Johnny Otis - Johnny Otis Show: Vintage 1950's Broadcasts from Los Angeles

Johnny Otis - Johnny Otis Show: Vintage 1950's Broadcasts from Los Angeles
Artist: Johnny Otis
Duration: 01:15:19
Album: Johnny Otis Show: Vintage 1950's Broadcasts from Los Angeles
Recording Date: 1953 - 1958
Genre: Blues
Styles: Early R&B
Release Date: September 30, 2003

First things first: this isn't exactly a Johnny Otis record, even though some of the tracks are by him or the Johnny Otis Band. It's actually a compilation based around air checks and live broadcasts from 1950s radio and television shows in which Otis was the radio DJ, host, and/or one of the performers. It's confusing, indeed, to try to describe as a soundbite sentence in a record review, particularly as it also includes actual records (taken from the masters, not from the tapes of the broadcasts) that Otis played on his shows by the likes of Billy Ward & the Dominoes, Kip Tyler & the Flips, Don & Dewey, and Larry Williams -- not to mention ads, too, and even a 30-second radio spot from the early '60s by Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills endorsing Otis' candidacy for California state assembly. The liner notes aptly describe it as an "audio-verite collage" and if you're willing to listen to such an unconventionally structured compilation, it's a pretty fun spin for dedicated 1950s R&B/rock & roll fans.

That's not really because of the music, which is decent (and sometimes quite rare), but not great. It's more because it captures the humor, spontaneity, and slightly mad flavor of how the music was presented to the public back when R&B and rock & roll were new, when ads for barbershops, off-the-cuff artist interviews (jazzbo Slim Gaillard somehow shows up for one here), and generally outrageous DJ shenanigans went shoulder-to-shoulder with the actual music. It's not totally lacking in musical rewards either, with some previously unissued live broadcasts featuring Otis (including a version of his hit "Willie & the Hand Jive"), the Penguins, and far more obscure singers Marie Adams and Little Arthur Matthews, all in okay sound quality considering the age of the broadcasts.

Some of the records played between the chatter are pretty hot too, like Don & Dewey's frantic, Little Richard-like "Justine" and Kip Tyler & the Flips' Bo Diddley-ish novelty "Jungle Hop."

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
Johnny Otis Signature / Johnny OtisJohnny Otis2:00
Bump on a Log / Henry GloverJohnny Otis feat: Lula Reed2:21
Le Coiffeur Ad (Spoken Word)Johnny Otis0:44
I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town / Roy Jacobs / Will WeldonJohnny Otis feat: Billy Ward2:46
Charles Ltd. Ad/Outro (Spoken Word)Johnny Otis1:38
Maury Wills Spot (Spoken Word)Johnny Otis0:30
Ktla-TV Intro/SoftJohnny Otis feat: Johnny Otis Band3:14
Metropolitan Ford Ad (Spoken Word)Johnny Otis1:51
Sweet Love / Curtis "Fitz" WilliamsJohnny Otis feat: The Penguins2:31
Willie and the Hand Jive / Johnny OtisJohnny Otis2:48
El Monte/Laguna Park Ad (Spoken Word)Johnny Otis1:39
One Sweet Letter / Joe LigginsJohnny Otis feat: Marie Adams1:46
Harlem Nocturne/Bye Bye Baby (Until We Meet Again) / Earle H. HagenJohnny Otis feat: Johnny Otis Band1:49
House Party Pa (Spoken Word)Johnny Otis0:39
One O'Clock Jump / Count BasieJohnny Otis feat: Johnny Otis Band6:22
Mama He Treats Your Daughter MeanJohnny Otis feat: Marie Adams4:48
Midnight at the Barrelhouse / Johnny OtisJohnny Otis feat: Johnny Otis Band3:28
All Night Long / Johnny OtisJohnny Otis feat: Johnny Otis Band2:39
I Don't Know / Willie MabonJohnny Otis3:35
Baby Don't Do It / Lowman PaulingJohnny Otis feat: Marie Adams3:13
Outro/Flyin' Home / Benny Goodman / Lionel HamptonJohnny Otis feat: Johnny Otis Band1:41
New Johnny Otis Show SpotJohnny Otis1:28
Tough Enough / Johnny OtisJohnny Otis2:32
Jungle Hop / Kip TylerJohnny Otis2:01
Slim Gaillard/Kingfish Skit (Spoken Word)Johnny Otis6:26
Justine / Don "Sugarcane" Harris / Dewey TerryJohnny Otis2:04
Thunderbird Club/Duttons Records Ads (Spoken Word)Johnny Otis1:19
Dirty Dishes / Terry FellJohnny Otis feat: Jeani Mack2:21
Not Too YoungJohnny Otis2:02
Sulphur 8 Ad (Spoken Word)Johnny Otis1:04
The Dummy / Larry WilliamsJohnny Otis feat: Larry Williams2:00

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