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.

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

Your comments are necessary if you wish this blog to go on. The purpose of this site is to spread Soul, Funk and related R’n’B genres. Without your participation and support, it is impossible to continue.

Buy the Album

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83 Comments
  • jahcisco
    Posted at 00:39h, 12 April Reply

    Thanks for sharing. Much appreciated.

  • jean paris
    Posted at 01:24h, 12 April Reply

    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

  • wallofsound
    Posted at 01:25h, 12 April Reply

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

  • gilhodges
    Posted at 01:26h, 12 April Reply

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

  • konstantinos
    Posted at 01:47h, 12 April Reply

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

  • cheeba
    Posted at 02:12h, 12 April Reply

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

  • tswift
    Posted at 04:37h, 12 April Reply

    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!

  • -t!
    Posted at 06:40h, 12 April Reply

    Thanks for this!! looking forward to it!

  • dan
    Posted at 08:19h, 12 April Reply

    Excellent record, thank you

  • Hans
    Posted at 09:58h, 12 April Reply

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

  • paul d
    Posted at 10:10h, 12 April Reply

    thank you so much, superb stuff

  • Thomas
    Posted at 14:29h, 12 April Reply

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

  • Baas
    Posted at 16:18h, 12 April Reply

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

  • eevert
    Posted at 16:56h, 12 April Reply

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

  • alphabet4
    Posted at 17:01h, 12 April Reply

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

  • SoulSwede
    Posted at 19:42h, 12 April Reply

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

  • LYSERGICFUNK
    Posted at 20:16h, 12 April Reply

    Many Thanks
    Beautiful Album
    Fantastic Blog

  • Nicolas
    Posted at 20:42h, 12 April Reply

    Fantastic southern soul.

  • JTF
    Posted at 20:49h, 12 April Reply

    Woo!

  • brianbrora
    Posted at 20:08h, 12 April Reply

    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!!.

  • rich
    Posted at 21:49h, 12 April Reply

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

  • Lord
    Posted at 23:28h, 12 April Reply

    bloody awesome song and album, thank u.

  • Eugene
    Posted at 23:55h, 12 April Reply

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

    Respect,

    Eugene

  • Adam
    Posted at 00:23h, 13 April Reply

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

  • dj85
    Posted at 02:57h, 13 April Reply

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

  • Brotherpete
    Posted at 05:43h, 13 April Reply

    fantastic !!! Thanks a lot !!!

  • dopey
    Posted at 08:57h, 13 April Reply

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

  • Flatland Dan
    Posted at 09:21h, 13 April Reply

    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.

  • hooch
    Posted at 13:14h, 13 April Reply

    Many thanks nikos, raphy!

  • Jon Wilde
    Posted at 16:15h, 13 April Reply

    Yet more fantastic music. Thank you so much.

  • Bobby
    Posted at 20:55h, 13 April Reply

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

  • Jimmy
    Posted at 22:59h, 13 April Reply

    Simply amazing stuff.

  • A9
    Posted at 00:03h, 14 April Reply

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

  • Eugene
    Posted at 10:24h, 14 April Reply

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

  • SoulJah
    Posted at 11:20h, 14 April Reply

    YES! Thanks for this! This is perfect music!

  • pedro
    Posted at 15:36h, 14 April Reply

    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

  • Noa
    Posted at 15:57h, 14 April Reply

    Dope!! Much Thanks.

  • Andrew
    Posted at 17:17h, 14 April Reply

    Thanks for this amazing record!!!

  • Andre B
    Posted at 19:41h, 14 April Reply

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

  • Christof
    Posted at 22:20h, 14 April Reply

    great post!thank you.

  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 02:25h, 15 April Reply

    Much Thanks Nikos and Raphy!! Great LP

  • Robert
    Posted at 03:50h, 15 April Reply

    awesome!!
    thanks a bunch for this discovery!

  • cleffdeadly
    Posted at 08:47h, 15 April Reply

    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!

  • Hugo
    Posted at 10:33h, 15 April Reply

    Absolutely fantastic ! The song the album !
    Well done !

  • TS
    Posted at 12:51h, 15 April Reply

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

  • JohnX
    Posted at 19:57h, 15 April Reply

    Thank you again for all the music you share .

  • Fred
    Posted at 21:40h, 15 April Reply

    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.

  • Paul
    Posted at 20:32h, 17 April Reply

    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.

  • Krisch
    Posted at 15:43h, 18 April Reply

    Thanks alot for this gem!

  • Holly
    Posted at 03:06h, 19 April Reply

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

  • johh
    Posted at 04:23h, 19 April Reply

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

  • Mogambo
    Posted at 21:24h, 19 April Reply

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

    Thanks for sharing, bro!

  • jos
    Posted at 11:00h, 24 April Reply

    thanks!!!!

  • W
    Posted at 20:24h, 26 April Reply

    Thank you for this gem. W.

  • Joel
    Posted at 17:44h, 28 April Reply

    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.

  • Ike
    Posted at 19:47h, 01 May Reply

    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?

  • Al
    Posted at 18:10h, 25 May Reply

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

    Thank you!

    Al

  • Slim Schludy
    Posted at 12:40h, 03 July Reply

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

  • albgardis
    Posted at 18:39h, 22 July Reply

    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!

  • Tom
    Posted at 21:48h, 27 July Reply

    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!

  • andrew toth
    Posted at 19:58h, 06 August Reply

    Incredible stuff. Much thanks.

  • Tiger Tiger
    Posted at 17:11h, 07 September Reply

    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!

  • PAVLOS
    Posted at 11:26h, 16 September Reply

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

  • PAVLOS
    Posted at 11:28h, 16 September Reply

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

  • Jock
    Posted at 14:03h, 31 October Reply

    Thanks. Hearing some great stuff from my youth.

  • Lewis Etan
    Posted at 21:37h, 23 May Reply

    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.

  • Soulin
    Posted at 02:10h, 22 June Reply

    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

  • Chan
    Posted at 16:07h, 22 March Reply

    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!!!!!!!!

  • 2phuckedup
    Posted at 16:58h, 26 March Reply

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

  • LEWIS ETAN
    Posted at 11:56h, 22 June Reply

    HOW CAN I GET THIS ALBUM ON CD.

    • LEWIS ETAN
      Posted at 12:02h, 22 June Reply

      i owned this album about thirty years ago,and is looking for two copies on cd with the original front and back prints please help!!

  • Nikos
    Posted at 01:46h, 23 June Reply

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

  • Erika
    Posted at 05:19h, 22 December Reply

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

  • susan
    Posted at 22:06h, 17 March Reply

    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.

  • Jason
    Posted at 06:02h, 16 June Reply

    Great Album. Thanks.

  • Joeboy
    Posted at 14:53h, 29 July Reply

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

    • Joeboy
      Posted at 15:51h, 29 July Reply

      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:

  • Josh
    Posted at 06:16h, 26 October Reply

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

  • Nate
    Posted at 05:57h, 27 February Reply

    Beautiful, simply beautiful.

  • sus
    Posted at 01:07h, 28 February Reply

    very nice LP.
    stay up.
    les

  • ChrisT
    Posted at 16:36h, 28 March Reply

    That’s fuel to me…thanks a lots.

  • d0dge57
    Posted at 12:36h, 13 November Reply

    Been looking for this album for years – had Frisco Here I Come on a 70s Stax comp and loved it! Thank you

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 16:07h, 03 April Reply

    Thanks for sharing this masterpiece!

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