Jimmy Johnson came dramatically to the attention of the blues world with the release of his first American album, Johnson's Whacks (Delmark 644), in 1979, one of the few albums around that time to project a new and distinctive blues personality. Originally issued in '82 North // South contained all original compositions reflecting Jimmy's background in blues, soul, gospel and jazz. Songwriter and blues aficionado Doc Pomus wrote on the original LP, "Individuality is a sign of the great ones. When you hear a bar or two, and you know immediately who's hitting the notes, you know you're listening to a master - and that's how it is when you're hearing Jimmy Johnson. He's an incredible blues singer, guitarist and songwriter."

Song List:
1. Country Preacher
2. Can't Go No Further
3. Track To Run
4. Walking On Thin Ice
5. Talking 'Bout Chicago
6. A Woman Ain't Supposed To Be Hard
7. I Can't Survive
8. Sang A Song In Heaven
9. Dead Or Alive


Reaction Report:

When Jimmy Johnson's first album, Johnson's Whacks hit the streets at the end of the seventies, he was heralded as being part of a new blues generation that could actually write fully-realized, mature SONGS (as opposed to borrowing or stealing jukebox standards). Delmark even printed a lyric sheet for that LP, a first in blues cover art!

Delmark recently reissued North / South, a 1982 gem, for the CD age, and it's amazing how little this has dated. The bass-driven funk rhythms are definitely products of their time--any current bar band would have thumb popped these songs to excess, but Larry Exum's bass work still sounds tasteful this close to the new millennium...And each time you think you know where one of these songs is going, Johnson throws in a chordal progression that sounds appropriate.

--James Porter, New City



Home to the Delmark Home Page