Little Johnny Taylor
Little Johnny Taylor
Born Johnny Lamont Merrett on Feb. 11 1943 in Grgory, AR. This is the original "Johnny Taylor". Little Johnny came to Los Angeles in 1950 and did a stint with the Mighty Clouds Of Joy before going secular. He debuted as an R&B artist with a pair of 45s for the Swingin' logo, but his career took off with Fantasy's Galaxy subsidiary in 1963. His first hit "You'' Need Another Favor" hit #27 on R & B charts in 1963 but it was his next hit where he hit the big time. His cover of Clay Hammond's "Part Time Love" went straight to #1 on the R & B chart and even crossed over on pop charts to #19. After some more minor hits for Galaxy Taylor eventually signed with Stan Lewis' Ronn label and scored big again with the hits "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" & "Open House At My House". LJT's chart success waned and it wasn't until the late 80s that he started recording often again with Ichiban Records. Although he never returned to the success of his glory days he remained active performing until his death in 2002
"Little Johnny Taylor" (Galaxy 1963)
1. Since I Found A New Love
"Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" (Ronn 1972)
1. Baby Get Hip To Yourself
****1/2 His earlier Galaxy material is superb, but this debut LP for Ronn is full of classic soulful, bluesy, passionate singing. The obvious high point is "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" (#9 R&B) here in two parts. Perhaps THE cheating Blues song of the modern era. The album also boasts the emotive slow ballad "How Are You Fixed For Love", the southern soul in 6/8 time "How Can A Broke Man Survive" & the West Coast slow blues "It's My Fault Darling" (#41 R&B),
"Open House At My House" (Ronn 1973)
1. Open House at My House, Pt.1
***** How do you follow up a smash like "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing"? With an equally good Blues like "Open House At My House" (#16 R & ) here in two parts. Bobby Patterson penned this classic with Kenny Strickland as well as the turnabout "You're Not The Only One (Who's Got Someone Across Town". The duo also wrote he mid-paced blues thumper "I'll Make It Worth Your While" (#39 R&B) and "You're Saving Your Best Love For Me" (#83 R & B). Meanwhile Taylor wrote and gives the vocal of his life on the gorgeous soul waltz "My Special Rose".
Little Johnny And Ted Taylor "The Super Taylors" (Ronn 1974; Paula 1995)
1. Funky Ghetto
*** Compilation featuring four solo tracks each from Little Johnny Taylor & Ted Taylor plus four cuts with the soul singers together (including "Funky Ghetto", "Walking The Floor"). Fans of either will probably want this but it's a marketing tool to push one artists to fans of the other.
"L.J.T." (Ronn 1979)
*** The tag line in "L.J.T." (from the album L.J.T.) goes: "My name is Little Johnny Taylor and I've been singing for a long long time. If you haven't heard about me it ain't no fault of mine.". Which was true, even though his fame was eclipsed by another great singer name Johnnie Taylor. Nevertheless, in 1977 with disco ruling the charts Little Johnny Taylor's record company updated his blues sound with a touch of funk; most evident on the title track, the great "Don't Do It" and a few others on the LJT album. It didn't sell. LJT was too good and too BLUES to appeal to the faddish Disco crowd
"I Should've Been A Preacher" (Red Lighnin' 1981)
1. Somebody's Got To Pay
"Stuck In The Mud" (Ichiban 1988)
Stuck In The Mud
*** Although Taylor's voice is not what it once was this is a competent modern soul blues LP produced by Gary B.B. Coleman. LJT redoes his standard "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" and another blues classic ("First Class Love") and belts out some fine slow blues on "Stuck In The Mud", "Full Time Love" & "There's Something On Your Mind".
"Ugly Man" (Ichiban 1989)
1. Have You Ever Been to Kansas
** Disappointing followup from the legend is simply flat- Taylor's vocals and the accompaniment both sound lazy. Gary B.B. Coleman needed to punch things up on this session. The listener keeps waiting for LJT to wail but he never does; causing one to suspect the power is gone from his once powerful vocal chords. The title track is an okay slow blues and the update of the funky "L.J.T." is passable. Perhaps if you never heard his music before you'd be more pleased.
"Greatest Hits" (Fantasy 1991)
1. Part Time Love
"The Galaxy Years" (Ace 1999)
1. You'll Need Another Favor
***** Superior compilation of LJT's Galaxy material contains 26 tracks (9 more than "Greatest Hits" ).
"You're Looking Good" (Nasha 1997)
You're Looking Good
**1/2 Very obscure final recording by Taylor features some low budget midtempo Southern Soul like the thoughtful "Golden Rule" and sweet, love paean "When God Made You". There's one strong blues that rises about the plastic production ("You Must Think I'm Crazy"). There's something bittersweet about this CD that, although nowhere near what he was capable of, sticks with you after listening.
"Part Time Love" (Ronn 1997)
"Part Time Love" is mostly made up of singles released between 1974-1976. (The actual album was not officially released until 1997).
1. Part Time Love
Various Artists "Diggin' Gold: A Galaxy Of West Coast Blues" (Ace 2004)
Various Artists compilation containing 8 rare LJT sides including three unreleased
1. On My Way Back Home - Little