Back in the Game

Back in the Game

by Syl JohnsonSyl Johnson


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In 1993, a 57-year-old Syl Johnson made a long overdue return to the studio with Back in the Game, his first album since the early '80s. Various rappers (including the Geto Boys, Hammer, and the Wu-Tang Clan) had been sampling Johnson's classic 1960s and '70s recordings, and learning that younger artists had thought enough of his work to sample it was one of the main things that inspired the singer to start recording again. "Inspired" is definitely a word that describes Johnson's performances on this CD, which unites him with the legendary Hi Rhythm Section of the '70s. Joined by drummer Howard "Bulldog" Grimes and the Hodges brothers (guitarist Mabon, bassist Leroy, and organist/pianist Charles), Johnson delivers one of the strongest albums of his career. The Chicago-based singer emphasizes the type of down-home soul he had favored at Hi, and he is as passionate as ever on "Dipped in the Water" (which features his daughter Syleena Thompson), "I Will Rise Again," and "Ghetto Woman." Another high point of the album is a sweaty remake of Al Green's "Take Me to the River," which Johnson had first recorded in 1975. Although the Chicagoan moves into 12-bar blues territory on "All of Your Love" and Roosevelt Sykes' "Driving Wheel," it must be stressed that the majority of songs on this album are soul rather than blues. This is an R&B album first and foremost, and a fine one at that.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/20/1994
Label: Delmark
UPC: 0038153067427
catalogNumber: 674
Rank: 75129

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Syl Johnson   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Kenny Anderson   Trumpet
Will Crosby   Acoustic Guitar
Theresa Davis   Background Vocals
Howard Grimes   Drums
Willie Henderson   Baritone Saxophone
Charles Hodges   Organ,Piano
Leroy Hodges   Bass
Mabon "Teenie" Hodges   Acoustic Guitar
Morris Jennings   Drums
Johnny Logan   Organ
Andy Morris   Bass
Fred Hodges   Organ,Piano
Pete Nathan   Guitar
Syleena Thompson   Background Vocals
Ken Vandermark   Tenor Saxophone
Vincent Varko   Organ
Anthony Morris   Bass
Hi Rhythm Section   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Paul Serrano   Engineer
Malachi Thompson   Horn Arrangements
Willie Henderson   Horn Arrangements
Bob Koester   Producer
Pete Nathan   Producer,Horn Arrangements,Art Direction
Ken Vandermark   Horn Arrangements
Robert Pruter   Liner Notes
Kate Hoddinott   Art Direction
Paul Taylor   Cover Art
Hi Rhythm Section   Contributor

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