Monday, April 24, 2017

The Brothers Johnson – Caught Up (A&M)

Lost but not least! The Brothers Johnson – Caught Up (A&M)

From their 1981 ‘Winners’ LP. An album which marked a turning point for The Brothers Johnson. As it’s the first they produced themselves, putting an end to their long time collaboration with Quincy Jones.

Is this the reason why the label execs did so few efforts around its release at the time? Could well be, as a matter of fact, despite the presence of some solid material. Beginning with the aptly titled ‘Caught Up’. An outstanding Jazz/Funk fueled jam. With the late bassist Louis Johnson at the absolute peak of his art over a rumblin’ rhythmic part courtesy of Jeff Porcaro of the Toto fame and keyboards by the likes of Greg Phillinganes. Not to mention incredible strings arrangements by David Diggs along with sultry vocal arrangements starring Valerie Johnson.

‘Caught Up’ came to light, most likely away from the current standards. Just like Rose Royce did on the memorable ‘Still In Love’.
Missed it back then? Check it out, then let us know what you think?

Overview
Hailing from Los Angeles, CA, George and Louis Johnson formed the Johnson Three Plus One while at school. The third being their elder brother, Tommy. And the Plus One, cousin Alex Weir. As they evolved, they started as a backing band for luminaries such as Bobby Womack and The Supremes. Meanwhile, George and Louis joined Billy Preston‘s band for some time before contributing to the recording of Quincy Jones‘s ‘Mellow Madness’ in 1975. The Dude inviting them to tour in Japan before producing their debut-album – ‘Look Out For #1’ – the year after. An album which spanned the classic ‘Get The Funk Out Ma Face’. But also ‘I’ll Be Good To You’ which Jones re-recorded 13 years later with Ray Charles and Chaka Khan.

From then, and along with Quincy Jones, The Brothers Johnson would score an impressive string of classics. From ‘Strawberry Letter #23’ to ‘Ride O-Rocket’ and ‘Ain’t We Funkin’ Now’. Then ‘Light Up The Night’ and ‘Stomp!’ which is probably their most famous one. With Louis also playing bass on numerous Quincy Jones‘s productions. Beginning with Michael Jackson‘s album ‘Off The Wall’ and ‘Thriller’.

Louie and George parted ways in 1982, after the release of their ‘Winners’ album featuring the unsung ‘Caught Up’. Meanwhile A&M released a compilation of their classics – ‘Blast’ – that same year. The brothers would regularly reunite though, putting out the ‘Out Of Control’ album in 1984. Then ‘Kickin” which would be their very last, 4 years later.

The least one can say is that Louis and George‘s solo careers didn’t reach their expectations at the end. Louis recording one single – ‘Kinky’ – on Capitol back in 1985 from an album – ‘Evolution’ – which only got released in Europe. Meanwhile George released ‘Back Against The Wall’ the same year on Quincy Jones‘s Qwest label. A single from an album he recorded that never saw the light.

Louis Johnson was sadly found dead at his home in Las Vegas, NV on May 21, 2015. The cause of death was gastro intestinal bleed of the esophagus.

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