuts were written by Johnny, and West Coast stalwarts Big Jon Atkinson, Bob Corritore, Troy Sandow, Kid Ramos and several others serve as the backing band. If that ain’t enough to get you interested, the whole shootin’ match was laid down in Hayward, CA, at Big Tone Studios, with Big Jon producing. They used retro tube amps, with all the players in the same room working their incredible magic.
Johnny’s vocal has that big, Howlin’ Wolf growl, altho it is somewhat more polished. It’s all over the opening cut, a tale of a lover who’s a bit of tease, “Talkin’ “Bout You, Baby,” with Big Jon on guitar. “Love And Appreciation (To Georgia)” literally “Cooke’s” with a swingin’ soul beat, ramped up by Bob Corritore’s harp. And, this set sho’ nuff leads the league in pompadours, as the similarly-coiffed David “Kid” Ramos, brings his mighty axe to the party on Johnny’s greasy groove of “Tell You All what’s going on with me!” Bob Welch is behind that jazzy organ work, also.
We had more favorites than Henry VIII had ex-wives, too, and, oddly enough, several were the slow-bluesers, where Johnny and the band really get to stretch out. “Gonna Give You One More Chance,” “Why Do You Let Me Down So Hard,” and “One Of These Days” all have that deep, smoldering touch that is such a pleasure to listen to. And, Johnny gets his South Side funk on with a couple of Amos Blakemore-inspired cuts, the struttin’ “I Can’t Wait,” with Big Jon on slide guitar, and “I Wanna Do It.”
Folks, Johnny Tucker is one BAD motor scooter, and the backing band is as good as it gets. “Seven Day Blues” will rock your soul! Hey Johnny–don’t wait so long to do this again, ok? Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.
Smoky Mountain Blues Society (January 2018)
Get back to where you once belong! Talk about a beautiful time machine recording, Johnny Tucker’s new “Seven Day Blues” album is it! Johnny Tucker is reminiscent of Howin’ Wolf, Muddy, and the legendary guys we think of when we think of real blues! His vocals are strong and raspy, and takes you right back to the good ole days. He takes his time, and loves what his doing. He must have a heart that weights fifty pounds to put this much love and emotion into his vocals. Johnny’s new album has 15 original cuts and it is just stellar! Reminds me of something out of the 60’s. Johnny vocals, songwriting, and performances are just outstanding, but there’s more! Big John Atkinson plays guitar along with Kid Ramos and they nail it. Big John’s playing throws back to the 60’s style as well. Even earlier! His guitar work on here is just straight money in the bank! He lays off perfectly, and captures the exact guitar licks that Johnny needs to make this CD so special! Kid Ramos plays on one cut, and no mistakes are made here either! Let’s add in Bob Corritone, and Troy Sandow on harmonica, and you have a killer time-warp blues CD of the highest quality. Troy also plays bass. The harmonica is great! Not overbearing, big chord work, chromatic stuff as well, just killer. This is an absolutely, wonderful throwback CD. I mean featuring 15 cuts of original material with outstanding players! http://www.cityhallrecords.com should get you there. From top to bottom a relentless throwback blues CD. It takes you back to the time people played it real and hard, while capturing every authentic nuance of the idiom! If you are a blues lover you will certainly love this CD! Just ace, top drawer stuff! Thanks guys, and enjoy everything that comes with it!
– blue barry – smoky mountain blues society.
PBS106.7 (Australia) (January 2018)
*Track 1 – “Talkin’ About My Baby”
Lordy, lordy me here we have a truly authentic Blues album and please don’t expect me to use that annoying term “old school”. Here we are truly at the altar of pure Chicago Blues played with the right mix of talent and enthusiasm. Tucker right from the get-go gives us a master class about the Blues on just how to sing, perform and write it. What a revelation we have here. Somebody pinch me l must be asleep and dreaming as l have been longing for an album like this for a very long time.
*Track 2 – “Tired Of Doing Nothing”
Solid Chicago shuffler that just oozes with that sound the made the city so famous with Wolf and Muddy plus a cast of hundreds taking centre stage every night of the week. Sandow rips it up on harp as he demolishes this one with strength and purpose all the while riffing effortlessly over the rhythm section of Atkinson and Johnson. Smart’s guitar is solid but not imposing but rather leaving the top end to Sandow. Again Tucker gives a masterclass of singing the Blues as he displays a sublime control of his voice. The song could easily be argued to be a past song from the sixties such is its appeal, masterful song and performance. I am still pinching myself with the fact that this is indeed a new recording and not a album from the early sixties.
*Track 3 – “Why Do You Let Me Down So Hard”
Low down dirty Chicago Blues ballad that has Tucker’s vocals pleading and pained as he sings about affairs of the heart and isn’t that the age old problem in life. Guest Bob Corritore delivers the very tasty harp throughout as he duels with the stunning guitars from Smart and Atkinson. The rhythm section this time round consists of Sandow and Dodson who display a wonderful maturity that keeps the song perfectly in time throughout. This is a perfect example of what Blues had evolved into during the sixties but somehow we moved away from and not necessarily for all the right reasons since. Thankfully here we recapture the honesty and majesty of the Blues that just tears at your heartstrings. Every emotion is here and Tucker is a master of knowing how to play with them as this beautifully crafted song perfectly displays.
*Track 4 – “Love And Appreciation (To Georgia)”
Swinging easy going song that has Tucker’s voice very expressive and quite pleading in style. The cadence of the song for me reminds me of the songs recorded on the Sar label by Sam Cooke which he owned. R&B meets Soul meets Blues in Tucker’s inimitable style. Corritore’s harp is present but quite subdued but beautifully mixed into the stunning sound. The addition of guest Welch on organ adds a exquisite touch to the song and lends itself well to the Cooke feel. Bold and bounding along albeit quite a short song that is very catchy quickly entering into your psyche to become a firm favorite.
*Track 5 – “Seven Day Blues”
Quite a funky little offering on the title track with distinctive bass lines from Atkinson and Sandow trading rhythm lines with Smart. Johnson’s drums complete the ensemble. Certainly a different direction and feel from the previous tracks but certainly one that Tucker excels on vocally as does the band. Great charts on the song elevate it right up there and again Tucker has written a wonderful song. What more could you ask for when you have perfection such as this is.
*Track 6 – “Come On Home With Me”
Straight ahead Blues collides with Rhythm & Blues and you can call it it either way. Such a brilliantly written song one could confidently argue that this was straight out of the Chicago songbook of 1964. Everything about it is just so very authentic. The sound quality is right on the money as are the charts and orchestration. It must be said that the mixing is sublime on this album and all kudos go to Big Jon Atkinson for resisting going down the road of sounding like a recording done in 2017. Tucker’s road weary love lorn voice nails this one as does the guitars of Atkinson and Smart. Guest Corritore on harp is subtle but none the less brilliant. Sandow and Dodson provide the rock solid rhythm section rounding out another brilliant recording.
*Track 7 – “Tell You All”
Wow now here Tucker certainly steps out of his comfort zone as he heads to the West Coast courtesy of guests Kid Ramos and Bob Welch who add some different influences to the sound that meld in with Tucker’s to form an amazing concoction of sophisticated Jump Blues with a touch of West Coast Swing, a dab of Rockabilly Guitar, Uptown Supper Club keys, Chicago Supper Club Blues meets sixties Chicago Blues Club boil over. All the while Tucker holds court with his amazing voice calling all to order and keeping it all together. This one has a groove that just doesn’t stop and man what a groove it is. Tucker knows exactly what the Blues is and what it stands for and treats it with respect all the while he is able to show his creativity.
*Track 8 – “Something I Want To Tell You”
Can’t help but hear the classic Jimmy Reed song “Big Boss Man”with this one. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not as this is such a good song and has so much to like about it that we can forgive and similarity. In this day an age there are very few songs that you hear where you don’t hear a hint of another song so l just feel that l am going to enjoy this gem of a song with Tuckers incredible vocals and hoops and hollers throughout. Sandow provides the stunning harp riffing with abandon throughout that just screams Chicago as does the rhythm sections style made up of Smart and Johnson. Atkinson displays his all round versatility throughout this album and again here his guitar playing is brilliant. Incredibly well crafted song once again. Mr. Tucker you sir are a genius.
*Track 9 – “Gonna Give You One More Chance”
Listening to this slow slow slow Blues l am convinced l have heard it before and l am wracking the far reaches of my mind to remember when. Obviously l haven’t as it is a relatively new song penned by Tucker but it is the quintessential 12 bar Chicago Blues ballad, no l am sure l have heard it before. Johnny calls on Mister Muddy Waters himself as well as other greats and for me that is giving me assurance that l have heard it before. But l have to be honest with myself that no matter what l haven’t heard it and l am listening to a song that has been written by a man who knows exactly what Blues was, is and what is supposed to sound like. Atkinson and Smart lay down the incredible authentic guitar that doesn’t need over the top flourishes but rather caresses the listener’s soul as was the way before. The rhythm section is firm and quite masculine underlining Tuckers firm authoritative vocals.
*Track 10 – “I Wanna Do It”
Solid boogaloo beat that is on the laid back side with an almost lazy feel but very infectious. Tight orchestration from the band that again features guest Corritore on harp and very jangly guitar from Atkinson to round out the sound. Tucker is pleading and plaintive with his vocals as he sings about affairs of the heart when it comes to his lady. Wonderful offering from Tucker and the band on what is once again an extremely well composed song.
*Track 11 – “Do Right Man”
Push the furniture aside as we want to dance and nothing is better than a greasy shuffler to hold my lady nice and tight. The rhythm section of Sandow and Johnson really are prominent here as it drags this one along kicking and screaming. Sandow also plays that dirty dirty harp that permeates throughout the song as does the stinging guitar from Atkinson that is like a bee sting over and over again. Tucker’s vocals are to die for and are heart breaking as much as they are engaging in his storey telling. Rolling along picking up dust from the floor mixing it into the music adding to the sound that is quite simply mesmerising. It just doesn’t get any better than this and l am still slow dancing with my lady as we lean on each other actually holding each other up. Hell l need a taste.
*Track 12 – “One Of These Days”
One thing that is abundantly clear is that Tucker is the maestro of the Blues ballad and all that is needed is the suitably raunchy guitar as is supplied by Atkinson here and you have the perfect recording. To complete the recipe just add the rhythm section of Sandow and Johnson plus guitar of Smart and the sound is complete. This sound is impeccable, flawless and breathtakingly brilliant. You also need one thing also to add to Tucker’s mesmerising voice, band, charts and that is a song. This ballad is what dreams are made of and again it is one that you could quite easily argue was taken directly from the Chicago sixties songbook. There would be few singers in Blues singing today that could come close to matching Johnny Tucker and his band.
*Track 13 – “I Can’t Wait”
Here we are on a quick trip to Náwlins for some second line action complete with a Rhumba beat. Raucous and perfect for second line dance/marching as Atkinson cuts to the bone with his stinging squealing guitar. Corritore’s harp has a real feisty dirty tone to it that adds to the excitement of the occasion. Tucker is taking us on a journey as he seeks to see and talk to his lady who he has lost. Full of vigor and an inherent excitement this one is just another example of Tucker’s ability to take us on many a by-way on the Blues highway.
*Track 14 – “Listen Everybody”
Joyful and jolly ole time that rocks and rolls along with Tucker adding whoops to his voice rockabilly style in keeping with Atkinson’s guitar. Sandow’s harp weaves in and out of the guitar and dances throughout the song. Reminiscent of a Southern church sermon of hope and good will Tucker has taken to the pulpit to deliver the sermon with the band. The sisters would certainly be dancing in the isle with this sermon with maybe one or two ‘fallin’ out”. Blues doesn’t have to be serious all of the time and again Tucker proves just that and puts the smile on our faces and the hope in our hearts.
*Track 15 – “You Can Leave My House”
Just when you thought that Johnny Tucker had ripped your heart apart enough then think again as it was only the entree before. This powerful emotive scorching Blues ballad closes down this masterpiece of an album. Tucker has taken the angst ridden vocals to a new level and Sandow’s harp has gone along with him wringing absolutely every possible emotion from his reeds. There is nothing subtle about this ballad that is heavy of the bass from Atkinson and the exquisite guitar of Smart. Not to be left out Johnson’s drumming is sublime. Tucker has certainly got his heart on his sleeve with this one and is certainly not scared to show his emotions at all. Again we have another masterful piece of songwriting.
I am quite frankly overwhelmed by this album and need a moment to compose myself such is the impact this album has made on me. I have spent a lifetime listening to Blues music and noticing all of the changes that come as the years roll by. Some have been good and some have been abysmal. The purest will lament the loss of the pre-war Blues or the the loss of the real electric Chicago Blues and the overly heavy influence of Rock in Blues we have today. Then l have just been privileged to listen to Johnny Tucker’s “Seven Day Blues”album and my heart instantly skipped a beat on many an occasion. Had l slipped into a time portal? Had l fallen asleep and was dreaming about a sixties Chicago Blues album from my collection? No l hadn’t and yes this was a new release. Johnny Tucker wasn’t just another Blues man but rather one who had started way back then, worked with the names, did the hard yards, worked the dives and paid his dues over and over. If you cut him he would bleed blue.This can be the only explanation to that fact each and every song was 100% authentic and took you on a journey that was rooted in that past time Chicago. A time that we lament had been lost. Johnny Tucker hasn’t forgotten it but rather he has embraced, but it doesn’t sound out dated or contrived. It sounds fresh and alive and perfect for today. What is that saying? Oh yeah “everything old is new again”. The musicianship on this album is simply sensational with the addition of guests Bob Corritore, Bob Welch, Kid Ramos added to band members Big Jon Atkinson, Scot Smart, Troy Sandow, Malachi Johnson and Marty Dodson you have a outfit that knows exactly how to interpret what Johnny Tucker is looking for. I Particularly love the engineering of Big John Atkinson and mastering of John Wroble as the sound is beautifully authentic. Also another wonderful aspect that gives a engaging warmth to the album is the audible chatter of the band members towards the end of each song. A touch of genius. Tuckers voice is a cut above the rest and he obviously knows his limitations and as such everything on the album showcases his striking voice, faultlessly. There are no downsides to the album at all and as much as l tried to at least find one l couldn’t. My plus column started to over fill will compliments so l think quite frankly that tells you that l just adore this album and everything about it. It will take one helluva album to knock this one off of my album of 2018. Yes l know it is only January but rarely do we get an album that scales the lofty heights of greatness this one does. You definitely need this one in your collection, if you care for your sanity at all then go out and buy it. I may not be a doctor but l am prescribing it for all that ails your Blues.
– Peter Merrett
Blues Blast Magazine (February 2018)
It is something of a mystery why Johnny Tucker isn’t better known. He has been making music professionally since he first moved to Los Angeles back in 1964, singing in a James Browntribute act before joining Philip Walker’s band as the drummer before moving on to play with the likes of Johnny Otis, Floyd Dixon and Robert Cray. His first album for HighJohn Records,Why You Lookin’ At Me?, was released in 2006, the same year as the wonderful Floyd Dixon Celebration, Time Brings About A Change. Tucker turns in engaging performances on both the CD and the DVD recordings of the two-night gig held to honour the legendary pianist and singer. He is a talented singer, with a warm, rough-hewn voice that straddles the border of blues and soul, as well as being a sharp-witted songwriter – all 15 tracks on Seven Day Blues were composed by him.
For his long-overdue second album on HighJohn, label chief Bob Auerbach put the singer together with Big Jon Atkinson and a hand-selected band of musicians. The tactic of pairing a veteran singer with younger acolytes doesn’t always work, especially when the backing musicians overwhelm the singer they are meant to support (viz, The Howlin’ Wolf Album). But when it does work, on albums like Nappy Brown’s 2007 Long Time Coming (with superb support from Sean Costello) or on Muddy’s 1977 Hard Again, the results are magical, with the authority and maturity of the older singer given a shot of the energy and excitement of youth. Seven Day Blues is very much in this latter category.
The core band comprises Atkinson and Scott Smart (who play both guitars and bass on different tracks), Troy Sandow on harmonica and bass, and Malachi Johnson and Marty Dodson and drums. Bob Welch contributes organ to the Sam Cooke-styled soul of “Love And Appreciation (To Georgia)” and the jump blues of “Tell You All”, which also features the guitar talents of Kid Ramos. Bob Corritore also contributes harp to five tracks. From the opening Howlin’ Wolf-esque, “Talkin’ About You Baby”, it’s obvious that the musicians understand how to bring the best out of Tucker’s voice. They know when to step forwards for their solo spots, but they never get in the way of the song.
Each song on the album was recorded live at Atkinson’s BigTone Studio in Hayward, CA, with all the players in one room, playing vintage gear and recorded on vintage equipment, and this commitment to authenticity comes through on every track. From the uptown Chicago shuffle of “Tired Of Doing Nothing” to the aching slow blues of the closing “You Can Leave My House”, via the primeval funk of the title track and the echo-drenched slide of “Do-Right Man”, each song reeks of deep emotion and well as a true understanding and appreciation of the way music used to be made.
Packing 15 songs into 57 minutes, there is no room for filler or fat on Seven Day Blues. Indeed, whilst it is dangerously presumptive to make predictions in January, it is not foolhardy to suggest that Seven Day Blues is an early contender for one of the albums of the year.
– Rhys Williams
Blues News (Netherlands) (February 3, 2018)
Blueszanger Johnny Tucker komt uit een heel groot gezin van 19 kinderen. Zijn interesse in de muziek ontstaat als hij naar zijn vader luistert als die op de veranda van hun huis op zijn gitaar speelt. Johnny begint met drummen en wordt voor o.a. beïnvloed door Lowell Fulson en James Brown. In 1964 maakt Johnny in Los Angeles kennis met Phillip Walker in wiens band hij later drummer wordt. Johnny speelt tijdens zijn vele tournees in de VS, Canada, Japan en Europa met o.a. Floyd Dixon, Robert Cray, Johnny Otis, The Five Royals, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Lowell Fulson en Johnny Copeland. In 2006 verschijnt zijn eerste album ‘Why You Lookin’ At Me?’
In de zomer van 2017 vinden er op initiatief van labelmanager Bob Auerbach in The Big Tone Studios in Hayward, California, een reeks sessies plaats waarbij Johnny Tucker wordt begeleid door gitarist Big John Atkinson en diens huisband en een aantal gastmusici. Atkinson zet alle musici in één grote kamer, omringd door vintage spullen, met Johnny Tucker in het midden die iedereen de essentie van de blues en zijn visie voor elk nummer leert. Alles wordt direct op tape vastgelegd.
Het resultaat van de zomerse sessies uit 2017 verschijnt binnenkort op het album ‘Seven Day Blues’.
Het album opent met Talkin’ About You Baby, een Howlin’ Wolf-achtige droge jumpblues met fraaie gitaarlicks van Atkinson. In de shuffle Tired Of Doing Nothing klinkt voor het eerst de huilende mondharmonica van Troy Sandow uit de speakers. Chicagoblues van de bovenste plank. Een andere mondharmoniciaspeler, Bob Corritore, is te gast in de slowblues Why Do You Let Me Down So Hard. Na de swingende Sam Cooke-achtige soulblues Love And Appreciation gaat het er funky aan toe in het titelnummer Seven Day Blues.
Johnny Tucker bewijst in Come On Home With Me een uitstekende R&B zanger te zijn en gastgitarist Kid Ramos toont zijn niet geringe kwaliteiten in de opwindende jumpblues Tell You All, met Bob Welch op orgel. Troy Sandow’s mondharmonica huilt weer in de uptempo blues Something I Want To Tell You. Gonna Give You One More Chance is een smachtend gezongen slowblues met een strakke ritmesectie. Harmonicaspelers Corritore en Sandow zijn vervolgens weer prominent aanwezig in het funky I wanna Do It en de Jimmy Reed-achtige shuffle Do Right man. One of these days is een heerlijke bluesballad met de indringende zang van Tucker, het krachtige drumwerk en een spetterende gitaarsolo. De harpspelers trekken in het stomende I can’t Wait en in het Howlin’ Wolf-achtige Listen Everybody weer alles uit de kast.
En last but not least het prachtige slotakkoord You Can Leave My House. Een vette slowblues met de zware ritmesectie, harmonica, een bijtende gitaarsolo van Scott Smart en Johnny Tucker die zijn hele vocale ziel en zaligheid in dit nummer gooit.
‘Seven Day Blues’ is een fraai album met (h)eerlijke klassieke blues.
– Gerrit Schinkel
Elmore Magazine (February 7, 2018)
When traditional blues cats like Bob Corritore and Big Jon Atkinson get involved in a project, it demands attention simply because there is not enough of this kind of solid, traditional blues being played today. This time they collaborate with veteran bluesman Johnny Tucker, whose lineage traces back to the early ‘60s as a vocalist, and later a drummer, with Philip Walker’s band in Los Angeles. Remarkably, the old-school approach of this recording could just as easily be from that same time.
Tucker has a rather interesting backstory. Born as the tenth of nineteen siblings to a seasonal sharecropper and his wife, you tell right away that he’s lived the pain and experiences he sings about.
Although the album, his second for the label, was recorded in a series of sessions last year, all tracks were done live with all the musicians in one room. across the fifteen originals that Tucker penned for close to an hour of listening. Tucker is indeed the real deal—a blues shouter from a seemingly past era, smoother than, but still reminiscent at times of Howlin’ Wolf with his growls and shouts, urging on the players. Vaunted bluesmen Kid Ramos (one track) and Bob Welch (two tracks) join as well. Harmonicist Try Sandow handles six tunes while Corritore does five of them. Big Jon Atkinson not only plays guitar on eleven and bass on three, but served as producer and engineer. The core band also includes guitarist Scott Smart and drummers Malachi Johnson and Marty Dodson.
The album is a mix of a classic R&B sound and Chicago blues with a neo-retro Sun Studio-tube-amp feel that gives his “big as outdoors” vocals the warmth of the live setting. All musicians set up in one room with vintage gear while Tucker provided the vision for each song, and them captured directly, live to tape. Whether it’s the jump and shout of “Talkin’ About You Baby” or the Chicago blues of “Tired of Doing Nothing” or the greasy “Do-Right Man,” Tucker lays it all out there like the best of the raw, gritty bluesmen. Other highlights, (with no filler) are the title track and the slow burning anguished closer, “You Can Leave My House.” Bring on more Johnny Tucker. Seven days of blues is just not enough.
— Jim Hynes
Making The Scene (February 9, 2018)
Johnny Tucker was born to a sharecropper, the tenth of nineteen siblings. He is a self taught musician and learned by listening to Lowell Fulson and James Brown. He started singing with Phillip Walker and soon switched to the drums. He plays drums on Phillip Walker’s 1973 recording “The Bottom of The Top”. He also played with Floyd Dixon, The Five Royals and Johnny Copeland. He met James Thomas when they were both with Johnny Otis and in 1997 the duo of Tucker & Thomas recorded “Stranded”. In 2006 Tucker released his last album “Why You Lookin’ at Me” also on Highjohn Records.
This album was recorded live in 2017 during sessions at the Big Tone Studios in Hayward, California. Tucker is a true old-school blues vocalist. His band includes producer Big Jon Atkinson, guitar and bass; Bob Corritore, harmonica; Troy Sandow, harmonica and bass; Scott Smart, guitar; and Malachi Johnson or Marty Dodson, drums.
All of the songs have been written by Tucker. On “Talkin’ About You Baby”Tucker sounds like Howlin’ Wolf. Atkinson and Smart are both on guitar. Sandow is on bass and Johnson on drums.
Sandow plays some great harp on the shuffle “Tired of Doing Nothing” while Smart lays down some hot lead. The low down “Why Do You Let Me Down So Hard” and “I Wanna Do It” both feature Corritore on harp and Dodson on drums. On the title track “Seven Day Blues” harpist Sandow and guitarist Smart get into a funky groove.
On “Come On Home With Me” guitarist Atkinson plays some fine lead. “Tell You All” is a jump blues featuring west coast guitarist Kid Ramos and Bob Welch on organ. Welch plays again on “Love & Appreciation (to Georgia)” a Sam Cooke styled tune.
Tucker sounds like Jimmy Reed on both “Something I Want To Tell You” and“Do Right Man”. “Gonna Give You One More Chance” features Atkinson on lead and Smart playing rhythm. “One of These Days” just might be my favorite vocal.
The closer “You Can Leave My House Baby” contains the line “but please don’t take my heart”. It’s a great production with Sandow on harp; Smart on guitar; Atkinson on bass; and Johnson on drums.
When traditional blues is presented properly its beautiful. Tucker is a vocalist steeped in tradition. Throughout the recording he delivers the command performance of his life.
– Richard Ludmerer
Keys And Chords (February 11, 2018)
Johnny Tucker is het tiende kind dat werd geboren uit een gezin van negentien broers en zussen van een seizoensgebonden deelpachter en zijn vrouw. Zijn interesse in de blues muziek begon toen hij op de veranda ging luisteren naar de gitaarkunsten van zijn vader. Johnny begon met drummen en werd voor het eerst beïnvloed door het nummer ‘Black Night’ van Lowell Fulson. Hij leerde zichzelf muziek spelen door te luisteren naar platen van onder meer James Brown. In 1964 kwam Johnny voor het eerst naar Los Angeles en maakte er kennis met Phillip Walker. Later werd Tucker drummer bij Phillip Walker’s band en reisde de wereld rond. Onderweg speelde hij met andere grote artiesten zoals Floyd Dixon, Robert Cray, Johnny Otis, The Five Royals, Screamin ‘Jay Hawkins, Lowell Fulson en Johnny Copeland. Nu is zanger Johnny Tucker terug met een tweede album ‘Seven Day Blues’. De vijftien nieuwe old-school blues songs werden samen met Big Jon Atkinson en Scot Smart (gitaren), Troy Sandow (bas, harmonica) en drummer Malachi Johnson geregistreerd in de zomer van 2017 in de Big Tone Studios in Hayward, Californië. Het album is een rijkelijke schatkamer van klassieke R&B en Chicago blues beïnvloede songs. Johnny Tucker’s warme stem werd omringt door vintage versterkers. Het album opent met ‘Talkin’ About You baby’ en Tucker lijkt wel een Howlin’ Wolf reïncarnatie. De Chicago blues shuffle ‘Tired Of Doing Nothing’ en ‘Why Do You Let Me Down So Hard’ zijn overweldigende tracks. In het laatst genoemde nummer komt Bob Corritore zijn kunsten vertonen op zijn blues harp. Het soul beïnvloede ‘Love And Appreciation’ (To Georgia) komt Bob Welch met zijn keys in de spotlights. De titeltrack heeft een diepe funky ritmiek, net zoals het sterke R&B gefundeerde ‘Come On Home With Me’. Kid Ramos komt de band vervoegen met zijn rock gedreven West Coast bluesy gitaarriffs in ‘Tell You All’. Na de liefdesverklaring ‘Something I Want To Tell You’ komt Tucker ons met een 12/8 blues vergenoegen in ‘Gonna Give You One More Chance’. De vette shuffle uit ‘Do-Right Man’ en de ballade ‘One Of These Days’ zijn volgende chapiters op de release. Het Latin beïnvloede ‘I Can’t Wait’ is zelfs ingekleurd met activerende slidegitaar. In het gospel geïnfluenceerde ‘Listen Everybody’ neemt Tucker ons mee naar zijn kerkgemeenschap. Het afsluitende ‘You Can Leave My House’ groeit langzaam maar gestaag uit tot een culminatiepunt. De release ‘Seven Day Blues’ is nu al een van de beste albums anno 2018!
– Philip Verhaege
Sound Guardian (Croatia) (February 18, 2018)
“Seven Day Blues” novi je studijski album Johnnyja Tuckera, kojeg je 16. veljače objavila izdavačka kuća Highjohn Records, dok distribucija ide preko City Hall Records. A do mene ovaj album stigao je zahvaljujući Blind Raccoon.
Ovih 15 pjesama snažno odašilje poruku istinskog, stvarnog bluesa, koji svojom snagom i direktnošću “ubija!” U maniri velikih i legendarnih blues majstora, Johnny Tucker nam predaje svoju životnu priču. Nema se tu što puno filozofirati, s ovog albuma Johnny Tucker nam neposredno predaje svoje srce i dušu, daje nam sebe i svoje viđenje prezentacije bluesa. Njegov snažan i opor vokal vuče ka soulu, no nije pravilo, jer svako malo taj glas itekako puca i paše bluesu. Tome posebno pridonosi velika umješnost Big Jona Atkinsona, koji teži i snažno preferira taj “vintage sound.” Sadržaj albuma garanitra istinsku uživanciju u slušanju i preslušavanju i kao da nas odnosi i postavlja u snažne tradicionalne okvire ovog glazbenog stila iz prošlog stoljeća.
Kao deseto dijete u obitelji od devetnaestoro braće i sestara, trebalo se itekako pomučiti da se izboriš za svoje mjesto, da opstaneš i da se ne utopiš u nekoj prosječnosti. Glazbu je Johnny upijao slušajući oca kako svira gitaru i pjeva njegovoj majci. Krenuo je svirati bubnjeve pod utjecajem albuma “Black Knight” Lowella Fulsona. Dalje je tu neosporan utjecaj Jamesa Browna a kada je 1964. stigao u Los Angeles pridružio se poznatom pjevaču Phillipu Walkeru i s njim nastupao pune 34 godine. Pored Walkera, Johnny je radio i s Floydom Dixonom, Robertom Crayjom, Johnnyjem Otisom, Screamin ‘Jay Hawkinsom, Lowellom Fulsonom i Johnnyjem Copelandom. Sve to imalo je svoje zašto, jer, eto, danas može s velikim ponosom i zadovoljstvom potpisivati upravo ovakve albume, poput predmetnog “Seven Day Blues”.
Ako oko sebe okuplja ovako “strašnu” ekipu – Big Jon Atkinson (gitara, bas gitara), Bob Corritore (usna harmonika), Kid Ramos (gitara), Troy Sandow (usna harmonika, bas gitara), Scott Smart (gitara, bas gitara), Malachi Johnson (bubnjevi), Marty Dodson (bubnjevi) i Bob Welch (orgulje) – Johnny itekako vrijedi i ima ogroman renome i potencijal. I opet, postavlja se ono pitanje, kako to da se do sada nisam susretao s njegovm glazbom. Da, doista je to frustrirajuće, kada se svako malo susrećem s izvođačem koji iza sebe ima ogromni glazbeni rad i djelovanje, ali sve do sada jednostavno nije bio predmet bilo kakve objave. Ako znamo da je Johnny nastupao u Americi, Kanadi i Europi s poznatim glazbenikom Johnnyjem Otisom i u pratećem bendu upoznao Jamesa “Broadway” Thomasa te s njim objavio album “Stranded”, da, to nam je jasni dokaz da je johnny uvijek otvoren za svaku suradnju i da tu nema nikakvih problema.
Bob Auerbach udružio se s Big Jonom Atkinsonom s gore spomenutom ekipom u “Big Tone Studios” u Haywardu, a u ljeto prošle godine odradili su snimanje. Ti studijski “sessioni” rezultiraju nastankom 15 skladbi koje su ušle na album “Seven Day Blues”. Album je bez ikakve sumnje snažna pjesmarica klasika R&B i chicago-bluesa s izuzetno snažnim “neo-retro soundom”. Naravno, središte svega je upravo Johnny Tucker, koji svojim vokalom boji svaku pojedinu skladbu i upućuje nas da ga slušamo kako to sjajno radi uz izvanrednu glazbenu pratnju benda.
Teško da ću vam izdvojiti bilo koju pjesmu… Jednostavno morate slušati cijeli album i kada na kraju čujete zadnje dvije, vjerujem da ćete i sami shvatiti da jednostavno morate krenuti ispočetka. Doista snažno, osebujno i prosto nevjerojatno glazbeno djelo, koje kao da je nastalo u kasnim četrdesetima i ranim pedesetima prošloga stoljeća. I kako to samo gordno zvuči. Izuzetno! Izvanredno!
“Seven Day Blues” Johnnyja Tuckera nije album za blues početnike, ali svakako mora biti i postati prije ili kasnije obvezna lektira da bi se išlo dalje. “Old school blues”, koji nam donosi onu istinsku bit ovog glazbenog stila. Ta bit, ta srž znači da je blues u potpunosti obuzeo slušatelja, da ga on razumije i da je ovakva glazba zapravo dio njega. Slušatelj tada zna da tu nema muljanja, ta je to blues za cijelu vječnost!
Jučer, danas i sutra blues je uvijek tu i uvijek će i biti i to upravo zahvaljujući ovakvim albumima. A albumi kao što je “Seven Day Blues” Johnnyja Tuckera jednostavno morate imati u svojoj fonoteci. Kredibiliteta radi!
Reflections In Blue (February 2018)
One of 19 children born to sharecroppers, Johnny became interested in music, listening to his father play guitar for his mother. He taught himself to play drums by playing along to the music on records. His earliest influences were Lowell Fulson and James Brown. He moved to Los Angeles in 1964, where he connected up with Phillip Walker’s band as a featured singer. Later he would become the drummer, traveling the world with the band for the next 34 years. During his travels he played with a number of notable artist including Floyd Dixon, Robert Cray, The Five Royals, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Lowell Fulson and Johnny Copeland. In 1997, while playing with Johnny Otis, he met James “Broadway” Thomas, with whom he recorded an album titled Stranded. In 2006, Tucker recorded Why You Lookin’ Ay Me?, on HighJohn Records. Now, he is back, with his second album for the label, Seven Day Blues. This time he is accompanied by some of the finest performers of today, including Big John Atkinson on guitar & bass, Bob Corritore on harmonica, Kid Ramos on guitar (7), Troy Sandow on harmonica & bass, Scott Smart on guitar & bass (8), Malachi Johnson & Marty Dodson sharing responsibilities on drums and Bob Welch 0n organ (4, 7). All songs were written by Johnny Tucker, who does vocals throughout the album. While Seven Day Blues was recorded in a series of sessions in 2017, great care was taken to maintain the sound and integrity of an album recorded in the old-school tradition. It was, without question, a great success. This album has all of the warmth and seamless interaction of a recording done in a bygone era. The blues world is a strange conglomeration of young people schooled on the modern technology and remnants of the old-school who had performed with, and studied at the feet of those we now call legends or Old Masters. Then, there are those who came up in a time when they were able to have the best of both worlds. This is an amazing recording. In all honesty, it could have done in the 1950s, or even earlier. The term “Real Deal” is used far too often…so often, in fact, that it has lost all meaning. In this case, however, it does apply. Johnny Tucker is every bit the real deal. This is a blend of straight blues and R&B that will get both your mind and your feet working. This is a recording that belongs on the shelf of every true blues lover.
– Bill Wilson
Zicazic (France) (February 23, 2018)
Il est le dixième enfant d’une famille de métayers qui en a eu en tout dix-neuf et c’est en entendant son père jouer de la guitare pour sa mère devant leur maison que Johnny Tucker a pour la première fois été touché par le blues. Commençant son apprentissage de la musique par la batterie, le jeune homme trouvera son inspiration dans les titres de Lowell Fulson puis de James Brown avant de commencer à collaborer avec Floyd Dixon, Robert Cray, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins et autres Johnny Copeland pendant une carrière qui dure depuis plus d’une cinquantaine d’années en tout et pour tout. Après avoir proposé un premier effort personnel en 2006, Johnny Tucker a récemment remis son métier sur l’ouvrage pour nous offrir cette fois un véritable trésor qui transpire le blues et qui rassemble une quinzaine de titres enregistrés à l’ancienne, en live et avec le cœur. Accompagné de Big Jon Atkinson et Scott Smart aux guitares, Troy Sandow et Bob Corritore aux harmonicas, Malachi Johnson et Marty Dodson à la batterie, Bob Welch à l’orgue et Kid Ramos en guest sur un titre, Johnny Tucker a ainsi multiplié les sessions et en a chaque fois retiré le meilleur pour en arriver à une pure merveille tant au niveau des voix que des instrumentations plus formidables les unes que les autres. Avec un son qui fleure bon le feeling des early sixties mais avec en prime une qualité technique irréprochable, « Seven Day Blues » nous transporte au travers de quinze pièces originales dans une sorte de best of de Johnny Tucker, une œuvre à la fois intemporelle et indispensable au cours de laquelle on croisera des diamants comme « Tired Of Doing Nothing », « Come On Home With Me », « Gonna Give You One More Chance », « I Can’t Wait » ou encore « You Can Leave My House », autant de merveilles qui représentent de la plus belle des manières l’archétype du blues. L’album qu’il faut avoir absolument !
Mary4Music.com (February 2018)
Over the past few years, several older and seasoned veterans of the blues have resurfaced with new releases that feature them teaming up with some of the genre’s current crop of younger, well known and outstanding artists. The latest of those living legends to do so is Mr. Johnny Tucker. Having played with late greats like Lowell Fulson; Phillip Walker; Floyd Dixon; Johnny Otis; and Johnny Copeland; Johnny Tucker’s latest release – “Seven Day Blues” – now has him teaming up with: Big Jon Atkinson on guitar and bass; Kid Ramos on guitar; Bob Corritore on harmonica; Troy Sandow on harmonica and bass; Scott Smart on guitar and bass; Malachi Johnson and Marty Dodson on drums; Kedar Roy on bass; and Bob Welch on organ. The disc contains fifteen of Johnny’s originals, which all feature him on the vocals.
The album’s mission statement is that although these vintage recordings were recently recorded under very modern conditions, they should still have an old school feel. Thanks to the masterful work of Big Jon Atkinson, that mission was accomplished.
The disc opens with a quick two-minute track titled “Talkin’ About You Baby”. In spite of it being short on time, it was long enough for Big Jon and Scott to impress on their tandem guitar work; long enough for Malachi and Troy to get into a tight rhythm groove; and long enough for me to be thinking “welcome back Johnny” as I listened to Mr. Tucker belting out some blues.
“Why Do You Let Me Down So Hard?” is smoking, slow blues at its very best. The question the title asks could be the very reason Johnny’s singing these blues. And from the pain and suffering embodied in his vocals, he was obviously let down real hard. Along with emotional and melancholy vocals, these are the kind of blues that are tailor made for stinging guitar and scorching harmonica licks, and they don’t get much more stinging and much more scorching than what Big Jon and Bob are laying down.
Although “Come On Home With Me” sounds like it could be Johnny trying to close the deal with a lady, in actuality it’s quite the contrary. It’s more of a plea for his lady to return home to be with him. A lonely Johnny is not a happy Johnny. It’s a foot tappin’ shuffle featuring precision note pickin’ by Big Jon on the guitar, and a strong rhythm performance led by some awesome drum work from Marty.
This particular track is the only one that Kid Ramos appears on and it’s just one of the two that Bob Welch appears on. That right there is reason enough to want to give a listen to “Tell You All”. With Marty and Kedar (also his only appearance on bass) in a tight groove alongside him, the driving force behind the rhythm here is Bob on the organ. Midway through the song he and Kid step it up on an organ/guitar lead that I would have liked about another five more minutes of.
“I’m Gonna Give You One More Chance” is another slow blues masterpiece. With the rhythm guys doing their usual tight thing, the song features some of the disc’s best vocals and guitar work. Johnny’s shoutin’, growlin’ and howling the hell out of the blues and Big Jon is killin’ it on the slow, scorching, string bending blues licks. Wow!
The same as above can be said for “One Of These Days”. That said, it’s becoming obvious to me that right about now I may be listening to a candidate in several of next year’s Blues Music Award categories. Should that happen, remember you heard it here first.
Other excellent material on this excellent release includes: “Tired Of Doing Nothing”, “Love And Appreciation (To Georgia)”, “Seven Day Blues”, “Something I Want To Tell You”, “I Wanna Do It”, “Do-Right Man”, “I Can Wait”, “Listen Everybody” and “You Can Leave My House”.
To get your hands on a copy of “Seven Day Blues” for airplay, just get a hold of Betsie Brown by visiting http://www.blindraccoon.com and to find out more about Johnny Tucker you can go to the record labels website at http://www.highjohnrecords.com. Wherever you go and whomever you contact, just make sure they know the Blewzzman sent you, please.
– Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro