CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


Please email me at Info@Bmansbluesreport.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Is It Because I Am Black - Syl Johnson


Syl Johnson (born July 1, 1936) is an American blues and soul singer and record producer.
Born Sylvester Thompson in Holly Springs, Mississippi, United States, he migrated with his family to Chicago in 1950; blues guitarist Magic Sam was his next-door neighbor. Johnson sang and played with blues artists Magic Sam, Billy Boy Arnold, Junior Wells and Howlin' Wolf in the 1950s, before recording with Jimmy Reed for Vee-Jay in 1959. He made his solo debut that same year with Federal, a subsidiary of King Records of Cincinnati, backed by Freddie King on guitar.

He then began recording for Twinight Records of Chicago in the mid 1960s. Beginning with his first hit, "Come On Sock It to Me" in 1967, Johnson dominated the label as both a hitmaker and producer. His song "Different Strokes", also from 1967, featured on the Ultimate Breaks and Beats breakbeat compilation.

Like other black songwriters of the period, several of his records at this time explored themes of African-American identity and social problems in songs including "Is It Because I'm Black", which reached Number 11 in the US Billboard R&B chart in 1969.

In 1971, Willie Mitchell brought Johnson to Hi Records, the two recording three albums which spawned a number of singles. Produced in Memphis with the Hi house band, these yielded the hits "We Did It", "Back for a Taste of Your Love" and "Take Me to the River", his biggest success, reaching Number 7 on the R&B chart in 1975. However, at Hi Records, Johnson was always to some extent in Al Green's shadow commercially, if not artistically. Mitchell also chose to use mainly in-house material rather than Johnson originals.

After the Hi years ended, Johnson produced two LPs for his own Shama label, the latter of which (Ms. Fine Brown Frame, 1982) was picked up for distribution by Boardwalk Records and produced Johnson's last hit record, the title cut.

Around the mid-1980s, Johnson started a fast-food fish restaurant business, and became semi-retired from performing, only making occasional appearances at blues club gigs.

In 1992, Johnson found out that his song "Different Strokes" had been sampled by number of rappers including Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy, Kool G Rap, Hammer, and the Geto Boys. Stimulated by this fact, he decided to make a comeback in the music industry. In 1994, he released the album Back in the Game on Delmark Records. The album featured the Hi rhythm section and his youngest daughter Syleena Johnson.

Blues guitarist and singer Jimmy Johnson, and bassist Mack Thompson are his brothers.
Like my Facebook Page, Post your video on my Wall or post your Photos of great blues events! Share your favorite posting and get more exposure for your favorites band! - ”LIKE”

No comments:

Post a Comment