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Johnny Adams

Renowned around his Crescent City home base as "the Tan Canary" for his extraordinary set of soulfully soaring pipes, veteran R&B vocalist Johnny Adams tackled an exceptionally wide variety of material for Rounder in his later years; elegantly rendered tribute albums to legendary songwriters Doc Pomus and Percy Mayfield preceded forays into mellow, jazzier pastures. But then, Adams was never particularly into the parade-beat grooves that traditionally define the New Orleans R&B sound, preferring to deliver sophisticated soul ballads draped in strings.

Adams sang gospel professionally before crossing over to the secular world in 1959. Songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie -- the woman responsible for cleaning up the bawdy lyrics of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" enough for worldwide consumption -- convinced her neighbor, Adams, to sing her tasty ballad "I Won't Cry." The track, produced by a teenaged Mac Rebennack, was released on Joe Ruffino's Ric logo, and Adams was on his way. He waxed some outstanding follow-ups for Ric, notably "A Losing Battle" (the Rebennack-penned gem proved Adams' first national R&B hit in 1962) and "Life Is a Struggle."

After a prolonged dry spell, Adams resurfaced in 1968 with an impassioned R&B revival of Jimmy Heap's country standard "Release Me" for Shelby Singleton's SSS imprint that blossomed into a national hit. Even more arresting was Adams' magnificent 1969 country-soul classic "Reconsider Me," his lone leap into the R&B Top Ten; in it, he swoops effortlessly up to a death-defying falsetto range to drive his anguished message home with fervor.

Despite several worthy SSS follow-ups ("I Can't Be All Bad" was another sizable seller), Adams never traversed those lofty commercial heights again (particularly disappointing was a short stay at Atlantic). But he found a new extended recording life at Rounder; his 1984 set, From the Heart, proved to the world that this Tan Canary could still chirp like a champ. With producer Scott Billington, he recorded some nine albums for the label prior to his cancer-related death on September 14, 1998. ~ Bill Dahl, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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The best of Johnny adams


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OMG, my woman is a Fortune Teller...Mr. Adams, you ROCK! Because back in the days, my male relatives would have me rolling about stories about women. You told this song to a T
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jeff.mauldin 6 4
i've found me another GREAT BLUES MAN!!! Y'all need to utube TEXAS BLUES MAN Wes Jeans from Marshall, TEXAS
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I've been listening to Johnny Adams for the past 8 years or so. Particular favorites are A Room with a View of the Blues and Body & Fender Man - I persuaded the jukebox owner at my local to add Johnny Adams to the selections and he made some new fans ...everybody digs it!
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very good blues
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mikben98
Great singer
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I remember back in the day 78' at your house with Jesse Hill and me. You just bought this new guitar , I brought Jimmy Robinson over to help you get down. I knew you were a great singer but I did not realize you we're the best ever. It goes to show that Aman can be thirsty standing in pure, clean water.RIP
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joseph44mill e r
Again what was old is now NEW.
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TAN CANARY The Life And Timezzz Of Bluzzz 67k 3m 14y
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He's from an era where men could sing. Don't get me started on what we have today that masquerades as music.
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Blues lovers: Be sure to check out his ultra-soulfu l song 'There's Always One More Time', and thanks to Lolly Obedah from KFAI, Minneapolis for making sure her listeners hear Johnny Adams music on 'The Sugar Shop'.
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The Tan Canary i had the pleasure to see him perform many times in new orleans .livening here we got to see the best k doe irma jessie hill fats lee dorsey tommie ridgley danny white bobby mitchell dr john allen tousaint chris kenner barbra george dixie cups decon john art &aaron neville.to name a few how lucky can we be in new orleans.The best song i ever heard Johnny sing was his version of RELEASE ME.IT WILL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF .I CAN'T LISTEN TO IT ONCE I PLAY IT OVER AND OVER.DENNY R MAN
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you have got to be kidding me,an untrustworth y woman! never heard of such a thing
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Back on NOLA recently and heard the Wolfman Washington do a number of his stuff... wonderful !
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have loved his music for years. what a loss!
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vickieprice
Outstanding vocalist! Defies classificati o n .
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grt down johnny,
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joel.cavicch i a
"the tan canary" . . .Johnny Adams . . .a voice like velvet
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i really love the way he sings,hes very very talented....
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he can sing....wow. . . . i like him...
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I Love his music, just discovered him through Pandora. Thank you Pandora.
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davel48
Great rendition of Cover the Waterfront.
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Lordy,lordy hav' mercy! how I love Johnny Adams. His vocal ability was nothing short of magnificent. He is one reason I often times feel homesick for Louisiana. Oh how I wish he was still around.
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I love Johnny Adams, living in New Orleans I remember the CHANDILIER LOUNGE. Good times to remember.
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johnny was one new orleans finest. it was a treat to here HIM at mason las vegas strip in the days. and it was even a better treat when he would stop in on his good friend&my good friend mr. b3 hammond organ SAMMY BERFECT,OVER AT FREDDIE'S CHANDILIER NITE CLUB.WHAT A TIME THEY WOULD HAVE.
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bogaloo
*** Heart & soul ballets,very romantic! ***
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I'd never heard of him before now and am wowed by the number of albums he made!
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johnny sounds a little like les mcanne, he puts his heart into his work,try nether one of us wants to say goodbuy.
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sherryhames
love it; thanks pandora!
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Scarred knees: his is the best! What a a great vocalist.
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nice what can I say but niiiccee!!! ;->
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I don't like his music

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