On With the Show: The Johnny Otis Story, Vol. 2 1957-1974

On With the Show: The Johnny Otis Story, Vol. 2 1957-1974

by Johnny OtisJohnny Otis


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The second and final volume of the Ace label's overview of Johnny Otis recordings is an uneven but worthwhile look at the latter part of his career that, despite the wide time span, can be divided into two distinct phases. The first half of the 24-track compilation draws entirely from the late '50s and early '60s, at which time he'd achieved a degree of success as a rock star with the 1958 hit "Willie and the Hand Jive" (though that particular song is on the first volume of this series). Mostly cut for Capitol (although there are a few obscure early-'60s efforts for the King and Eldo labels too), this found Otis, to be blunt, often mining the Bo Diddley beat for all it was worth -- even more than Diddley himself did, perhaps. As imitative as it was in some ways, the results were sometimes great. "Crazy Country Hop," "Castin' My Spell," and the less renowned "Mumblin' Mosie" are witty and infectiously high-spirited. He overdid it, though, especially by the time it came to 1960's "The New Bo Diddley" and 1961's "Hand Jive One More Time"; it's one thing to devise a beat and milk it dry (as Diddley did), and it's another to mine someone else's beat and milk it drier. Otis retreated from the music business for about a half dozen years after the early '60s, and with the exception of his odd funky instrumental mid-'70s nod to "Jaws" (as in the hit movie), all of the remaining tracks date from 1967-1970. These were usually in a workmanlike but fairly effective updated blues/R&B vein with a touch of jazz, given a little bit of spice by some stinging guitar from his son Shuggie Otis and some violin by Don "Sugarcane" Harris. Occasionally the material from this era gets a little more interesting, like the 1967 instrumental-with-party-vocals "Keep the Faith," which has some really cool wavering organ; the relaxed down-home jive of "Country Girl"; and the instrumental "Cold Shot," with exotic violin by Harris.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/07/2012
Label: Ace Records Uk
UPC: 0029667048323
catalogNumber: 6704832
Rank: 41413

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Otis   Primary Artist,Vocals
Shuggie Otis   Guitar
Don "Sugarcane" Harris   Violin
Delmar Evans   Vocals
Betty Brown   Vocals
Jimmy Nolen   Guitar
Marci Lee   Vocals
Jack Kelso   Tenor Saxophone
Donald Harris   Vocals

Technical Credits

Pee Wee Crayton   Composer
Johnny Otis   Arranger,Composer
Shuggie Otis   Composer
Steve Elson   Composer
Melvin Jernigan   Composer
Ellas McDaniel   Composer
Delmar Evans   Arranger,Composer
Tony Rounce   Liner Notes
Alvin Johnson   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Curt Sletton   Composer
Doug Winty   Composer
Darby Hicks   Composer
Edwin Johnson   Composer
Donald Harris   Composer
Alvin Parham   Composer
Ron Saunders   Composer

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