Chicago-born Soul singer with a sultry, husky voice was the nephew of Elmore James and worked as a staff guitarist at Stax, playing on sessions for the Bar-Kays, Johnnie Taylor, and the Soul Children. He also released a couple 45s for Volt ("Don't Cha Mess With My Money, My Honey Or My Woman"). Later he released various singles as an artist in the late 70s and 80s for labels like ICA, Phono and Sunnyview. Phono also issued his first LP in 1981 ("We Belong Together"). After one more obscure platter (1986's "All Night Party"). Johnson was signed to Ichiban where he recorded until his 1994 death.
Though enjoying a few underground hits ("It's So Cold & Mean (On The Drug Scene)", "Take A Little Time To Know Her"), other singers did better with his songs, like Tyrone Davis ("Are You Serious" ,"True Love Is Hard to Find") and Bobby 'Blue" Bland ( "Country Love") and the Dells ("Give Your Baby a Standing Ovation")
"We Belong Together" (Phono 1981)
1. we belong together
"All Night Party" (Sunnyview 1986)
1. Take A Little Time
"Cold & Mean" (Ichiban 1989)
1. Get Him Out Of Your System
****Husky-voiced Soulman excels on sexy balladry ("Get Him Out Your System", "One And A Million You", then earnest and foreceful on "It's So Cold & Mean (On The Drug Scene)". Mostly slow to midtempo jams, but "Blues In The North" is dancebale
"I Got The Touch" (Ichiban 1991)
1. I Got The Touch
*** The catchy title cut has an undeniable New Jack influence, but slow-to-midtempo gems like "Take A Little Time To Know Here" and "Are You Serious" are where it's at. There's a huge misstep in the ludicrous "answer" song to Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It". Johnson basically covers the song but changes the hook (awkwardly) to "What Do You Mean, Love Ain't Got Nothing To Do With It". The other cover song ("Choking Kind") also get's tweaked as "Stroking Kind" and is more successful."Unclassified" (Ichiban 1992)
1. VooDoo Woman
***1/2Fitting title for Johnson as his music is a combination of modern R & B balladry with a Deep Soul voice. In fact I think had Johnson not died so young (he was 48) he likely would have been doing Deep Soul/Blues albums for labels like Bullseye Blues and Malaco. "Selective Amnesia" and "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love" could fit with today's Southern Soul but, again, it was his gripping ballads that stood out. "Voodoo Woman", "Discover Me" and "Whatever Happened" are simply as good as it gets for bedroom slowies. The man could have been a superstar.