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Fat Possum

Syl Johnson

Total Explosion

60s 70s Soul Funk During his eightyear 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 hardedged 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 soonnbsp The album's biggest single was Johnson's sloweddown 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 'Total Explosion' was Johnson's most successful album at Hi Records and was one of the best in the label's catalog

  • 1. I Only Have Love
    2. Bustin' Up Or Bustin' Out
    3. Star Bright Star Lite
    4. Watch What You Do to Me
    5. Steppin' Out
    6. Take Me to the River
    7. It Ain't Easy
    8. 'Bout to Make Me Leave Home
    9. That's Just My Luck

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