Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Feel It Advent-ure 2020: Door 20

Arriving at the Ts in the boxes I am presented with a surfeit of Taylors. There is Debbie, and Gloria, and Little Johnny, and Johnnie, and Josephine, and R Dean, and Ted.

So a Taylor it is. Most of these artists have appeared at least once here before but I will choose Johnnie as considering he is one of my favourite male vocalists I feel he has been a little under-represented. Or so I thought. I just looked it up and found that actually he has had his fair share of posts. No matter.

My son asked me recently if I knew of, and liked, Johnnie Taylor. (His question had been prompted by the Mercedes ad that has been run on British TV in recent months. He had added that track to a Spotify playlist of Soul music he and a couple of his friends had started. My son's musical taste has many overlaps with my own it seems). I put him in the picture re my enduring love of JT, it goes all the back to around 1973 in all probability.

Just The One I've Been Looking For, which is the the track featured in that Mercedes ad, was a B side of a 1966 Stax 45 and is not in my collection. I have been looking for a copy but it is proving very elusive. Looking at Discogs it seems there may never have been many copies in circulation but it was nevertheless “cheap as chips” when it did appear for sale. The ad would appear to have changed that. I have not seen a copy actively for sale on Discogs for the most of this year I have been looking. When they pop up they must sell immediately and the last two sold on the 'ogs went for $30 each. The power of advertising.

It transpires quite a few of JT's singles in my box have had an airing hereabouts. So time to produce an album track. I hadn't been aware of his 1977 album Reflections until a couple of years ago when I stumbled across a copy on ebay for a £1 – couldn't pass that up! Being 1977 I was half expecting a certain gloss to the production, a commerciality, and at least a few disco slanted tracks, but no, it's JT at his finest singing straight soul numbers with sympathetic arrangements. A pleasant surprise. It was an odd release really, he had left Columbia and this was his only outing on RCA. Soon after he would find a spiritual home at Malaco. Here is the atmospheric closing track on the album, it has quite an unusual arrangement, and Johnnie is in fine form.

Johnnie Taylor – Forgive And Forget 1977 

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