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Texas Johnny Brown - Blues Defender - Choctaw Creek CCR10002

My goodness, Amos Milburn, Ruth Brown, Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, Lavelle White, Joe Hinton, Larry Davis, Buddy Ace… every blueslover has these names on the shelves and as many times they got this Texas Johnny Brown on top of it. In these artists best periods he was the man that filled the gaps with his exquisite guitar playing. And do you still melt when you hear Bobby Blands Two Steps From The Blues, then say "thank you" to Johnny, the writer of the song. Nevertheless, nowadays that same Texas Johnny Brown is not a household name for most of the blueslovers. Strange, 'cause his comeback record Nothin' But The Truth was nominated for a Handy award in '98 and the quality of that record is easily equaled by the new Blues Defender. Besides Lil Green's In The Dark Johnny brings us 11 original songs in which he shines as one of the great masters of the Texas school. And the more I listen to his guitar, the more I'm convinced that someone like a young Jimmie Vaughan was seated at one of that school's desks. Texas Johnny doesn't need a pile of notes, no, a lovely caress follows a precise pick, a well-aimed slap gets accentuated by a venomous pinch and there's always the principle "less is more". There's one thing that Johnny couldn't escape from, that good old r&b sound in which the guitar is propelled by organ or piano and gets a slap on the back by the horns. The result is an overall very entertaining cd and I just pick a few songs for the fun of it: the swinging opening track Handy Man; the soulful Did You Lose Your Way; the stomping Bad Hair Day; the title track that's situated at the French Quarter; the slow blues Moanin' And Groanin'; Just Can't Do It in a slightly faster The Thrill Is Gone mode, and the infectiously grooving Love So Strong. Do yourself a favor and take a listen to this one legendary great instead of to that more than a dozen too much made of small ones.
 · Marc Nolis, RootsTown Music Free-zine  16 - 2002  Read Dutch Version

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Photo of Texas Johnny Brown and photo of guitar on this page: Copyright © 2001 "The Blues Hound" James Nagel.

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