Down Beat - 2/00, p.704 out of 5
- "What sets Johnson apart from the pack is the keening edge to his high tenor voice - it's the sound of a fallen angel - and the high quality of both his songwriting and his guitar work..."
Personnel: Syl Johnson (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Pete Nathan (guitar); Gene Barge (tenor saxophone); Willie Henderson (baritone saxophone); Kenny Anderson (trumpet); Willie Wood (trombone); Charles Hodges (piano, organ); Orlando Wright (bass); Wayne Stewart (drums); Theresa Davis, Diane Madison (background vocals).
Recorded at Riverside Studio, Chicago, Illinois.
Personnel: Syl Johnson (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Pete Nathan (guitar); Gene Barge (tenor saxophone); Willie Henderson (baritone saxophone); Kenny Anderson (trumpet); Willie Woods (trombone); Charles Hodges (piano, organ); Wayne Stewart (drums); Diane Madison, Theresa Davis (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Paul Serrano; Pete Nathan; Syl Johnson.
Recording information: Riverside Studio, Chicago, IL.
Johnson first appeared on the jazz and blues-based Delmark label with 1994's BACK IN THE GAME. His second Delmark release delves further into blues territory than its predecessor, which featured the funky soul of the Hi Rhythm band. While Johnson is known for his gutsy soul singing, he in fact started out playing guitar in blues bands led by Junior Wells, Muddy Waters, and Magic Sam. Johnson is a fine harmonica player as well.
On TALKIN' ABOUT CHICAGO, Johnson revels in the urban blues largely associated with his Windy City hometown. He's backed by a trio (bass, drums, and keyboards), augmented occasionally with horns, background singers, and a second guitarist. Johnson co-wrote the bulk of the material here, and the title track is an especially nice autobiographical slice. TALKIN' is an enlightening look at the blues side of Johnson's craft. For some classic soul material, check out TWILIGHT & TWINIGHT or any of the Hi Records compilations.