Johnnie Taylor – 1968 – Who’s Making Love
Main Review by Soulmakossa
Rip, Research, Posting and additional info’s by Nikos
Full of all the Motown-cum-dirty south hallmarks you’d hope for, Who’s Making Love.. is one of soul’s great vocal turns. Equal parts James Brown and Ray Charles, Taylor was really one of the finest vocalists of his time and one of the more charismatic ones to boot. The album kicks off with it’s title track, a real romper of a legendary track and one of the crown-bearers of black soul’s long line of infidelity anthems. The song hints at indictment of the practice, but mostly comes off to my ears like a song about Johnnie Taylor having no problems making love to a housewife while the spouse is out making love to a mistress. The circular logic of the song is just as addictive as the music itself.
A1 Who’s Making Love 2:47
A2 I’m Not the Same Person 3:03
A3 Hold On This Time 2:36
A4 Woman Across the River 3:14
A5 Can’t Trust Your Neighbor 2:39
B1 Take Care of Your Homework 2:38
B2 I’m Trying 2:59
B3 Poor Make Believer 2:42
B4 Payback Hurts 2:28
B5 Mr. Nobody Is Somebody 3:21
The BIG one…
Yes, the title-track was a huge, huge hit… but this album is killer all the way through. Johnnie Taylor does it all here; gettin’ down, bein’ bluesy, balladeering… you name it. A must for Soul fans.
Ironically, Taylor himself initially didn’t like “Who’s Making Love”, which he dubbed the ‘boogaty-boogaty’-thing. Be that as it may, his vocal performance really immortalizes this stomping, rocking workout. The groove is so very, very tight.
Trebling, reverberating guitars set off the sweaty blues vamp “I’m Not the Same Person“, while the delightfully arranged (check those flutes!) mid-tempo ballad “Hold On This Time” is plain sweet.
Taylor’s reaffirming his blues credentials yet again on the bitter ‘slugged-in-the-stomach’ wailer “Can’t Trust Your Neighbour” and the resigned, pensive lamentation “Woman Across the River” (both later covered by Freddie King).
Right after that, Johnnie lays another hard-socking, busy soul groove on you with the funky “Take Care of Your Homework“, featuring some nice, punching stabs at the organ during the instrumental break.
“I’m Trying” is one of my favs here… a sweet, plaintive ballad sporting some of Johnnie’s finest pleading… Superb brassy intro, as well. The desolate mood is sustained on the painfully sensitive “Poor Make Believer“, which is a tastefully orchestrated, quiet, calm and somewhat depressing ballad.
The album closes with no less than three stupendously deep, raw blues excursions: the pounding “Payback Hurts“, the wistful “Mr. Nobody Is Somebody Now” and the decided “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water“.
Interestingly, the CD reissue includes the previously unreleased gem “Rumours“… why this gorgeous low-key workout remained in the cans for decades is a mystery to me.