Friday, March 9, 2012

The Tan Canary: Johnny Adams

Johnny Adams

An old favourite is always a good way to end the week. Johnny Adams was a famous singer from New Orleans known as the Tan Canary for his clear, soaring falsetto and soulful stylings.  Like so many of his African American peers he started singing by praising the Lord in his local church but crossed over to the Devil’s music around 1960.  Several of his first hits were either written by or produced by a teenaged young white piano player named Mac Rebbenack (Dr John).

Adams started out recording for New Orleans-based label Ric Records but throughout the sixties jumped to labels in LA and eventually found a home and his best success in the late years of that decade with a Nashville label, SSS.  Though he never troubled the higher registers of the charts much in the 70’s he continued to perform in New Orleans and tour the world. And in the process was able to explore a wider range of singing styles, including jazz inspired albums. 

In 1998 he succumbed to cancer and left one of the great musical cities of the USA feeling as if a part of its soul had died. Over the years many of New Orleans’ finest had lined up to work with Johnny, including Harry Connick Jr., Dr. John and Aaron Neville.

This collection is some of his earliest work with Ric and Ron Records.  Each cut is a little gem in the vein of the lush sounds of Bobby Blue Bland. And that falsetto at the top of an incredibly expressive voice is simply magnificent.

            Track Listing:
            01 (Oh Why) I Won't Cry
02 Life is a Struggle
03 A Losing Battle
04 Nowhere to Go
05 Oh So Nice
06 I Want to Do Everything For You
07 You Can Make It If You Try
08 Teach Me To Forget
09 Let the Winds Blow
10 I Solemnly Promise
11 Who Are You
12 Come O
13 Someone For You
14 Lonely Drifter

Listen here.

1 comment:

Judy Adams said...

For more information on the book about The Johnny Adams Story and upcoming documentary, please contact, Judy Adams, Johnny Adams' widow at