Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Johnny Otis Show: Cuttin' Up

This is what meat-and-potatoes R&B sounded like in 1970. Of particular note is the snarky shuffle "It's Good to Be Free", where the black narrator is informed by The Man that he is free and he tests this theory with his local cop and draft board, with mixed results. It turns out that's actually a pre-existing song from one of the group's side projects that's been slightly edited: The Johnny Otis Show had a cut-a-blue-streak alter ego band, Snatch and the Poontangs, and "It's Good To Be Free" started life as an S&P song that they liked enough to clean up the dirty lyrics in the chorus and slide it into this Epic LP. (The Snatch material is available on CD now, and it's worth getting just for "Two Time Slim", the baddest boast song from the coast of Maine to the coast of Spain).

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