Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Johnny "Guitar" Watson

  • A Real Mother for Ya [DJM, 1977] B+
  • Giant [DJM, 1978] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

A Real Mother for Ya [DJM, 1977]
Watson has been perfecting his own brand of easy-listening funk for years, and this time he's finally gone into the studio with his guitar Freddie and his drummer Emry and a bunch of electric keyboards and come up with a whole album of good stuff. The riff-based tracks go on too long but go down easy and the lyrics have an edge. Granted, Watson can't match George Benson's chops, but this is dance music, chops would just get in the way. And I prefer his Lou-Rawls-without-pipes to Benson's Stevie-Wonder-ditto. B+

Giant [DJM, 1978]
Okay, John, I understand how you go about things. A week or two in the studio with your guitar Freddie and your drummer Emry and a bunch of electric keyboards and organic percussion devices you can beat on yourself. Get rid of the horn guys, sure, you can do without 'em. Write the songs inside; keep them casual, funny, and of course funky. Ideal formula dance music, I agree--no frills. But even disco artists avoid the word "disco" in titles these days--sounds gauche. Also, why are you fading your voice back? So that no one notices you're singing about having money instead of not having it? And what happened to the hooks? B-