King Johnson
Luck So Strange

review = b+

King Johnson is a -strange- blues band. For starters, all five members, none of whom are actually -named- Johnson, sing. Lots of strong vocals and sweet harmonies on this CD. And all five can play. From hot and sweaty, horn driven Memphis blues ("Mountain"), funky R&B ("19-20-21"), and stripped-down, revved up, open road shuffle grooves ("Dead Dog"), to a quiet little, Latin tinged and percussion filled mood piece ("Shadow Of Wood"), the sum of KJs various parts is greater than the typical three chord, twelve bar rut most blues bands dig themselves into. Do the math. KJs guitarist takes wild, acid soaked solos on the electric six string which teeter breathtakingly on the brink of chromatic disaster ("Wil E."), as well as soft and oh-so-refined forays into acoustic ballad sophistication ("Luckiest Man"). Add in a sax player who also blows clarinet and a slide trombonist with a tuba toting, alter ego. Multiply those six split personalities by KJs rock steady bass and drums rhythm section and anything is possible - including a track of rib tickling, post-purchase telephone messages from a disgruntled, tractor buyer ("Ralph") looped over swanky horn lines and a jittery, syncopated back beat. Sure, they may be a little strange, but King Johnson is worthy. And the more CDs KJ puts out like -Luck So Strange-, the luckier theyre gonna get.