Sometimes It's Heavy, Sometimes It's Wet





:: Johnny Gunn - Night ::

There have been a lot of Johnny Gunns in music history, especially in the rockabilly, heavy metal and punk fields. But none of them are quite like this Johnny Gunn.

Falling off the '50s coffee house hipster word jazz bandwagon sometime near the end of that decade, he first made a name for himself reading ad copy for a radio station in San Diego. Someone at WB Records heard him and had a great idea: Match him up with arranger Don Ralke and a fleet of top notch jazz musicians of the day and set him loose in a very expensive recording studio. The results? Let's just say I don't think this Johnny Gunn was ever heard from again, or maybe he morphed into a heavy metal guitar God.



This album is a very good example of the pointless crap WB distributed in great quantities in the early years of their existence. Initially a vanity project of studio founder Jack Warner, the label's roster consisted of literally no stars, unless you count musically untalented TV stars, and they had no hits until they bought out the Everly Brothers' contract, and then signed acts like Bob Newhart and Peter, Paul and Mary.

I tend to love these late '50s/early '60s WB records. They come with great cover art including an inner sleeve which usually includes a wonderful aerial shot of WB Studios in Burbank. The pressings are always top notch, and a lot of the time the music (or Muzak as the case may be) is surprisingly decent.

"Night" tries to be spooky and scary and stuff like that. It winds up just being wacky, but what the hell? Happy Halloween!


Mike
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Friday, February 27, 2009 9:17:00 AM

I met Johnny in 1966 and we are still good friends. As of this writing - 2008-02-27 - he is currently living in Morro Bay, CA enjoying retired life and is a prolific writer. I always equated this album to Ken Nordine's Word Jazz series and respected his work evean back when I bought the album new in 1960. I am very fortunate to have a CD made from the original Warners masters he gave me a few years ago.    



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