In April 2005 this world suffered the loss of a shining light in popular music as the great JOHNNIE JOHNSON passed on. One of the pioneers, in fact a founding father, of Rock and Rollâ€ and member of The ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME, Johnson had no peer as a blazing, scintillating, monster of the piano. His trailblazing work as CHUCK BERRY'S PIANO PLAYER showed the way for all those who followed, indeed the sound the Berry recordings created is arguably the â€œBig Bangâ€ of rock music that defined the genre to begin with. For that reason as well as the worldwide live shows Johnnie performed (which continued until the very end of his life) he was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall in 2000 and inducted in 2001. All of that said, however, there remains an interesting fact regarding the manâ€™s legacy: Blues and Jazz were what he focused on in his post Berry career, rarely performing the Rock genre that helped make him famous, and rarely recording it. There would be an occasional live â€œRock and Rollâ€ performance with Berry or with Johnson friends Keith Richard and Eric Clapton, such as in the live concerts that were documented in the 1987 film â€œHAIL,HAIL ROCK AND ROLL" and then, even though he made a multitude of stops in the recording studio playing Blues and Jazz for his own records and others, there would only be a rare stint playing songs which had a related flavor of the classic Rock and Roll style that he had pioneered in the 1950â€™s. Those few tracks are all that is left to the world â€¦
Now HELENA RECORDS is proud to release one of the most ferocious of those
few tracks â€œA DOSE OF ROCK & ROLLâ€ by Helenaâ€™s home based artists â€œTHE JAMES BOYSâ€ and JOHNNIE JOHNSON, one of the greatest tracks Johnson ever chose to record post Berry in the classic Rock style that Johnnie helped pioneer. As hot as it is historical, the song and track will absolutely blow away the listener. A CONTEMPORARY HOMAGE TO 50'S ROCK AND ROLL and the icons who created it, the song was penned by Johnson friend James Boy lead singer RICK RYKART. â€œJohnnie was one of the great Blues performers of all time, not just a Rock and Roll guy, he was so much bigger in his artistry than the pigeon holing thing the culture tries to do with performers and artistsâ€ Rykart mused, â€œyet he was and is a giant in the Rock and Roll universe and anybody that missed that fact, hey, just listen to this record.â€ Indeed the track reveals, in a way that the original Berry classics often tended to obscure in the mix, the INCREDIBLE POWER OF THE JOHNSON INVENTED, BOOGIE-WOOGIE DRIVEN MIX OF HYBRID PIANO STYLES that fused with Berryâ€™s guitar and songs to create what the world would come to call â€œRock and Roll.â€ â€œIâ€™m so lucky, and the whole world is lucky that Johnnie chose to do his Rock thing one more time on this record, generally he avoided itâ€ Rykart noted andÂ went on with obvious awe â€œat his age he still could create fire on the ivory like no one else.â€ Legendary for the warmth and giving nature of his personality, Johnsonâ€™s passing inspired this observation from RykartÂ â€œJohnnieâ€™s generosity knew no bounds and he wanted to help me out, but you can bet he also wanted to show the world yet again THE ABSOLUTE MAGIC HE COULD CREATE on a record.â€ He certainly did that and more on
â€œA DOSE OF ROCK AND ROLLâ€, A RECORD FOR THE ARCHIVES.
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â€œA groove that really cooksâ€, thatâ€™s the understated way in which JAMES BOY SINGER/SONGWRITER RICK RYKART describes the latest HELENA RECORDS release â€œTHE REASON FOR THE BLUESâ€, a track sure to, in fact, chase away the listenerâ€™s blues. JOHNNIE JOHNSON, the legendary piano man and seminal figure in Rock who passed away in 2005, again collaborates with THE JAMES BOYS in what is yet another historical offering featuring the only known recording of Johnson playing organ. â€œYouâ€™ve got something there that no one else has,â€ reflected Johnsonâ€™s widow Frances upon review of her husbandâ€™s studio history. Indeed Johnson was musically far more in life than the rock piano prime mover visitors to the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME will find enshrined forever, his blues and jazz records and gigs were also the stuff of legend. â€œJohnnie was a bluesman through and through and he PARTICULARLY LIKED JAZZY BLUESâ€ opined Rykart, the songâ€™s co author, â€œand thatâ€™s why we wrote the song, "as a vehicle for capturing that side of him.â€ That effort in songwriting by Rykart and GUITARIST/FORMER MUSICAL DIRECTOR OF THE JOHNSON TOURING BAND TOM MALONEY succeeds in a big way. Itâ€™s a jazzy blues toe tapper that will delight blues purists and jazz fans alike. â€œLet me tell you, in the studio when Johnnie wanted to play organ on this song I was just thrilled,â€ proclaimed Rykart on release day. â€œIâ€™m just another of the MILLIONS OF JOHNNIE JOHNSON FANS, I loved everything he did,â€ he continued,Â â€œand Iâ€™m truly happy and humbled to be instrumental in the whole world being able to hear him cruise on organ the way he does here.â€ Rick, so are we at HELENA RECORDS.
AVAILABLE SOON AT MAJOR DOWNLOAD SITES
Check out the artist's website:
1. A Dose of Rock & Roll
2. The Reason for the Blues