Song:A Real Mother For Ya
Album:The Best Of The Funk Years
Johnny "Guitar" Watson started out as a blues guitarist in the 50s. But he reinvented himself in the 70s as a funkmaster complete with pimp clothes. A Real Mother For Ya was his biggest hit but his influence on hip hop is wide. He was born John Watson Jr. Feb. 3, 1935 in Houston. His father played piano and his grandfather was a preacher who played guitar. Watson's main influences were T-Bone Walker and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. His parents divorced in 1950 and Watson moved with his mother to Los Angeles. He recorded for Federal Records as Young John Watson and then got his nickname from the 1953 classic western Johnny Guitar. Though Watson's 50s recordings are outstanding, he couldn't seem to break through with a big hit. Watson also toured and recorded with his best friend Larry Williams (Bony Marony). Watson signed with Fantasy Records in 1973 and he reemerged as a funk gangster. After three albums for Fantasy, he moved to DJM Records owned by British music publisher Dick James and distributed by Buffalo record wholesaler Transcontinental. His first album for DJM Ain't That A Bitch sold a half a million copies and was certified Gold. Superman Lover was a top 20 R & B hit, Watson's biggest hit since the 50s. His next album A Real Mother For Ya was even bigger and the single A Real Mother For Ya reached #5 on the R & B Singles chart. This was Watson's biggest hit. He also claimed to invent rap with his 1980 single Telephone Bill. Watson said rapping was based on talking blues that he had done since he was a kid. In 1981, Watson moved to A & M Records and though he didn't record much after that, he continued to tour until he died of a heart attack while on stage in Yokohama, Japan on May 17, 1996 at age 61. This Shout! Factory budget comp covers Watson's DJM recordings. Watson played guitar on Dr. Dre's 1993 hit Let Me Ride. Those guys respected him for paving the way for them and their tribute is to sample Watson's music. Here's the video for A Real Mother For Ya by Johnny "Guitar" Watson.