Johnny Guitar Watson
" North Sea Jazz 1993 Johnny Watson Live In Concert "

Blueswax 8
Rating 8

A Rousing Mother For Ya!, (04/09/09)

It is hard to believe that it's been almost 13 years since Johnny "Guitar" Watson left us at age of just 60. His first Blues recording was in 1953 and since that time Watson resuscitated his career several times. In the 1970s Watson moved west and then became a mighty, funky singer/songwriter/guitarist and rolled off a string of hits like "Ain't That a Bitch," "Superman Lover," and "A Real Mother For Ya." This DVD captures Watson in high-flying mode and was recorded at the 1993 North Sea Jazz Festival about three years prior to his passing. It contains 11 tunes with a run time of 78 minutes. Highlights include "Booty Ooty," where the guitar-less Watson is more of a cheerleader who gets the crowd involved until he picks up his guitar and calls on his fine but sadly unidentified horn section to kick in. "Superman Lover" is definitely one of the strongest tracks on this well recorded DVD and leaves room for the band to stretch out. "Gangster of Love" made its first appearance in 1957 and Watson re-recorded it again in 1962. This updated appearance illustrates what an imaginative and creative guitarist Watson was and shows his undying affection of the Blues medium.

This DVD also includes three live bonus tracks taken from the 1996 Blues Fest Leverkusen, Germany, concert just prior to Watson's sudden passing. Thus, we get one of the final treatments of Johnny's "Ain't That a Bitch," "Doing Wrong Women," and "Bow Wow." Also included is a memorial segment, a 1987 interview, and other noteworthy footage. Special kudos go to noted author Bill Dahl for his lengthy and detailed bio, liner notes, and discography, items often sorely missing in far too many DVD recordings. My only misgiving is not finding any musicians' credits for the fine sidemen that supported Johnny on this very cool disc.

Both Blues fans and Funk lovers will love this DVD. Plus, since there are only two other Johnny "Guitar" Watson video recordings in print at this time, this excellent concert footage of Watson would make a very special addition for your library collection and for many years of repeated viewings.

No bitching here! Enjoy!

Bob Putignano: