Look Out for #1

Look Out for #1

Brothers George “Lightnin’ Licks” Johnson and Louis “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson burst onto the scene in 1976 with their #1 hit “I’ll Be Good to You,” a brilliant amalgam of funk, disco, and pop, and one of the finest songs of that year. The accompanying album, Look Out For #1, is just as good. Produced and arranged by Quincy Jones, the record boasts several high-caliber players from the Los Angeles jazz and R&B scenes, including drummer Harvey Mason, guitarist Lee Ritenour, and pianist Dave Grusin (in addition to a bevy of top-notch horn players). Their playing keeps the album from being just another disco-funk knockoff. Jones makes the sound fat and smooth and warm — there isn’t a song here that wouldn’t qualify as top-down summertime cruising music. Of course, all the fine playing and production wouldn’t matter at all if it weren’t for the Johnsons’ rock solid songwriting. There is an unparalleled feel for stoned groove in “Tomorrow” and “The Devil,” but “Get the Funk out Ma Face” and “Land of Ladies” confirm the duo’s ability to write hooks as sweet and addictive as gumdrops.

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