Perhaps we're cheating a bit by including a
newly-released album in our Flashback section, but Every Day of Your
Life is Jimmy Johnson's first album in more than 10 years. It's a
throwback to his earlier Delmark recordings, making me feel like we're
listening to a vintage blues album.
I'll admit to being apprehensive about what I was going
to hear from Mr. Johnson considering that he's now 90. Will he be as
nimble on the guitar strings as he was 30 years ago? Will his voice
still have the strength to carry a full album? Rest assured, Johnson has
obviously found his personal fountain of youth, because the music on
Every Day of Your Life does not sound like it's coming from a man
just ten years away from hitting triple digits.
Opening the album in fine form is the title cut, kicking
off with a funky beat before we hear the trademark Jimmy Johnson voice,
still as strong as ever, and then he gets to show that he can still pick
the guitar. We also get a dynamite B3 solo from
Roosevelt Purifoy, who is solid throughout the album, and soulful
backing vocals from Typhanie Monique. Johnson's message here is to live
every day of your life like it's your last.
again in the spotlight on "I Need You So Bad," this time on the
piano on B.B. King's mid-tempo blues shuffle. "My Ring," a Johnson
original, conveys a pleasant island feel as he sings about the day that
he gave his ring to his loved one. Bass player J.R. Fuller starts off
"Rattlesnake" with a funky beat before Johnson comes in with sublime and
superb jazzy guitar licks and some of his strongest vocals of the set.
Fenton Robinson would be proud of Johnson's cover of his blues classic,
"Somebody Loan Me A Dime." In Johnson's hands, it's six minutes and 25 seconds of blues
heaven, with Brother John Kattke tickling the ivories to
great effect. Don't overthink this one. Instead, just sit back and
enjoy. Kattke then heads back over to his B3 for the jazzy Johnson
original "Down In The Valley."
Are you ready for a Percy
Mayfield cover? Of course you are, and Johnson shows his blues chops on
the slow blues "Strange Things Happening" before laying down some funky,
snappy and sharp guitar chops on the fast-moving instrumental "Better
When It's Wet."
Johnson saved the best for last as he
sits down at the piano for the soulful spiritual "Lead Me On," best
known by Bobby "Blue" Bland's version on Duke Records. There's no other
accompaniment for Johnson's piano playing and tender vocals, and none is needed.
What a great way to finish this wonderful album.
album is one in which its songs keep running through your head long
after you've listened to it, and that's the case with Every Day of
Your Life. Here's hoping that this launches the next phase of Jimmy
Johnson's career and that we get several more releases before he gets to
his 100th birthday.
--- Bill Mitchell