THIS FROM THAT – JOHNNY GUITAR WATSON FROM THE EMOTIONS

In 1980 Johnny Guitar Watson released a song titled, “Love Jones.”  I loved the song at the first needle drop but quickly paused because something was very, very familiar.  I don’t know why I didn’t hear it with the first four notes of the song but since I knew it was a Johnny Guitar Watson song, my mind wouldn’t go there.  This was at a time pre-dating artists sampling other people’s music.  Then, it dawned on me… Oh, no he didn’t!!!  You mean to tell me… he re-recorded the Emotions’ music track from “Don’t Ask My Neighbor” and just sang a whole other song on top of it?  He wouldn’t do that, would he?  “Don’t Ask My Neighbor” was just out three years prior and given that it was so recent and such a great big ol’ hit, the melody was still fresh in everybody’s mind.  It was such a smash hit, the melody is still fresh in everybody’s mind some 30 years later.  But yep, that’s what he did!  He sang a whole other song on top of a re-recorded track of the Emotions 1977 jam, “Don’t Ask My Neighbor.”  Johnny called his song, “Love Jones,” not to be confused with his similarly titled song, “Lover Jones.”  Once I got over the initial, “Oh no he didn’t” shock, turns out… I STILL LOVE THIS SONG!!  Hey, it was Johnny Guitar Watson… at a time when he was on one of those rolls where everything he put out was slammin’!  Me loving “Love Jones,” never took anything away from my love for “Don’t Ask My Neighbor.”  What I haven’t been able to find out is who is singing the song with Johnny.  Anybody Know?  If you know, please post a comment and share this tidbit with all of us.

 A similar but slightly different thing happened with the song, “Love Hangover.”  In 1976, Diana Ross and the Fifth Dimension (after the departure of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.) released the song at the same time.  Actually, Fifth Dimension put “Love Hangover” out first on ABC Records and Motown hurriedly released Diana’s version shortly thereafter.  At the radio station where I was DJ’ing in Detroit, we were initially faced with the dilemma of which version to play.  It was quickly decided for us DJ’s that the Diana Ross version was the only one we could play.  At the time, I liked the Fifth Dimension rendition best but I recently listened to both versions and concluded our Music Director knew music better than my milk-breathed self did.  I agree with that choice now but still wish we would have played both versions of “Love Hangover” and let the listeners make up their own minds.  I’m sure a lot of politics went into the Music Director’s decision to limit our choice.

 Young Hip-Hop artists do this all the time now, mostly sampling previously recorded tracks and laying their vocals or raps on top of them.  Angie Stone sang “Wish I Didn’t Miss You” over samplings of the O’Jays’, “Back Stabbers” track.  But in 1980, this was unheard of.  In fact, just any ol’ body wouldn’t have been able to pull this off… but this is Johnny Guitar Watson we’re talking about.  We will feature him next month in NO SKIPS NO SCRATCHES… but for now, consider this song a tease.  Enjoy the side-by-side comparison of Johnny Guitar Watson’s, “Love Jones” and the Emotions’, “Don’t Ask My Neighbor”THIS FROM THAT.


posted by chosen1601


posted by chosen1601