Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Johnny Bristol - Bristol's Creme - 1977 - Atlantic

Johnny Bristol is, in my mind, very much an unsung hero when his name should be a household name. Many people, many households own music from the pen of this great, great man yet do not know he existed. I suppose where quality 'black' artists go that's no surprise. 'Twas always thus, sadly. Following a glittering writing career with Motown in the 60s and early 70s, Bristol sided with MGM, Polydor then Atlantic in the mid 70s and created a whole series of quality albums that are, at least, cherished by the connoisseurs of the soul world. He's another artists that a "Best Of" compilation, however valiant the attempt, could in no way represent the man's work. To get a taste of Johnny Bristol, we got to have it all. Thankfully, Universal Japan along with P-Vine have covered the man's 1970s solo albums for Polydor and Atlantic, and Hip-O have compiled his complete MGM work so between them all you can acquire a huge slice of one of the greatest all-round artists ever to grace our beloved music scene.

As you will soon gather from the great tune below, "Do It To My Mind" is inescapably brilliant. This cool midtempo number is one that should already have won a place in your heart and it's great to own this on CD. This remains one of my favourites from the 1970s. Simply magic. "I Sure Like Groovin' With Ya" is also a fantastic track which should be appreciated at the same level. Play this loud. The strings, almost Barry White in orientation are simply superb on this two-step monster. I NEVER tire of tracks like these two. The rest of the album is on an equal footing, I assure you, although much more downtempo. The smooth, sax-drenched plodder "I Love Talking About Baby" borrows a lighter Barry White style, especially with regard to the strings and the gentle, yet sturdily pounding rhythm recounts an erotic liaison between Johnny and his Lady. Lucky whatsit! LOL. Young RnB artists please take note how subtle, poetic and erudite this is handled. Think you can match this? No, me neither. That aside, the superb "She Came Into My Life" is very fresh indeed, and could have been recorded at the turn on the 1980s. This is the best thing about timeless music - it ALWAYS sounds new, so the relevance of these tracks will never escape us.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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