Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Brothers Johnson – Stomp! (A&M)

Classics: The Brothers Johnson – Stomp! (A&M)

The turn from the 70’s to the 80’s happened to be a key period. Not only for The Brothers Johnson. But also for its writer, the late Rod Temperton. And its producer, Quincy Jones. On the heels of Rufus & Chaka Khan‘s ‘Do You Love What You Feel’ or Michael Jackson‘s Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ to name a few…

No surprisingly, The Brothers Johnson released their most famous cut back then. The uplifting ‘Stomp!’, welcoming an impressive line-up of luminaries. From Greg Phillinganes on synths to the Seawind Horns under the direction of Jerry Hey. Not to mention Michael Jackson in the backing vocals among others. Louis Johnson enlightening the whole with one of his most impressive solos on bass.

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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