Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Johnny's House Party

West Coast bluesman Johnny Heartsman (1937-1996) was a phenomenally talented guy; he played guitar, organ, and (surprisingly for a blues musician) flute.  He was Al King's guitarist and music director for several years in the 1960s- that's the Al King who was based in California, not the Albert King who recorded for Stax.  Heartsman's contributions to King's "Think Twice Before You Speak," "Reconsider Baby," and "Everybody Ain't You're Friend" are important to the success of those records.  Late in life, Heartsman made a handful of excellent albums, like The Touch on Alligator.  But in 1957, he had a hit record with the irresistible instrumental "Johnny's House Party" on the Music City label.

Although "Johnny's House Party" made it to #13 on the R & B charts, copies of the record are seemingly hard to find these days.  My copy is fairly worn, especially toward the inner grooves - I can't imagine anyone who owned this record not playing it.  But the spirit shines through.  It's a fun little record, with pieces of "Honky Tonk," "Night Train," and other R & B hits thrown into the house party.  Enjoy "Johnny's House Party," parts one and two.

Part one

Part two

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