Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to Ilictronix. This is Boba, blog reader and all-around electronic music fan (I wrote the Proxyon article, if anyone remembers that) and today I have another track from the dark, distant past, from a band that helped define dance music.
Now then, I should get this straight right now: The Brothers Johnson are not electronic music. But they ARE disco/funk, both genres are extremely important tot the development of modern dance music. Most of our Justice-esque basslines and Le Knight Club melodies are inspired by this sort of music (coincidentally, both Justice and Le Knight Club have sampled The Brothers Johnson)
The story of me coming across today;s song is very interesting, and very not-so-interesting at the same time. It begins with justice’s track Newjack, which features some very odd vocals. Well, one day on youtube, I discovered these vocals were sampled from a track called ‘Make Me Wanna Wiggle’ by some sort of disco group… it was a very neat song; by singing the same tune the guitar and/or bass (not sure which, really) are playing with a falsetto, they achieved an interesting sort of talkbox-ish sound, without any talkboxes involved (or so my research tells me). I fell in love.
Sometime later, I heard of a record store in the nearby city of Seattle called ‘Jive Time Records’. The photos of the store made it looks pretty small, but the promise of 99 cent bargain bins piqued my interest. On my next trip to the area, I begged my dad to let us take a side trip over and check it out. We did. Now, judging by the store size and the whole ‘bargain bin’ thing, I wasn’t expecting much… but I got quite a good haul. In the end, I got about $500 worth of vinyl for around $50. The bargain bins were great… not a lot of rare stuff, it was just all their common record overflow, but I got lots of good stuff like Depeche Mode, and The Brothers Johnson. So for about $4, I got four TBJ albums. The reeeally funny thing is, a record store in my own hometown I had been at just the night before wanted 10 bucks apiece for them. So I kinda won. Anyway, got home, listened to them… great, great stuff. The last track on their album BLAM!, pictured above, is called Streetwave, a 100% instrumental track that’s 10000% amazing. That is the track I selected to accompany the article, and to some of you French house fans, the melody should sound VERY familiar.
Now enough about my record shopping! Here is a little info about TBJ themselves. The Brothers Johnson is a duo made up of, you guessed it, two brothers whose last name is Johnson. George, guitar, and Louis, bass, were originally part of a band called Johnson Thee Plus One, which included their older brother Tommy, and their cousin Alex Weir. After making professional status, the two began playing for live acts by groups like the Supremes, before Quincy Jones hired them to tour in Japan, and produced their first album in 1976. Other albums followed in the next couple years, including BLAM! In 1978. In 1980, their hit album Light Up The Night climbed up to 5th on the top 200 charts; this album contained their notable song ‘Strawberry Letter 23’, the only song by TBJ that my dad recognizes. In 1982, the duo split up and went their separate ways; Louis went on to play bass in Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and George went solo. He recorded an entire album under the name ‘The Brother Johnson’, only one track from which was ever released. The duo reformed in 1984 for two more albums, both of which didn’t quite match up to anything they had done before. And with that, you get a basic idea of the group.
So there you have it, an iconic and important band in the history of dance music. Please enjoy “Streetwave” by The Brothers Johnson.
Well he pretty much said it himself, today's track is "Streetwave" by The Brothers Johnson. If you don't recognize the sample, you are deaf.
The Brothers Johnson - Streetwave [right click to download]
Keep in mind, I'm still open to 3rd party articles!!!! So send em my way!