Sep 17, 2016

RhoDeo 1637 Grooves

Hello,  some of Prince's wake today...

Today's artist is an Illinois-born rock/funk/soul guitarist who began playing guitar when he was 15, honing his chops in local rock bands throughout his teens and early twenties. On a friend's recommendation, he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he became the lead guitarist and a primary songwriter for the city's extraordinary funk-rock group, the Time. After writing "Jungle Love," the group's most memorable and highest-charting single, he signed a solo deal with A&M in 1984 and released Jesse Johnson's Revue the following year. ..... N'joy

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Johnson was born in Rock Island, Illinois. He moved to St. Louis at the age of nine and was raised by foster parents after his parents split up. At age 16 he moved back to Rock Island to live with his father Jackwood Johnson. Johnson began playing guitar when he was 15, honing his chops in local rock bands such as Treacherous Funk, Pilot, and Dealer, throughout his teens and early twenties. On a friend's recommendation, he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1981, where he met Morris Day and played briefly in Day's band which was called Enterprise. He then became the lead guitarist for the funk rock group, The Time.

Although Prince basically recorded the first two Time albums on his own with Morris Day, Johnson did contribute to the Vanity 6 project with a song called "Bite The Beat" co-written with Prince. On The Time's third album, Ice Cream Castle, Johnson contributed to the smash singles "The Bird" and "Jungle Love" (the group's most memorable single), which were helped by the popularity of the Purple Rain film.

However, at the height of The Time's popularity following Purple Rain, Johnson left the band and with the help of Manager Owen Husney signed a solo deal with A&M Records in 1984 and released Jesse Johnson's Revue the following year. This album featured two other former members of The Time in Johnson's backing band, keyboardist Mark Cardenas and bassist Jerry Hubbard. Three songs were released from the album: "Be Your Man", "Can You Help Me" and "I Want My Girl", the much-slept-on slow song about a fateful relationship. Then came the popular funk non-album outing "Free World". Shockadelica containing the hit "Crazay", the duet with Sly Stone, and Every Shade of Love followed over the next three years, building on the inventive, elaborate sound he forged with The Time. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s Johnson also featured on the soundtracks to The Breakfast Club (contributing "Heart Too Hot To Hold", a duet with Stephanie Spruill), Pretty In Pink, Another 48 Hrs. and White Men Can't Jump.

Johnson has produced a wide variety of artists, most notable are TaMara and the Seen, After 7, Paula Abdul, Da Krash, Kool Skool, Janet Jackson, Debbie Allen, Cheryl Lynn, and Les Rita Mitsouko. By 1990 The Time reformed and issued Pandemonium, which was even more of a group effort than Ice Cream Castle. The album allowed Johnson to contribute his heavy hard rock guitar sound to several tracks.

After the band dissolved once again, Johnson remained in the background for several years, quietly contributing to soundtracks and other artists. His music he recorded for the film A Time To Kill was not released on the soundtrack but can be heard in the film. Finally in 1996, Johnson released another album, Bare My Naked Soul on the Dinosaur Entertainment label. The album was a departure from his funk-filled albums from the 1980s and instead verged into blues and hard rock. It is considered to be the true guitar album that Johnson fans had wanted from him since the beginning of his career.

Four years later, the highlights of Johnson's solo albums were collected on 2000's Ultimate Collection, the album includes B-sides, 12" versions, album tracks, and one previously unreleased song called "Vibe". After a nearly 14-year absence from the music scene, Johnson released a new double album Verbal Penetration Volumes 1 and 2 on October 27, 2009.

In February 2012, Johnson served as house guitarist behind a host of all-star blues musicians in the PBS special "In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues". Other members of the house band included Booker T. Jones, Bobby Ross Avila, Narada Michael Walden, Ernie Fields, Jr., Freddie Hendrix and Fred Wesley. Performers included B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Keb Mo, Trombone Shorty and Gary Clark, Jr..

More recently, he has been playing in D'Angelo's band The Vanguard.

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In 1984, the breakup of the Time came as a major disappointment to funk lovers -- after all, Morris Day and company had provided some of the most exciting funk of the early '80s. Like Day, Jesse Johnson wasted no time launching a solo career; he signed with A&M as a solo artist in 1984, and his first solo effort, Jesse Johnson's Revue, came out the following year. Anyone who was expecting the singer/guitarist to get away from the Minneapolis sound and try something different was in for a letdown; all of the material is quite derivative of Prince and the Time. A pop/rock classic, "I Want My Girl" is easily the best thing on the album. But most of the material, although decent, isn't earth-shattering -- Johnson spends much of his time recycling the keyboard funk of Prince and the Time. That isn't to imply that Jesse Johnson's Revue isn't enjoyable; rock-influenced rock tracks like "She Won't Let Go" and "Can You Help Me" are infectious, if formulaic and less imaginative than Johnson's work with the Time. Johnson was, in 1985, capable of a lot more -- and you were in for a letdown if you expected this album to be as ambitious as Prince's 1999. But while Jesse Johnson's Revue isn't a masterpiece, it's a record that's easily to like if you're a die-hard fan of Minneapolis funk-rock.

Jesse Johnson - Jesse Johnson's Revue    (flac  250mb)

01 Be Your Man 6:49
02 I Want My Girl 4:46
03 She Won't Let Go 3:30
04 Just Too Much 6:32
05 Let's Have Some Fun 5:01
06 Can You Help Me 5:22
07 Special Love 4:25
08 She's A Doll 4:58

Jesse Johnson - Jesse Johnson's Revue  (ogg   96mb)

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This was the 2nd album from Jesse Johnson (dropping the Revue on his first). It featured a successful single Crazay featuring Sly Stone. It also features some nice tracks that were featured on his greatest hits collection like Black In America, and She I Can't Resist which was a nice number (Rozie Perez can be seen on Soul Train doing a nice choreographed dace to this track). Another stand out was the remake of Pepe Willie's Do Yourself A Favor also done by Prince in similar fashion (his went unreleased).

Jesse Johnson - Shockadelica   (flac  245mb)

01 Change Your Mind 4:07
02 Crazay 3:59
03 Baby Let's Kiss 3:40
04 A Better Way 3:53
05 Do Yourself A Favor 3:55
06 She (I Can't Resist) 4:50
07 Addiction 4:12
08 Tonite 4:00
09 Burn You Up 4:22
10 Black In America 2:53

Jesse Johnson - Shockadelica  (ogg  100mb)

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An all-time, Hall of Fame, take-no-prisoners rock guitar meisterwerk....whether or not you've ever heard of it. Meet Jesse Johnson, who I never much cared for in his previous incarnations: with The Time, his own Revue, or his solo debut Shockadelica. I always felt Jesse was pushing that Prince connection too hard, mimicking that sound too closely, and downplaying his guitar at every turn. Then allofasudden and outta nowhere comes this album, Every Shade Of Love. The Prince influences are still there, but finally Jesse plugs in and lets loose! The first track, 'Lovestruck', throbs with sweat-glistening funk, until 2/3 of the way in when Jesse explodes with the nastiest extended solo this side of Hendrix, Beck and Trower. You'll need to change your pants after hearing it. But the next song, 'So Misunderstood', actually ups the level of intensity, with Jesse bombarding you with distorted licks and crazed lead-lines from start to finish. It's difficult for words to convey just how mind-bending this guy's playing is on these tracks, but they instantly lifted him up to my personal Guitar Olympus. Even though the rest of the album settles into more-familiar material -funk and ballads, nicely crafted - nobody who's ever heard this album can get past those first two songs. You love all-out guitar madness? You want this album, my friends.

Jesse Johnson - Every Shade Of Love   (flac 240mb)

01 Love Struck 5:18
02 So Misunderstood 6:08
03 I'm The One 4:51
04 Color Shock 3:43
05 Every Shade Of Love 4:44
06 Everybody Wants Somebody To Love 3:49
07 I'm Just Wanting You 5:43
08 Stop Look Listen 3:30

Jesse Johnson - Every Shade Of Love (ogg  96mb)

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In the first track (akin to Hendrix's "...and the gods made love") JJ speaks the distorted words, "it's more like I'm trying to do something a bit more guitar . . . you know, just total guitar" and even that doesn't sum up the album entirely.

Jesse Johnson is one talented musician. Not only does he play guitar and sing on virtually every track, he also plays bass (even 12 String), percussion and drums on the album. Oh, not to mention that he wrote every track, arranged and produced it too. The Production, I will have you know is Top class too. In his day, Jesse has produced the likes of Janet Jackson and Sheila E to name but two. I expect that Jesse has been solely producing over the past decade as there has been no output from him over that period. BUT, I have just found out that a new album is due out this year. That is a mouth-watering thought. I hope, and I am sure that it will be a continuation of his guitar heroism feats shown on "Bare My Naked Soul". As a fan of Classic guitar Blues and Rock, it is the norm to try and accumulate all the output of your Rock Icon. In Jesse's case, it is very different. His previous releases are definitely in the Glitzy Prince mould, and appeal to a completely different type of fan. I am led to believe that Jesse's dramatic change in style lost him many of his original fans, and that is perhaps the reason this Album is not huge. It's a sad fact in music life.

The album contains 2 Heavily influenced Hendrix Spaced out instrumentals (Jupiter Landing and Nevermind Saturn Sunrise); 6 Top notch Hard Rock classics (Bare My Naked Soul/My Life/Let Me In/Walk Like Me Talk/Shock To The System and the chestnut that is Brand New Day); 1 superb Albert King influenced Blues Track (Bring Your Love Down Hard On Me); 2 tracks in the Funk genre (Monica and War Babies) and 5 softer heartfelt, mostly acoustical (incl some superb 12 string playing) ballads in the form of (I Miss/You Don't Love Me The Same/Cry Like The Skies/Mr Heartache and Bella Bella). Even Billy Cox (Ex Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsies) makes an appearance on Let Me In. I was highly impressed with the musicianship, and most notably the backing vocals of Kim Gage who features prominently. As has been mentionned, there is the obvious comparison of Hendrix and Prince, and it works beautifully. There isn't another musician around like him, and this album release is an absolute gem..

Jesse Johnson - Bare My Naked Soul   (flac 505mb)

01 Jupiter Landing 0:16
02 Bare My Naked Soul 5:12
03 My Life 5:13
04 I Miss 4:46
05 Let Me In 4:47
06 You Don't Love Me The Same 4:25
07 Walk Like Me Talk 4:57
08 Shock To The System 5:51
09 Cry Like The Skies 4:31
10 Brand New Day 5:34
11 War Babies 5:32
12 Mr. Heartache 5:28
13 Bella Bella 4:06
14 Bring Your Love Down Hard On Me 5:03
15 Monika 3:48
16 Nevermind Saturn Sunrise 4:15

Jesse Johnson - Bare My Naked Soul (ogg  182mb)

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Francois Villaret said...

Jesse Johnson - Shockadelica (1986)
Dead ogg link.

Francois Villaret said... well as the ogg link for Jesse Johnson - Every Shade Of Love.
Thanks for your attention.

Music Fnatic said...

Thank you for helping me grow my collection. Just an FYI, the ogg links for Shockadelica and Every Shade of Love are down, and both FLAC and ogg links for Bare My Naked Soul as well.