The Louis Johnson Collection
We interrupt this series of collections of songs of session drummers to pay tribute to Louis Johnson, the great bassist and half of the Johnson Brothers who died last week at the age of 60.
Louis Johnson, nicknamed “Thunder Thumbs”, gave us basslines to dance to — Stomp and Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough — and to groove to — I Keep Forgettin’ and Baby Come To Me — and to smooch to — One Hundred Ways and Love All The Hurt Away. And he played on the charity behemoth We Are The World.
He is probably best known as one of the Brothers Johnson, whose repertoire included such classics as Stomp, I’ll Be Good To You, Get The Funk Out Ma Face, and a fine cover of Shuggie Otis’ Strawberry Letter 23 (check out the isolated bass of the latter).
Much of the Brothers Johnson material was produced by Quincy Jones, their manager and mentor, who kept returning to Louis for some bass work.
You’ll have heard Louis’ basslines on Quincy productions such as Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall album, on which Louis did bass duty on all but one song (Rock With You; that was Bobby Watson).
On Thriller, where several tracks are driven by synth-based basslines, Louis Johnson featured on Billy Jean, Wanna Be Startin’ Something, Human Nature and P.Y.T.
He played on Quincy’s solo albums, such as Mellow Madness, I Heard That and Live At Budokan, as well as on two star-studded affairs released under the Quincy Jones banner: The Dude and Back On The Block (on the latter he appeared on the Ray Charles & Chaka Khan cover of the Brothers Johnson’s I’ll Be Good To You”) .
Many hip hop artists have sampled Johnson’s basslines, most famously perhaps that of Michael McDonald’s I Keep Forgettin’ for Warren G.’s Regulate.
Apart from those featured on this collection, acts for whom Johnson played include: Gabor Sabo, Grover Washington Jr, Side Effects, Leon Haywood, Sergio Mendes, Harvey Mason, Letta Mbulu, Pointer Sisters, Herb Alpert, Hugh Masekela, Joe Tex, Rufus & Chaka Khan, René & Anngela, Stanley Clarke, Andraé Crouch, Passage, Donna Summer (on State Of Independence), John Cougar Mellencamp, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, The Jacksons, Jeffrey Osborne, Peabo Bryson, Paul McCartney, Charlene, Rodney Franklin, Johnny Gill, Dennis Edwards, Angela Bofill, DeBarge, Irena Cara, Angela Winbush, Barbra Streisand, Brian McKnight and more.
As always the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-slapped covers. PW in comments.
1. Brothers Johnson – Stomp (1979)
2. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (1979)
3. George Benson – Love X Love (1980)
4. Quincy Jones – Ai No Corrida (1980)
5. Patti Austin & James Ingram – Baby Come To Me (1981)
6. Karen Carpenter – Lovelines (1879/80)
7. Lee Ritenour feat Bill Champlin – You Caught Me Smilin’ (1981)
8. The Crusaders feat Joe Cocker – This Old World’s Too Funky For Me (1980)
9. Bobby Womack – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (1975)
10. Bill Withers – Sometimes A Song (1975)
11. Billy Preston – Will It Go Round In Circles (1972)
12. Herbie Hancock – Lite Me Up! (1982)
13. Aretha Franklin – What A Fool Believes (1980)
14. Michael McDonald – I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near) (1982)
15. Sweet Comfort Band – Feel Like Singin’ (1981)
16. Sister Sledge – Smile (1983)
17. Earl Klugh – Slippin’ In The Back Door (1976)
18. Quincy Jones feat. Ray Charles & Chaka Khan – I’ll Be Good To You (1989)
Previous session musicians’ collection:
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 2
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 1
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 2
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 2
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 1
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 2
The Bobby Keys Collection
The Bobby Graham Collection
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 1