Lou Johnson – 1971 – With You In My Mind

A Masterpiece..

..which I discovered thanks to the following comment on the post of his debut album here:

“I saw an interview recently where Allen Toussaint was asked to name a favorite song that he wrote for another artist. After naming a few he wrote for Irma Thomas & Lee Dorsey, he said ‘If I was to think of a song that I think the most of in my life, it wasn’t heard by anyone but me and the artist, and that was Lou Johnson, a song called “Transition”… it was on his album [1971’s With You In Mind], of course, but it wouldn’t be one that would be remembered or even heard by most. But that happens.’”

And then I realized I had this LP (lou’s 2nd and final) in my collection. I started played the album and  was amazed by the 8.18 “Transition” and the whole album.

Don’t miss this superb album from one of the best soul singer I have ever heard!!

This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original Stax/Volt LP including covers

Tracks
A1 There Were Times 3:21
A2 Transition 8:19
A3 The Loving Way 3:12
A4 Nearer 2:55
A5 The Beat 2:50
B1 Who Am I 3:57
B2 Frisco Here I Come 2:51
B3 Wrong Number 3:08
B4 Crazy About You 2:59
B5 Living Without You 4:00

Review by Soulmakossa

Produced by New-Orleans wizard Allen Toussaint, ‘With You in Mind’ was Lou Johnson’s last recording effort. And while it would have made sense for him to go bubblegum pop in a last attempt to break out into the big league, Johnson instead created an album that is nothing short of amazing. A ruthlessly creative, haunting, cynical LP, with music and vocals firmly rooted in the Southern Soul tradition, but augmented with a certain je ne sais quoi that makes it a dark, depressing masterpiece.
It aptly opens with the quirky “There Were Times“, a rollicking, gospelfide country church beater sweetened with the slightest amount of strings and backing vocals. Lou Johnson already sounds mighty despondent, here.
But it’s “Transition” that should have sky-rocketed ‘With You in Mind’ to legendary heights. An 8-minute + opus of longing, with Johnson belting out a distraught vocal that evokes visions of a lovesick man steadily going insane. The tune is divided in several musical segments, creating a musical soundscape that features sassy, fatback groove-filled episodes and wistful, lamenting, teary-eyed moments of quiet contemplation – the latter immersed in a dark, brooding stew of sitars, piano, plodding drums and far-off sounding brass. This is, in fact, the ‘A Day in the Life’ of Soul: a mind-expanding audiovisual trip sporting a crazy, Dantesque finale with off-key blasts of horns, that jangling sitar, Johnson’s other-worldly scatting and an acid-drenched orchestra working its way up to a climaxing crescendo.
It’s tough to follow a track as “Transition”, but the album remains steadfast in its addictive, dark quality. “The Loving Way” sounds a trifle more upbeat, with the happy, chirping backing vocals and its persistent groove, but Lou remains in a self-doubting, moody bag all the same. Even more so on the lilting, low-fi “Nearer“, which has Lou singing “…I hope I’m not a nuisance to you”. Beautiful chord progressions here and a devastatingly intense vocal.
Up next is the ominous, dangerous funk vibe of “The Beat“, a ferocious jam that starts off with a short monologue by Allen Toussaint and is infested with super catchy stops and starts. An irreverent track that smells of reclaiming ‘the beat’ for those who set it in motion. “It goes on and on”, Lou wails.
Who Am I” is set to a strange, but ultra funky little groove, while the omnipresent piano and vibes clothe the song in a plaintive warmth. Check out Lou prolonging the ‘I’ in the title, again evoking the sound of “A Day in the Life”, and marvel over the sweaty gospelfide finale that just struts on.
The only single from this album, “Frisco Here I Come“, also is the most hard rocking. Featuring Duane Allman-styled guitar and a throbbing, deep in the pocket groove, Johnson’s gruffy vocal is especially on the money when that low-down, dirty, descending bass riff comes a’ thundering through.
Toussaint’s delicious piano plunkin’, engulfed by another greasy, gutbucket funk rhythm, opens the lamenting “Wrong Number“. Lou sounds both resolute and supremely cynical here, as if he’s single-handedly pushing the locomotive that propels the groove of this smokin’, sizzling slice of Southern funk. And then, out of nowhere, the rhythm slows down and transforms into a waltzing, delicate, lullabye-esque groove, with Lou adlibbing all the way through. Terrific…
The struttin’ continues on the lazy, relaxed, laidback funk of “Crazy About You“, sporting another ridiculously ingenious bridge. The infectious horn-infested finale needs to be heard to be believed.
Finally, there’s the downhome testifyin’ of “Living Without You“, with Johnson churning out one more pain-riddled vocal. The drums keep crashing on behind him, while angelic backing vocals and staccato strings create a wonderfully dreamy vibe that nevertheless remains desperate in its feel.
What’s more to say about this one… The album cover is spot on, as far as I’m concerned. ‘With You in Mind‘ is one of the darkest, most appealing, beautifully executed soundtracks on heartbreak, longing and despair I have ever heard.

————————————————————-

Biography

Extremely rare. Never released on CD. The only available vinyl copy is on Ebay for 50$. I hope someone finally put this amazing album back in print.

Download link

EasyBytez

I’d like to thank Raphy who cleaned this vinyl rip perfectly.

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Comments

  1. jahcisco says:

    Thanks for sharing. Much appreciated.

  2. jean paris says:

    this is an essential blog….i learned so many things from u nikos,moo,trakbuv,soulmakossa and all the others…thank u so much to all of u..for ur knowledge and ur way to share ur passion….RESPECT…and thanks for that beautiful lp…jean paris

  3. wallofsound says:

    Lou Johnson has always been a Northern and Deep soul favourite. Thanks for sharing this one.

  4. gilhodges says:

    Sweet Lou! “Masterpiece” is underselling this one. Flat love it. Thank you.

  5. konstantinos says:

    Thank you very much, not only for the music but also for the comments and the reviews.

  6. cheeba says:

    Wow, another incredible find and a wealth of info as always. Many thanks

  7. tswift says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful LP……….amazing album……never heard of it until now! All I have to say is y’all have done it again!

  8. -t! says:

    Thanks for this!! looking forward to it!

  9. dan says:

    Excellent record, thank you

  10. Hans says:

    Memories keep flooding back every time I hear it ….keep the faith.

  11. paul d says:

    thank you so much, superb stuff

  12. Thomas says:

    Wow! It really does’nt get any better than this.

  13. Baas says:

    Don’t know much about this artist but compelled to give it a try.
    Many thanks

  14. eevert says:

    thank you for this one,been looking for it
    keep up the good work,you have many faithful followers

  15. alphabet4 says:

    You always come with the heat. Thanks for that bruh!!!

  16. SoulSwede says:

    As always, wonderful to check out your updates on the blog. Much appreciated, and I will make sure to comment more often after this.

  17. LYSERGICFUNK says:

    Many Thanks
    Beautiful Album
    Fantastic Blog

  18. Nicolas says:

    Fantastic southern soul.

  19. brianbrora says:

    Thanks for yet another rare gem. And as for your whole blog- well it’s superb. In fact it’s one of those that inspired my own!!.

  20. rich says:

    this artist is new to me cant wait to hear it nikos many thanx

  21. Lord says:

    bloody awesome song and album, thank u.

  22. Eugene says:

    Nikos,
    Another artist who is entirely unknown to me. Thank you for broadening my musical horizons and continuing my education.

    Respect,

    Eugene

  23. Adam says:

    Thank you for these wonderful albums. I can’t wait to check this one out!!

  24. dj85 says:

    always something fresh. thanks for the post. & thank you for always posting great albums.
    -dj85

  25. Brotherpete says:

    fantastic !!! Thanks a lot !!!

  26. dopey says:

    Great album. You did it again Nikos, thanks for sharing.

  27. Flatland Dan says:

    Don’t scare me like that, “…it is impossible to continue.” This blog has opened up a whole new world of amazing music for me. The quality, the reviews, the whole thing…I look forward to every new posting. It never stops being a source of wonderment to hear some of these albums, with incredible vocals, lyrics and production, and wonder why they languish in (relative) obscurity. So thank you, Nikos, and Raphy, and the whole team that produces Funk My Soul.

  28. hooch says:

    Many thanks nikos, raphy!

  29. Jon Wilde says:

    Yet more fantastic music. Thank you so much.

  30. Bobby says:

    Thanks for the time and energy you bring to the cause.

  31. Jimmy says:

    Simply amazing stuff.

  32. A9 says:

    Many thanks to yuou Nikos and Raphy for bringing this music out!!

  33. Eugene says:

    Beautiful music to bad i wasnt alive when this was on the radio but i guess they didnt play it.

  34. SoulJah says:

    YES! Thanks for this! This is perfect music!

  35. pedro says:

    its been a long time but it,s nice to see the class of lou up in lights another great singer who never really got noticed thanks for this one nikos another great find

  36. Noa says:

    Dope!! Much Thanks.

  37. Andrew says:

    Thanks for this amazing record!!!

  38. Andre B says:

    incredible record! many many thanks this one IS a masterpiece.

  39. Christof says:

    great post!thank you.

  40. invisiblenigma says:

    Much Thanks Nikos and Raphy!! Great LP

  41. Robert says:

    awesome!!
    thanks a bunch for this discovery!

  42. cleffdeadly says:

    the only reason we all get to hear such gems as this album is this site!
    thanks for all your efforts guys, they’re really appreciated!

  43. Hugo says:

    Absolutely fantastic ! The song the album !
    Well done !

  44. TS says:

    just found this blog and will be sure to follow – great album!

  45. JohnX says:

    Thank you again for all the music you share .

  46. Fred says:

    I haven’t heard this gem for almost 40 years. Takes me back to school and my transistor radio! A brilliant track. Lou Johnson rocks.

  47. Paul says:

    Anything Toussaint touches is interesting to me, and if he says it’s a favourite – well, I’m sold, no questions asked! Thanks so much for this.

  48. Krisch says:

    Thanks alot for this gem!

  49. Holly says:

    Wow. This is amazing – how could I have missed hearing this for so many years? Thank you SO much for sharing.

  50. johh says:

    Never heard of this guy until now. Many thanks for this great opportunity to do so.

  51. Mogambo says:

    Another grateful reader who never heard of Lou Johnson before, also tempted in by the praise from Alain Toussaint…

    Thanks for sharing, bro!

  52. jos says:

    thanks!!!!

  53. W says:

    Thank you for this gem. W.

  54. Joel says:

    Wow. I can’t thank you enough for this. Hadn’t heard this before. What a fantastically emotional record. Heartbreak has never sounded so fresh.

  55. Ike says:

    Your Site is great! Thnaks! I got one Idea: do you think it would be possible to attach the Information about the Artists and Records you give as a PDF file, so that one can also collect this information aswell?

  56. Al says:

    This is a great album. One of the best Soul albums I’ve ever heard.

    Thank you!

    Al

  57. Slim Schludy says:

    Ha ! Funy video. Reminds my on some geman Schlager Music video…giggle…

  58. albgardis says:

    As a German, I have to agree with Slim Schludy, the video indeed has some german Schlager elements! Which is not a bad thing at all! I love this!

    I had never heard of Lou Johnson before, but since I liked the video song, I am taking the album now to check him out. But the song is not on it. Neither on the debut album (to which you have linked).

    Does this mean this was a single only?
    Would there be any chance you could add this Schlagertrack as a Bonus or so? That would be so cool…

    Oh, and many thanks for the lengthy informations on all the posts. I have not previously heard of the majority of the posted artists here, so the infos are really appreciated by me!

  59. Tom says:

    This album is stunning! I uncorked it from Amazon.co.uk as a legal download titled Lou Johnson Soul Masters ( a very very vinyl sounding digital copy), it is beautiful indeed! So much stuff needs reissuing it’s a bit bleeding depressing really, thank you for all your hard work and dedication, no really thank you!

  60. andrew toth says:

    Incredible stuff. Much thanks.

  61. Tiger Tiger says:

    Amazing, amazing record! What a great sound. I am eternally grateful to you for introducing me to this artist. And what about “The Panic Is On”? Incredible tune too!

  62. PAVLOS says:

    I HAVE THIS ALBUM BUT I DONT LISTEN IT.IF SOMEONE WANT IT IM SELLING IT.

  63. PAVLOS says:

    SEND ME A MAIL IN okbooboom@gmail.com.I SELL IT ONLY IN GREECE

  64. Jock says:

    Thanks. Hearing some great stuff from my youth.

  65. Lewis Etan says:

    HOORAY!!! I finally got what my friend and I have been looking for, all theese years. LOU JOHNSON, WITH YOU IN MY MIND. Iowned this LP in the 70′s in the caribbean island of Saint Lucia. lost it,have been looking for cds ever since.
    I am need to buy two copies on cds.Please help with some info.It’s the greatest of them all.

  66. Soulin says:

    There’s a lotta work, research, long days and wonderful info that has been put into this site – and i for one appreciate everything you have done and are doing to satisfy the tastes of my soul – thanks a million for the trip.. the education and for letting me re-live my youth all over again. Take it easy

  67. Chan says:

    This has become a fast favorite! Amazing lp, deep! This blog has been a great help in getting down and dirty on the grooves and details of soul and funk! Bless!!!!!!!!

  68. 2phuckedup says:

    Guy’s, wonderful find and post – thank you :) Would love an RS mirror :)

  69. LEWIS ETAN says:

    HOW CAN I GET THIS ALBUM ON CD.

  70. Nikos says:

    Lewis, I’m afraid that never released on CD. I have never seen one and a google search confirmed that.

  71. Erika says:

    Greetings! Thank you for your great work. The reviews are truly helpful. I have learned so much.

  72. susan says:

    I can`t thank you enough for giving us this great music to hear.
    Haven`t stopped listing to this album for days and it keeps on setting my soul on fire!!!
    An all time classic, which is hardly known.

  73. Jason says:

    Great Album. Thanks.

  74. Joeboy says:

    Can’t wait to hear this… Lou Johnsons “Transition” especially if it’s recommend by Allen Toussaint is best song he wrote…. Thanks

    • Joeboy says:

      Can’t wait to hear this… Lou Johnsons “Transition” especially if it’s recommend by Allen Toussaint is best song he wrote…. Thanks
      Had a listen outstanding tracks thanks guy’s :thumb:

  75. Josh says:

    I am only just discovering this album. Thanks not for just posting the LP but doing it in great quality.

  76. Nate says:

    Beautiful, simply beautiful.

  77. sus says:

    very nice LP.
    stay up.
    les

  78. ChrisT says:

    That’s fuel to me…thanks a lots.

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