Young John Watson: Space Guitar (1954)

 |   |  1 min read

Young John Watson: Space Guitar (1954)

It's become common to hail Fifties out-there guitarists like surf king Dick Dale, Link Wray and others . . . but the man who became the great Johnny "Guitar" Watson has been somewhat sidelined.

In the mid-to-late Seventies this journeyman -- who had done the hard roads with Little Richard, the wonderful rock'n'roll/soul shouter Larry Williams, Johnny Otis and many other greats -- toned down his incendiary playing (just a bit) and started flicking out terrific albums in the dancefloor/pre-disco era like Ain't That a Bitch ('76) and Elsewhere's personal favourite Funk Beyond the Call of Duty the following year.

Watson could do it all -- old school and new soul, blues, funk, r'n'b, disco-dance etc -- and his admirers included everyone from Etta James and Bobby Womack to Frank Zappa, Pearl Jam and Steve Miller  . . . and beyond.

And Watson -- who died in Japan '96 while touring, age 61 -- was an exceptional singer alongside his cross-genre guitar playing.

But it's the latter on display here, many years before others . . . and if you know the reference hear how he quotes from the theme to the TV show Dragnet.

In this miniature - which anticipates Hendrix/BB King/Ennio Morricone/Telstar -- he also throws in a little pre-Peter Frampton for y'all when he makes his machine talk.

And . . . he was just 19 at the time . . . which is why Johnny Guitar Watson was billed as "Young John Watson" on this single.

But even then he was a Guitar, Beyond The Call of Duty. 

For more one-off, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory check the daily postings at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Graeme Gash: Watching Television (1981)

Graeme Gash: Watching Television (1981)

Posting a From the Vaults song off the Waves album of 1975 (here) was almost more trouble than it was worth. There was so much off-line (ie. e-mail) traffic along the lines of, "Loved that... > Read more

The Great! Society: Somebody to Love (1966)

The Great! Society: Somebody to Love (1966)

There were at least three different versions of this psychedelic classic which is best known in its third incarnation by Jefferson Airplane. But the song dated back to before that '66 single/album... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JIMI HENDRIX: THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE BOX SET (2000): Get experienced, but differently

JIMI HENDRIX: THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE BOX SET (2000): Get experienced, but differently

It should be easy to get together a thorough Jimi Hendrix collection. After all, his recording career lasted fewer than four years. Presumably, all you'd need would be his exceptional debut... > Read more

LISA MARIE PRESLEY REMEMBERED (2015): A child of her time

LISA MARIE PRESLEY REMEMBERED (2015): A child of her time

Mercer Ellington did it, so did two of Sinatra's kids Frank Jnr and Nancy. Two Lennon's and George Harrison's son Dhani did it too (in fact every Beatle has a kid who's done it). So did a few... > Read more