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Samuel Jonathan Johnson – 1978 – My Music

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Samuel Jonathan Johnson front

Stellar spiritual soul from Samuel Jonathan Johnson, an artist who only ever cut this one full album (in 1978 for Columbia Records) during his career, an album we’d rank right up there with the best ’70s work by jazzy R&B contemporaries like Roy Ayers or Norman Connors!

The record’s got a wonderful blend of mellow moments and more groove-heavy tracks, all handled with wonderful keyboards from Johnson, who gets nice and spacey at times.

Samuel Jonathan Johnson back

Samuel Jonathan Johnson’s lone album My Music is the epitome of a cult classic: a record that didn’t do much upon its release in 1978 but steadily found an audience, one large enough that it eventually worked its way into the culture, its presence known through recurring samples on songs by Jadakiss,Q-Tip, and others. If My Music offered nothing more than sample source material, it’d be little more than a curio, but it’s a unique record in its own right, falling halfway between the romantic disco opuses ofBarry White and the seductive smooth jazz of Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers.

Johnson does indulge in a bit of exuberance, “Sweet Love” bubbles over with joy and “It Ain’t Easy” is nearly as ebullient, while “You” bounces to a determined disco thump but the overall tone of the LP is one of love, not seduction. Johnson has love for his mother, his family, his love, and music, and that sincere, earnest emotion gives this resonance while Johnson’s lush but not extravagant production gives it an enveloping warmth that doesn’t fade.