Johnny Guitar Watson: Funk Beyond the Call of Duty (1977)

 |   |  1 min read

Johnny Guitar Watson: Funk Beyond the Call of Duty (1977)

By the time Johnny Guitar Watson made the album of which this was the title track, he was 42, had been on about 15 different labels and had really paid his dues: he'd started recording at 17, been something of an r'n'b star in the Fifties and by the Seventies had edged his way to streetcorner funk.

He pioneered feedback on Space Guitar in '54, was the original Gangster of Love (in 1958, a gold record for Steve Miller when he covered it), in the mid Sixties hooked up with songwriter Larry Williams (they produced Beatle Time Parts 1 & 2), produced sessions for Cannonball Adderley, recorded with uber-fan Frank Zappa, started getting awards and recognition in the early Seventies, his album Ain't That a Bitch in '76 was a soul funk classic . . .

Yet for many he remained well off the radar. Most only heard of him when he collapsed and died on stage in Japan in '96.

But guitar players knew who he was and his influence was felt by Zappa, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Steve Miller, Sly Stone, George Clinton . . .

Watson wasn't without humour either and on this cut he funks around with a martial beat, but it's all in the bassline, stinging guitar funk and funky synth. He played them all (plus Hammond, congas and other percussion) -- as well as sang.funk

And of course wrapped it up in a very cheap and silly cover which looks like it was shot in half an hour.

Still, Johnny didn't have time to waste: he had to produce, arrange, sing, play, tour . . . 

He was busy being a funk-star who went beyond the call of duty.. 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band: The Intro and the Outro (1967)

Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band: The Intro and the Outro (1967)

Few indie.rock followers would perhaps know the band Death Cab for Cutie took their name from a song by this group of musical surrealists, the song of that name appearing in the Beatles' Magical... > Read more

Bob Dylan: You Belong To Me (1994)

Bob Dylan: You Belong To Me (1994)

The idea of "possessing" your lover isn't a pleasant thought these days: the subtext is spousal abuse, just plain creepy stuff and not a few killings you read about on page five. But... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

UNKNOWN PLEASURES; INSIDE JOY DIVISION read by PETER HOOK (8CD set)

UNKNOWN PLEASURES; INSIDE JOY DIVISION read by PETER HOOK (8CD set)

Over eight and half hours in a box of eight discs, here Joy Division bassist Peter Hook tells his own story -- and his own meat'n'potatoes version of the band's career -- which is compellingly... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . MARNI NIXON: The voice of the famous faces

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . MARNI NIXON: The voice of the famous faces

When the American singer Marni Nixon died in July 2016, her passing was barely noted in the music press. Major newspapers like the New York Times weighed in with obituaries, but the silence from... > Read more