Syl Johnson : Total Explosion

Syl Johnson : Total Explosion


Syl Johnson (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Tennie Hodges (guitar), Andrew Love, Lewis Collins (tenor sax), James Mitchell (baritone sax), Wayne Jackson (trumpet), Jack Hale (trombone), Charlie Hodges (organ, piano), Archie Turner, Earl Randle (piano), Leroy Hodges (bass), Howard Grimes, (drums), The Memphis Strings

Hi Records 32096

Pure Pleasure Records : LP 180 gram

Brand New and Sealed Record

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A1 - I Only Have Love
A2 - Bustin' Up Or Bustin' Out
A3 - Star Bright Star Lite
A4 - Watch What You Do To Me
A5 - Steppin' Out
B1 - Take Me To The River
B2 - It Ain't Easy
B3 - 'Bout To Make Me Leave Home
B4 - That's Just My Luck

Recorded in 1973 at Royal Recording Studios in South Lauderdale, Memphis, Tennessee.

During his eight-year stint with Hi Records, Syl Johnson was in the shadows of both Al Green and Ann Peebles. His albums never flew off the shelves but he could be trusted to release two or three good singles a year. By 1975, Johnson's partnership with Hi Records started to yield even more success. As this album's predecessors had Johnson vacillating between being a romantic and a wretch, Total Explosion explores his unrepentant side with good results. "I Only Have Love for You" is a classic Memphis shuffle and finds Johnson all but boasting about his lack of financial savvy, as he sings, "All I got to give is me." With all of the ill will and venom spewed on Total Explosion, the innocent "Star Bright, Star Lite" just still doesn't ring true. Johnson comes back to his senses on "Steppin' Out." The dramatic, hard-edged track is all anger and domestic unrest as he sings, "Excuse me, excuse me while I get dressed"; you get the feeling he won't be back anytime soon.

The album's biggest single was Johnson's slowed-down take on Green's "Take Me to the River." Although the religious/sexual imagery is lost in the translation, Johnson does a good job with it. The best track, the brilliantly arranged "Watch What You Do to Me" has Johnson playing the role of cuckold, and as he sings "I carry my piece, everywhere I go," it certainly made him more a menace than romantic balladeer. 

This Pure Pleasure LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the original analogue studio tapes through to the cutting head and was pressed with virgin vinyl at Pallas.