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

Renee Geyer: You Broke a Beautiful Thing (1999)

Renee Geyer: You Broke a Beautiful Thing (1999)

Lord knows some artists can be "difficult" -- and many of those who have tried to interview Australian Renee Geyer (never my doubtful pleasure) have returned chastened, frustrated and... > Read more

Steve Hillage: Hurdy Gurdy Man (1979)

Steve Hillage: Hurdy Gurdy Man (1979)

True story of my first experience with this track off Steve Hillage's double live album Live Herald which appeared at the peak of punk/New Wave era when men with long hair, beards, bell bottoms and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Quick Red Pepper Dip

Quick Red Pepper Dip

This is one of the best ways to get kids to eat vegetables - you'll have to be in quick if you want a bite! Ready in 25 minutes, serves six. INGREDIENTS 1 red pepper 1/2 Tbsp chopped... > Read more

Gladys Knight: Talent with talons

Gladys Knight: Talent with talons

Press conferences are a waste of time and no sensible journalist entertains them. Ask your best question and everyone else gets the great answer. And if you are a print journalist those lazy... > Read more