J0hnny ''Gitar'' Wats0n - Livek0nzert 1977
January 24, 2013 1:43 AM   Subscribe

On tour at the height of his powers - a Young John Watson indeed: Johnny ''Guitar'' Watson - Livekonzert 1977

Here he covers Herbie Hancock and Grover Washington Jr, plays and sings Ain't That A Bitch, his current hit of the time, and a most operatic Gangster of Love in a very well shot concert from Radio Bremen back in the day. He is young, fresh and most definitely not phoning it in from the bar. This is the total showman at work.

Not to mention being the funk fashion plate as well: dig that whole 1970s semiotic smorgasbord of those crazy platform shoes, that silver lame jumpsuit with that collar, the hair, the shades and that sparkling fedora.

And did I mention it was well shot ? So, dig that Texas cheater -- like his fellow Lone Star blues guitar men Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Albert Collins and Guitar slim, he uses a capo -- and how he picks with his thumb. And you get to see it all.

For quite a bit of biography, career overview granular in detail and a few sample licks, see Premiere Guitar's Forgotten Heroes: Johnny "Guitar" Watson and, for more analysis, also, Acid Logic: Interesting Mothers For Ya - Johnny "Guitar" Watson

Also, here is The life and death of a guitar slinger, a memorial and meditation by Andy Gill of the Independent, written upon Watson's death, while singing Superman Lover or so the legend goes on stage in Yokohama, Japan in 1996.

And, for the record, here is the cover of his A Real Mother For You. That is his real mother, too.

Originally, there were ample servings of Watson in concert, usually in Europe and, anyway, back in the recent day, I was going to do a smorgasbord megapost featuring, among other things, at least three very different presentations of Gangster of Love from three different excellent concerts with Mr. Watson decked out three different sets of stylin' funky chic threads to boot. But alas, I came by to find almost all of it taken down -- apparently his heirs try to make YouTube pull them as soon as any live performances are posted. Which makes no sense to me -- it would seem the more exposure he gets, the more they should benefit in the end. So, um, enjoy your rosebud while ye may -- this just showed up and is so very fine and just too darn hip to not post.
posted by y2karl (10 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Real mother of a post. Thanks.
posted by Hennimore at 5:15 AM on January 24, 2013

My old vinyl copy of A Real Mother For You has been unplayable for years but I haven't the heart to get rid of it, even though I have it on cassette and CD several times. Who could forget the last track on side one?

"T-t-t-t-t-turn it over/
You'd better flip it quick kid!"
posted by El Brendano at 5:46 AM on January 24, 2013

I played the hell out of "Real Mother" when it came out while a DJ at a tiny university radio station. Thanks for this, I can't hear the man play without having a major 70s flashback.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:21 AM on January 24, 2013

Just to sell this a bit...the German TV set starts out with Herbie Hancock's chameleon then segues into Mister Magic by Grover Washington Junior. Whoa.

The band (The Watsonian Institute) is incredibly tight and fast, which contrasts nicely with Watson's laid back vocals. The guy doesn't miss a beat!
posted by Hennimore at 6:30 AM on January 24, 2013

wow, great post! My punkass kids need to sit down with me tonite and we're going to watch all of it. Then we'll discuss that even platform shoes can be appropriate, given the right context. And while I fully agree that the man is in his prime here, I also appreciate his early days. This tune called Space Guitar from 1954 is mindboggling in so many ways. I mean, 1954!
posted by ouke at 6:52 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

This tune called Space Guitar yt from 1954 is mindboggling in so many ways. I mean, 1954!

See also
posted by y2karl at 7:26 AM on January 24, 2013

Not to mention...
posted by y2karl at 7:43 AM on January 24, 2013

Is the Paul Dunmall born about 30 miles south of London in his band the free jazz saxophonist Paul Dunmall? If so, that's pretty amazing.
posted by kenko at 9:28 PM on January 24, 2013

Answer: yes, it is that same Paul Dunmall.
posted by kenko at 9:29 PM on January 24, 2013

Apart from the concert from 1990 linked to previously, there is one from 1993 as well currently up on YouTube.

All are from German TV, by the way -- and what favors they have done again in documentating examples of our musical culture -- but, after reviewing them all in their entireties, I have to say that the one linked here, from 1977 is by far the best.

He plays a whole lot more guitar and the band is incredibly tight. And for TV, this is so well shot. You can see both hands when he plays guitar, for example. That was not so commonly done, especially for the time.

If I had any complaint, it would be the lack of audience response. Man, oh, man, you should have seen him at the Paramount. But, even so, this gives a bit more than a glimmer of the man's charisma and good humor. Enjoy them all while you can.
posted by y2karl at 1:35 PM on January 25, 2013

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