Johnny Robinson- 1970 – Memphis High

Deep soul gem from the Hi studios, produced by Willie Mitchell, in the style of Al Green, O.V.Wright, or Syl Johnson.

Not much info’s can be found for Johnny Robinson, who begun his career with a superb deep soul ballad “it’s all over” which seems to have been his first 45. He was born in Tuskagee, Alabama in 1939 and had the normal gospel training before joining the secular world with this disc in 1966/7. No real info on the location of the recording, but Benny Hall’s name on the writing credits would suggest the Big Apple, but what a magnificent display of dramatic emotion Robinson puts on. He went on to cut 3 wonderful 45s for Okeh (the double sided “Poor Man”/”When A Man Cries” being amongst the best deep soul 45s) before trying his hand with Willie Mitchell who leased the famous Memphis High album to Epic. This LP is one of the best of the classic Hi sound sets and Johnny’s gruff, committed vocals suit the setting perfectly. A strange final 45 as the lead singer of Que Sunrise on Just Sunshine seems to have rounded off his recording career.

This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original epic records including covers

Tracks
A1. Funky Feet 2.54
A2. We Are Gonna Make It 2.25
A3. For Your Love 3.06
A4. Kansas City 2.28
A5. God Is Love 2.50
B1. Slip Away 3.00
B2. Nothing Can Touch This Love 3.29
B3. Lady Doctor 3.46
B4. Person To Person 2.31
B5. Reconsider Me 3.58
B6. Don’t Take It So Hard 3.12

Johnny Robinson’s sole studio LP remains a lost classic of Memphis soul. Produced by Willie Mitchell during one of his rare sabbaticals from the Hi Records stable, Memphis High captures a rougher, earthier sound than Mitchell’s landmark work for Al Green or Ann Peebles but proves well suited to Robinson’s gritty, impassioned approach. Robinson is a quintessential deep soul balladeer, rooted in gospel and haunted by demons. Mitchell’s slow-burning arrangements mirror the intensity of his subject, evoking the purity and turmoil of his psyche (All Music Guide).

There’s a CD reissue includes six bonus tracks comprising Robinson’s three subsequent singles for Okeh, most notably the poignant double-sided effort “Poor Man”/”When a Man Cries. You can buy original or reissue LP here.

If anyone has more information about Johnny Robinson please make a comment. Those who liked O.V. Wright and his amazing album “Memphis Unlimited” posted sometime ago, will adore this one too. Enjoy!!

Nobody can say it better than Groovy Emmanuel : It is southern groove definitely as it was defined by the great Willie Mitchell, all recorded at Memphis’ Hi studio but relealed by the big Epic. Thtat’s why it is called “Memphis High” not “Memphis Hi” at least in my mind! And it was all conceived in an old 8 track recorder, a poor equipment indeed, but capable enough to free such great feeling… A new black sound then that it was to become “The Sound” in the years to come, centered around some fine tuned-in drumming by Al Jackson Jr or Howard Grimes and brought up by the mighty playing of the fine session mucisians there. Teenie who did the arrangements here is one of the three Hodges brothers who did all the work at Hi studio. All due respect to them!!! Great great music.

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43 Comments
  • fooliver
    Posted at 09:40h, 08 July Reply

    Thx 4 sharing!!! Can’t wait 2 hear this 1.

  • T.A.
    Posted at 11:05h, 08 July Reply

    I am lucky enough to own this. I digged it because of the cover and Willie Michell’s production. Thought it would be good and proved an excellet deep soul album. i do not comment regularly but you give us history Soul lessons. Not an average album so far. i appreciate your work and waiting for more gems (Tony from Belgum)

  • Van
    Posted at 12:47h, 08 July Reply

    Many many thanks for the gem.

  • OsFunk
    Posted at 14:16h, 08 July Reply

    I’ve never heard of him, so i will give a try. thank u.

  • gorgio
    Posted at 14:17h, 08 July Reply

    Just listening to this right now, it is fantastic!!! thanks you very much.

  • Dreamer456
    Posted at 14:36h, 08 July Reply

    Thank you so much. I can’t wait to check it out.

  • Trag
    Posted at 14:52h, 08 July Reply

    I just found your blog and this fantastic record. Kudos. Fantastic!

  • CAN
    Posted at 21:50h, 08 July Reply

    I’ve been trying to find this album without a lot of luck so thanks for posting. I know is a classic.

  • Rich
    Posted at 23:39h, 08 July Reply

    Nikos this guy is new to me so thank u for the brief info on him.

  • manny
    Posted at 23:42h, 08 July Reply

    thanks for sharing cant wait to hear this one

  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 01:14h, 09 July Reply

    Thanks for this Gem! It’s gotta be great! I can’t watit to listen to it.

  • St Johnny
    Posted at 02:12h, 09 July Reply

    Looking forward to this. Much appreciated.

  • Doris
    Posted at 02:14h, 09 July Reply

    Thank you.Great website.

  • Messiah
    Posted at 03:14h, 09 July Reply

    you haven’t failed me yet Nikos….can’t wait to hear this one. Peace

    Messiah

  • robert
    Posted at 03:55h, 09 July Reply

    another beauty…thanks!

  • El Rosso
    Posted at 05:26h, 09 July Reply

    Thanks. Really love Willie Mitchell production. He had a way of bringing out the best in vocalists.

  • Groovy Emmanuel
    Posted at 08:37h, 09 July Reply

    It is southern groove definitely as it was defined by the great Willie Mitchell, all recorded at Memphis’ Hi studio but relealed by the big Epic. Thtat’s why it is called “Memphis High” not “Memphis Hi” at least in my mind! And it was all conceived in an old 8 track recorder, a poor equipment indeed, but capable enough to free such great feeling… A new black sound then that it was to become “The Sound” in the years to come, centered around some fine tuned-in drumming by Al Jackson Jr or Howard Grimes and brought up by the mighty playing of the fine session mucisians there. Teenie who did the arrangements here is one of the three Hodges brothers who did all the work at Hi studio. All due respect to them!!! Great great music.

  • Seth
    Posted at 10:19h, 09 July Reply

    thanks for this wonderful post!! And Grovy Emannuel who always adds the cream!

  • Vincent the Soul Chef
    Posted at 12:13h, 09 July Reply

    I am the proud owner of Funky Feet on a white label promo 45… They aren’t too easy to come by. I would have never picked up on the Que Sunryse connection. I own their 45 too – I’ll have to pull it out and listen to it again…

    Another very informative and FUNKY post. Tremendous! Thank you again and again mon frer.

    Peace and blessings.

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 16:59h, 09 July Reply

    Lucky guy Vincent! We (the Europeans) have no chance to find these 45’s.
    Anyway i only collect Lp’s. It is impossible to collect 45’s too. I would need a fortune my friend!

  • k02
    Posted at 19:15h, 09 July Reply

    Thanks 4 the share

  • OSIRIS
    Posted at 20:27h, 09 July Reply

    thanks for the share, and congrats for this excellent professional site.

  • michael
    Posted at 00:25h, 10 July Reply

    Thanx for posting this dope LP.

  • Eva Destruction
    Posted at 05:36h, 10 July Reply

    A “lost Soul” gem! Thank you so much.

  • Monica
    Posted at 11:17h, 10 July Reply

    “High” as the tittle says!! Amazing selection of records nikos. Thanx.

  • Pierre
    Posted at 12:30h, 10 July Reply

    Always top quality posts (True, there’s not an average album posted here). At last a professional site. Keep it up brother.

  • UMA
    Posted at 14:28h, 10 July Reply

    Never heard of him before but this a very good, solid album. Thank you very much.

  • phatrapper
    Posted at 21:32h, 10 July Reply

    Superb album!! thankyou!!

  • Numba
    Posted at 01:21h, 11 July Reply

    Nice ! Thanks Nikos !

  • Dr. Johnny Fever
    Posted at 05:50h, 11 July Reply

    I’ve always wondered about this album and can’t wait to check it out. Thank you for your top notch work here on the blog!!

  • Trakbuv
    Posted at 05:20h, 19 July Reply

    No clue of this one, but I know it’s gonna work a treat. That phat Hi sound from Willie Mitchell gets to my bones everytime. And thanks for Professor Groovy Emmanuel’s much respected comments.

  • George
    Posted at 10:57h, 19 July Reply

    This has to be great coming from Willie Mitchell, one of the original super producers of Southern Soul. LOL!

  • Ricardo
    Posted at 19:14h, 19 July Reply

    Southern soul – I can’t wait. Thanks for this great posting

  • Arkane1
    Posted at 04:28h, 22 July Reply

    This album is great! I thank you once again for such a rare & classic deep soul album. Willie Mitchell’s production is excellent. Peace & Blessings Nikos.

  • pedro
    Posted at 21:00h, 25 July Reply

    nice to here this guy only got one single by him on epic thanks for this

  • yodasbestmate
    Posted at 22:42h, 27 July Reply

    loved mephis unlimited and all that willie mitchell stuff on hi, looking forward to this one.. thanks nikos

    ybm

  • Chris
    Posted at 23:30h, 12 November Reply

    Great work on getting some more Memphis soul on here!!! Thanks

  • John Ridley
    Posted at 00:30h, 10 February Reply

    You’ve ripped off my writing about Johnny Robinson on the Soul of the Net website for your first paragraph. The least you could do is credit me.

  • Claudio
    Posted at 17:32h, 14 March Reply

    excellent, thanks a lot!

  • Tavares A rgreen
    Posted at 23:33h, 08 October Reply

    this was my grand father he lead a secret life but not many know this but he wrote its a mans world in witch was stolen bye james brown associates given as a submission with know paper work. Listen to my grand father and then listen to james browns other dsongs and then listen to my grand fathers music james didn’t write songs like its a mans world. My whole family learned a leson about this and copywrighting.. but back then people could take any music

  • jeffrey
    Posted at 13:48h, 03 February Reply

    you know there was a cd in 1994 from japan eand i believe in 1999 a soft cover (japan)

    but i’ve found it!! the 1994 cd from japan!
    blood sweat and tears!!!!

    don’t take it so hard is a truly GEM!!!

  • Marty
    Posted at 05:47h, 21 December Reply

    Another Insane upload!

  • sammerguy
    Posted at 14:57h, 14 November Reply

     THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

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