Thursday, June 05, 2014

#MySummerJam: The Brothers Johnson, “I’ll Be Good To You”

The brothers who described themselves on their jacket copy as “Thunderin’ Thumbs and Lightnin’ Licks” are best known for their 1977 cover of Shuggie Otis’ “Strawberry Letter 23.” Which was a fine thing indeed, but the opening track from The Brothers Johnson’s debut album, Look Out for #1,  takes me back to the best of the Bicentennial summer the year before, when I went to North Myrtle Beach and met that girl from New Jersey. That summer of mononucleosis. The last summer I built models. (The Space:1999 Eagle transport ship and the U.S.S. Enterprise Bridge.)

It was a short childhood, Charlie Brown. But, as Mr. Lennon pointed out in his last interview, we’ll always have the records to play.

Producer Quincy Jones knows how to lay down a groove. Note how the background singers become a driving rhythm instrument all their own during the chorus. As Jones would later do for Michael Jackson, he did for the Brothers Johnson in 1976.