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Little Johnny Taylor

Some people still have them mixed up, to get it direct from the outset, Little Johnny Taylor was most widely known for his scorching gradual blues smashes “IN YOUR FREE TIME Love” (for Bay Area-based Galaxy Records in 1963) and 1971’s “EVERYONE KNOWS About My POSITIVE THING” for Ronn Records in Shreveport, LA. This Johnny Taylor was not at all the suave Sam Cooke protégé who blitzed the graphs with “Who’s HAVING INTERCOURSE” for Stax in 1968; that’s Johnnie Taylor, who put into the dilemma by covering “IN YOUR FREE TIME Appreciate” for Stax. Another similarity between your two Taylors: both hailed from solid gospel backgrounds. Small Johnny found LA in 1950 and do a stint using the Mighty Clouds of Pleasure prior to going secular. Inspired by Small Willie John, he debuted as an R&B musician with a set of 45s for Hunter Hancock’s Swingin’ logo design, but his profession didn’t soar until he inked a pact with Fantasy’s Galaxy subsidiary in 1963 (where he benefited from sharp creation by Cliff Goldsmith and Ray Shanklin’s plans). The gliding mid-tempo blues “YOU WILL NEED Another Favour,” firmly inside a Bobby Bland setting, was Taylor’s 1st graph item. He adopted it up using the tortured R&B chart-topper “IN YOUR FREE TIME Like,” which discovered him testifying in gospel-fired design over Arthur Wright’s biting acoustic guitar and a milling, horn-leavened downbeat groove. The vocalist also did pretty well with “Since I CAME ACROSS a New Like” in 1964 and “Zig Zag Lightning” in 1966. Taylor’s tenure at Stan Lewis’ Ronn imprint elicited the sluggish blues smash “EVERYONE KNOWS About My POSITIVE THING” in 1971, along with a likewise witty strike follow-up, “Open up House within my House,” another year (both had been covered afterwards by Z.Z. Hill for Malaco). While at Ronn, Small Johnny lower some duets with just one more Taylor, that one called Ted (no, they weren’t related either). Though he documented only sparingly through the 1980s and 1990s, he continued to be a dynamic performer until his loss of life in 2002.

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