9 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the period between Sly Stone’s creative dissipation and Rick James’ rise, Johnny “Guitar” Watson filled a void in the market for gutsy, self-directed, street-level R&B. By the time Ain’t That a Bitch appeared in 1976, Watson had been in the game for more than 20 years, and he was far from a manufactured figure. He was an instrumental virtuoso, but his music was also dark and sometimes menacing, with lascivious implications. “I Need It” became an international hit, but Watson’s music had a bigger impact on the underground circuit than it did on the pop charts. The dark, slightly debauched grooves of “Superman Lover,” “Won’t You Forgive Me Baby,” and the sublimely narcotic “We’re No Exception” formed a perfect soundtrack for late-night house parties and dimly lit bars in black neighborhoods all over America. Watson was smooth, but he wasn’t smoothed over. He sang and played as someone who understood the flavors of street life. Had he been born later, he would have surely been a hip-hop star. “Ain’t That a Bitch” is just one of many Watson songs that had a profound effect on the first few generation of rappers, especially those on the West coast.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the period between Sly Stone’s creative dissipation and Rick James’ rise, Johnny “Guitar” Watson filled a void in the market for gutsy, self-directed, street-level R&B. By the time Ain’t That a Bitch appeared in 1976, Watson had been in the game for more than 20 years, and he was far from a manufactured figure. He was an instrumental virtuoso, but his music was also dark and sometimes menacing, with lascivious implications. “I Need It” became an international hit, but Watson’s music had a bigger impact on the underground circuit than it did on the pop charts. The dark, slightly debauched grooves of “Superman Lover,” “Won’t You Forgive Me Baby,” and the sublimely narcotic “We’re No Exception” formed a perfect soundtrack for late-night house parties and dimly lit bars in black neighborhoods all over America. Watson was smooth, but he wasn’t smoothed over. He sang and played as someone who understood the flavors of street life. Had he been born later, he would have surely been a hip-hop star. “Ain’t That a Bitch” is just one of many Watson songs that had a profound effect on the first few generation of rappers, especially those on the West coast.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

Clearview Concepts ,

Instrumental Genius

He played almost all of the instruments. He wrote the music. Smooth vocals. I grew up listening to this record. Bluesy funk for the music lover in you.

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