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Al Johnson - Singer -Songwriter And Record Producer


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Al Johnson - Singer -Songwriter And Record Producer magazine cover

From soultracks...

Al's longtime friend, Jean Carn, posted the following today:

I received a message and text earlier from Jeff Majors saying that my Friend and favorite Voice, Al Johnson passed away this morning.

A Fan since"The Beginning of My End", I've been recalling the many, many times I've had the pleasure and privilege to share the mic and the stage and commiserate in the studio with Al.

Our first recording was "I'm Back For More" which has been sampled many times and was covered, beautifully by Bobby Womack and Lulu.

His orchestral arrangements for Artists like The Whispers, were beyond Genius.

Thanks Al, for composing the title tune for my Motown album, "Trust Me" and "We've Got Some Catching Up To Do".

Thank you Jeff Majors for bringing Al and me together for what has become our last onstage performance.

My Love and Prayers are with Al's beautiful Wife and Family.

Right now, I simply can't imagine Music existing without the Voice that lovingly brought us "The 23rd Psalm".

Al Johnson, your incomparable Spirit will live on in the gigantic space that you occupy in my heart.

Rest in Peace, Beloved Musical Warrior..

 

While never long in the spotlight, Al Johnson quietly created some very memorable Soul music for himself and others over a more than forty year career, and developed a small but loyal following over that period as a top notch songwriter, singer and musician.

Johnson first scored as the lead singer of the Unifics, a group formed at Howard University in Washington, D.C. which had a big hit with "The Court of Love." After another minor hit, "The Beginning of My End," the group split and Johnson began a long string as a session musician, songwriter, arranger and producer.

 

full article can be read at

http://www.soultracks.com/al-johnson-dies

View attachment: image.jpg

 

 

from wikipedia

 

Born in Newport News, Virginia in 1948, Johnson attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. and while there, co-founded the soul group, The Unifics.The group, with Johnson as lead singer, scored three hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968 and 1969 for the Kapp Records label. The first, "Court Of Love" climbed to #25, but reached #3 on the US Billboard R&B chart. The follow-up, "The Beginning Of The End" got to #36 on the Hot 100 and #9 R&B. Two further releases in 1969 reached the R&B chart.

 

Johnson returned to recording in 1978 with a solo album, Peaceful which he co-produced, as well as arranging and co-writing, for a small label, Marina, part-owned by former singer, Lloyd Price.

 

In 1980, Johnson collaborated with jazz/soul producer Norman Connors, for an album, Back for More, on Columbia Records. This came after he had sung on Norman Connors' album, Invitation for Arista Records in 1979, singing the lead track, "Your Love". Back For More peaked at #48 on the Billboard Black Albums chart.[2] The lead single from the album, "I'm Back for More", a duet with Jean Carn,[3] reached #26 on the R&B chart, whilst the follow-up, "I've Got My Second Wind", hit #58, both in 1980

 

Around this time, Johnson was writing, arranging and also playing keyboards on recording sessions, including for the Willie Lester-Rodney Brown production team that released several successful disco/soul albums on Prelude in the early 1980s, with acts such as Sharon Redd, Bobby Thurston and Gayle Adams.

 

In the 1990s, Johnson worked with The Whispers on several albums and, in 1999, released another solo album for an independent label, Clout. Johnson re-formed the Unifics with original group member Tom Fauntleroy, and also toured with a solo gospel show. The group issued a new album, Unifics Return in 2005.

 

Johnson, aged 65, died on October 26, 2013




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Oh my gosh, no!!!!

What a tragedy, 65 is no age!!

"I'm back for more" is my all time favourite "modern" song & I'm so thankful that I saw him perform it a couple of years ago, & I met him after. I also saw Jean Carn perform it that year too, but sadly they weren't on the same stage.

Thank you Al for pulling at my heartstrings with your sensual voice.

Rest in Peace Mr Johnson

With love & sympathy

Alison xx

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Sad to hear this.

I'll never forget when Al visited my old office at Ardent Music in late 1992.

We all had a few drinks while Al played the piano and we all sang the recent Boyz II Men hit 'End Of The Road' because George Bush Sr had just lost the election to Bill Clinton.

 

Al was delighted that it was the end of the road for Mr Bush and I always think of Al whenever I hear that song.

He was a great man.

Rest in peace.

 

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I met Al in the hotel foyer in New Jersey at SoulTrip USA. Unfortunately the group (Unifics), turned up too late perform and most of the people were leaving the event. I was sat with my laptop and the group were sat in an area within earshot, sort of looking lost and not knowing who to speak to when I thought I recognised Al. I then put soulclub.org on, turned up the sound and played "The Beginning Of My End". He immediately come over and said "That's us!" I said "I know and it was produced by a hero of mine!" (Richie Rome). We then spent a few hours together over coffee and donuts and on my return to Florida where I was living at the time, relayed the meeting to Jason my mate who it transpired was a huge fan. I gave him the contact details and Jas produced a fantastic feature on Al (and The Unifics ) for Issue #9 of There's That Beat!

As I've commented before, records are important for sure, but it's the people that really count. Great memories of the group, their enthusiasm and especially AL who was absolutely dumbstruck when he saw the feature we published. Sleep well big fella.... and the heartiest of congratulations on a job...extremely well done.

Regards,

Dave

PS - Bev still has a few Issue #9s if anyone wants to read a full account of Al's (and the groups) musical lives. bevmoore@earthlink.net

post-1369-0-56619100-1382862650_thumb.jp post-1369-0-47426700-1382862752_thumb.jp

post-1369-0-37995500-1382862699_thumb.jp

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RIP.  I'm back for me is one of the tunes for me.

Agree completely about "I'm back for more"

"I've got my second wind" is up there as well.

Sublime songs from a real master of soul

Regards

Ali

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I met Al in the hotel foyer in New Jersey at SoulTrip USA. Unfortunately the group (Unifics), turned up too late perform and most of the people were leaving the event. I was sat with my laptop and the group were sat in an area within earshot, sort of looking lost and not knowing who to speak to when I thought I recognised Al. I then put soulclub.org on, turned up the sound and played "The Beginning Of My End". He immediately come over and said "That's us!" I said "I know and it was produced by a hero of mine!" (Richie Rome). We then spent a few hours together over coffee and donuts and on my return to Florida where I was living at the time, relayed the meeting to Jason my mate who it transpired was a huge fan. I gave him the contact details and Jas produced a fantastic feature on Al (and The Unifics ) for Issue #9 of There's That Beat!As I've commented before, records are important for sure, but it's the people that really count. Great memories of the group, their enthusiasm and especially AL who was absolutely dumbstruck when he saw the feature we published. Sleep well big fella.... and the heartiest of congratulations on a job...extremely well done.attachicon.gifbeginningofmyend.jpg attachicon.gifphoto.jpgattachicon.gifnew jersey 002.jpg

What a lovely tribute Dave, & your ending sentence sums it up perfectly

Regards

Ali

Edited by Alison H
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Very sad news, such a talented guy.

Such a talent - ironically was following the fab thread on Al and his production of Seville's "Show me the way" .

.I always thought his Peaceful album was one of Al Johnson's finest moments :-

Al Johnson RIP ....

TFK

Edited by tfk
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We are sad to inform SoulTrackers that Al Johnson, a longtime SoulTracks favorite as a solo singer and member of the Unifics, has died at the age of 65.

Al's longtime friend, Jean Carn, posted the following today:

I received a message and text earlier from Jeff Majors saying that my Friend and favorite Voice, Al Johnson passed away this morning.

A Fan since"The Beginning of My End", I've been recalling the many, many times I've had the pleasure and privilege to share the mic and the stage and commiserate in the studio with Al.

Our first recording was "I'm Back For More" which has been sampled many times and was covered, beautifully by Bobby Womack and Lulu.

His orchestral arrangements for Artists like The Whispers, were beyond Genius.

Thanks Al, for composing the title tune for my Motown album, "Trust Me" and "We've Got Some Catching Up To Do".

Thank you Jeff Majors for bringing Al and me together for what has become our last onstage performance.

My Love and Prayers are with Al's beautiful Wife and Family.

Right now, I simply can't imagine Music existing without the Voice that lovingly brought us "The 23rd Psalm".

Al Johnson, your incomparable Spirit will live on in the gigantic space that you occupy in my heart.

Rest in Peace, Beloved Musical Warrior..

While never long in the spotlight, Al Johnson quietly created some very memorable Soul music for himself and others over a more than forty year career, and developed a small but loyal following over that period as a top notch songwriter, singer and musician.

Johnson first scored as the lead singer of the Unifics, a group formed at Howard University in Washington, D.C. which had a big hit with "The Court of Love." After another minor hit, "The Beginning of My End," the group split and Johnson began a long string as a session musician, songwriter, arranger and producer.

Johnson next formed the short lived group Positive Change and also recorded a solo album, Peaceful, in 1978. He then worked with producer extraordinaire, Norman Connors, providing guest vocals on Connors' Take It To the Limit album. Connors returned the favor, producing Johnson's major label debut, Back For More, a gem of an album that included a number of new cuts plus re-recordings of a few songs from Peaceful. The title cut from the album, a duet with Jean Carn (later covered by Tavares), became an underground Soul classic. The rest of the album was wonderful, especially the upbeat "I've Got My Second Wind" and the beautiful ballads "You Are My Personal Angel" and "Peaceful." And while initial sales of the album did not merit a follow-up, the disc became a cult classic that is still considered by many as one of the great soul albums of the early 80s. After years out of print, it was reissued on the SoulMusic.com label in 2011.

Johnson spent most of the 80s and 90s continuing to provide session help for other artists, including the Whispers, Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson. Then, in 1999, he went back to the studio to record his first album in nearly two decades, My Heart Is An Open Book, on the Clout label. The album found him in excellent voice (maybe even better than in his youth) and included a number of solid cuts that updated the classic soul sound of Johnson's earlier work. Especially notable on the album were the title cut, "Here's Looking At You" and the smooth midtempo, "Tranquility." It again developed for Johnson a small but loyal following (especially in Europe) and demonstrated that, while Johnson is known mostly for his support work for other artists, he has the both the songwriting and vocal talent of a great solo artist. His albums, though hard to find, are worth seeking out.

Johnson continued working into the 21st century, performing on Jeff Majors' 2002 album Sacred 4 You and, in late 2004, reuniting with the Unifics for gigs in the DC area. They also released a solid album, Unifics Return, an enjoyable reunion disc. Johnson was back in the studio in 2011 working on his first solo album in more than a decade, Maybe the Fire Isn't Out, an album that was never released. In Summer of that year he released the first single to radio, "It's Real."."

what a fine obit to a great man rip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1o0-v_OenM

kev

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Peaceful,probably the first album i ever bought and still one of my favourites today,such an incredible voice. True legend to us soulies and will be greatly missed, his music will stay with us and for that I'm sure we are all truly greatfull.

Rest in peace al Johnson

Mark n pam

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Had the great pleasure of meeting Al in the early 90s at one of the Southport weekenders and had more than my fair share of time with him and he was more than happy to autograph items for me. All still safety here.

Like so many artistes he was quite taken aback by the knowledge and passion the UK soul fans showed him. Another talented person joining that ever increasing list of artistes that are now gone but not forgotten.

God has one hell of a choir up there!

RIP Mr Johnson

Dave H.

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Leroy Burgess: Facebook

 

Leroy Burgess

 

GOOD MORNING, beloved Facebook family & friends.
 
Today, I want to talk about AL JOHNSON (Lead singer of the UNIFICS), who passed away on Saturday.
 
When "Court Of Love" was released in 1968, I was an impressionable 15 year old, thirsting for inspiration and the chance to work in music for real.
 
Not only was this record mega-popular in my 'hood but, to me, was an excellent example of the elements of a hit record... a great storyline (cleverly written and immaculately produced by Guy Draper), paired with stunningly soulful vocal performances.. but one which I considered a template for what a successful group should strive for.
 
When it was followed-up by the exquisitely haunting "Beginning Of My End", I was a fan for life.

Three short years later, my first record with Black Ivory "Don't Turn Around" would thrust us into sharing the stage with our idols... very much a dream come true.
 
We watched and absorbed every move they made and note they sang like sponges... and were further blessed by Al Johnson's friendly and humble demeanor on many occasions, when he would offer us advice and pointers on our then brand new careers.
 
I never forgot them.

Time passes.
 
The world keeps turning.
 
And, as groups often do, our groups grew apart.. following our separate paths to their conclusion.
 
Then, in very recent years & months (last July being the latest of them), we had the opportunity to again share the stage with Al & Company and revisit those magic early years.
 
They are moments I will treasure forever.

Our time on Earth is short but filled with awesome and amazing blessings each and every day.
 
Al Johnson was one such blessing in my life. I will miss him but will never forget the legacy he left with me and so many... through sharing his wonderful gifts.
 
Rest well in GOD'S everlasting peace, my friend.
 
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Edited by Barry
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Just seen this thread Andy, personal faves for me, "I'll do anything for you" "Peaceful" and this with The Unifics

 

 

 

Rest in peace Al

 

Kev

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This is a great photo that I took of two of my favourite men, my best buddy Mick & the wonderful Al Johnson who I'm sure is resting in paradise 

 

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