Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Johnny ADAMS - Walking On A Tightrope: The Songs of Percy Mayfield 1989
ZENSOR ZS 89
New Orleans soul and blues legend Adams is a good fit for this tribute to singer/songwriter Percy Mayfield, as Mayfield's songs can be seen as inhabiting a territory somewhere between jazz and rock & roll. Here, for example, the title song, with its dual guitar interplay, clearly leans toward the rock end of the spectrum, while "Lost Mind," with its snappy big-band arrangement, tends toward jazz, and "My Heart Is Hanging Heavy" is unambiguously blues. Some of these songs should be familiar from Ray Charles' '60s versions, but Adams, as is his wont, makes them his own, negotiating the stylistic changes of pace with passion and his usual magisterial phrasing. He's clearly enjoying himself throughout, and it's infectious.
Johnny Adams might not be well known he is still one of the best hidden treasure of New Orleans music. Mr Adams has a fantastic voice in all kind of register, he can sing a ballad like the cool Jazz cats but also sing a very deep and sad blues. He has a great swing and is often imitating saxophones or trumpet solos with his voice. On this album which is entirely devoted to the great Percy Mayfield he demonstrate his talent. Every song seems to be his own life and "Danger Zone" or "Walkin on a tightrope" are among the best blues tracks where he is backed with a terrific band including the most ptalented New Orleans musicans including Vidakovitch on drums and Jon Cleary a wonderful piano playe (in Fess tradition and beyond). the guitar work of Walter "wolfman" washington is a must for every blues guitarist.
By J. Dangy.
Whenever Johnny Adams does a repertory album, it's as much his own showcase as a forum for the spotlighted composer. Even Percy Mayfield's lyrically brilliant works didn't hamper Adams from displaying his special magic; his treatments on the session's ten tunes ranged from excellent to magnificent. Adams was gripping on "My Heart Is Hangin' Heavy," nicely bemused on "The Lover and the Married Woman" and convincing on the title track and "Danger Zone." Although he's done numerous Rounder vehicles, Adams hasn't yet turned in a dud.
Johnny Adams- (Vocals);
Duke Robillard, Walter W. Washington- (Guitar);
Bill "Foots" Samuel- (Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone Sax);
Amadee Castanell- (tenor Sax);
Terry Tullos, James Spells- (Trumpet);
Ernie Gautreau- (Trombone);
Jon Cleary- (Piano);
James Singleton- (Bass);
Johnny Vidacovich- (Drums).
A1. Walking on a Tightrope 5:45
A2. Lost Mind 3:17
A3. Stand By 3:24
A4. My Heart Is Hangin' Heavy 4:23
A5. Danger Zone 4:58
B1. Never No More 2:50
B2. The Lover and the Married Woman 5:21
B3. You're in for a Big Surprise 4:38
B4. Look the Whole World Over 4:16
B5. Baby Please 4:17