Johnny Guitar Watson - And The Family Clone . Bow Wow

These two latest reissues, by Sanctuary Records feature the last of the seven albums Johnny "Guitar" Watson recorded for Beatles music publisher Dick James' DJM Label and his first for ex-Stax Records boss Al Bell's Bellmark Records.

"And The Family Clone" according to the CD Booklet was Watson's tribute to Sly and The Family Stone, the late 60s multi-racial soul-funk-rock band whose members all played instruments, but here of course Watson plays everything himself. "Ain't Movin" is the song that most displays the Family Stone influence.. On the whole the album is let down by the mediocre quality of the songs. "Family Clone" has a jazzy vibe and "Rio Dreamin" a bit of Brazilian doodling featuring Watson unusually on acoustic guitar. His guitar work is of course excellent and "What Is Love" in enhanced by some nice touches on the melodica, but new comers to the talent of JGW would be advised to check out his first album for DJM "Ain't That A Bitch" or the compilation "You Need It" both available on Sanctuary.

After seven albums for DJM and a ten year hiatus after a critically acclaimed album, 1984's "Stike On Computers" by which time, Watson had won the admiration and respect of such rap stars as Snoop Doggy Dog, Ice Cube, Ice T and Dr Dre, and came back with a strong album "Bow Wow". The opening track "Johnny G Is Back" announces his return to recording and the signing of his new contract and all the places he has played in his absence from the recording studio. The title track "Bow Wow" is obviously influenced by Prince and "My Funk" influenced by the group Cameo. "Doing Wrong Woman" is the slow blues that Watson excels at and even the vocals put through that bloody vocoder don't spoil it. "Bow Wow's" best moments though are the ballads, "It Takes 2" is particularly affecting and "Hook Me Up" used double tracked vocals to great effect.

If you have never experienced JGW's unique blend of blues guitar, funk and soul then do not put it off for any longer

Derek McCann

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