Johnny Rivers …And I Know You Wanna Dance (1966)

FrontCover1.jpg…And I Know You Wanna Dance was Johnny Rivers’s sixth official album, and was his 4th live album . It was recorded live at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, California. The album reached #52 on the Billboard Charts and included the most famous recording of “Secret Agent Man” which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. (by wikipedia)

One of the most underrated rockers of the 1960s, Johnny Rivers was a guy who served up the big beat strong and simple — on most of his best records, he set up at the Whisky A Go-Go in L.A. with a crack rhythm section and rolled tape as he let rip on a set of classic R&B tunes and pop hits, with his sturdy but passionate voice and no-nonsense guitar work doing the talking. And I Know You Wanna Dance was Rivers’ fourth live album, and if it sometimes sounds like the work of a bar band, in this context that’s a compliment — Rivers was a guy who played to rock the party, and if he’s playing what the audience wants to hear on this disc, he also did it very well indeed, and his covers of “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” “Every Day I Have to Cry,” “Respect,” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” are potent blue-eyed soul with lots of feeling and no unnecessary fuss.

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Rivers could also dig deeper into the blues bag when he felt like it, and while “The Snake” and “Foolkiller” are uptempo rockers, their tough roots shine through bright and clear. Rivers’ sharp, efficient lead guitar is on point throughout the album, and his bandmembers — including Mickey Jones on drums and Larry Knechtel on keys — are tight and tasty without getting in the way. Johnny Rivers may not have been the hippest guy on the charts, but he played real-deal rock & roll the way it was meant to sound, and And I Know You Wanna Dance is a lot more fun to listen to than a lot of other albums with much higher hipster cred. (by Mark Deming)

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Personnel:
Chuck Day (guitar, bass)
Mickey Jones (drums)
Larry Knechtel -(organ)
Joe Osborn (guitar, bass)
Johnny Rivers (vocals, guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. The Snake (Brown, Jr.) 3.04
02. I Can’t Help Myself (Holland/Dozier/Holland 3.05
03. You Must Believe (Mayfield) 3.20
04. Uptight (Everything’s Alright) (Wonder/Moy/Cosby 3.07
05. Respect (Redding) 1.47
06. In The Midnight Hour Wilson (Pickett/Cropper) 2.32
07. Secret Agent Man (Barri/Sloan) 3.07
08. Every Day I Have To Cry(Alexander) 2.43
09. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ (Mann/Spector/Weil) 5.59
10. Foolkiller (Allison) 3.24
11. Run For Your Life (Lennon/McCartney) 2.29
12. You Dig (***) (Day/Jones) 2.10

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Johnny Rivers & His L.A. Boogie Band – Last Boogie In Paris (1974)

FrontCoverTheCompleteConcert1Johnny Rivers was no stranger to live albums by the time he released this 1973 show taped at the close of a European tour. His first four albums were all recorded live at the Los Angeles club the Whisky A Go-Go in the mid-’60s, and from those albums five singles went into the national Top Ten. After 1967, Rivers’ recording career basically dried up for five years, until he returned to the Top Ten with a cover of Huey “Piano” Smith & the Clowns’ “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu.” He was probably hoping that another live album would rekindle some of that earlier magic on the LP chart, but it wasn’t to be: Last Boogie in Paris failed to land in the Top 100. It’s not that it was a bad album, not by any means: Rivers still had a gift for making just about any song he covered his own, and for this tour he backed himself with some of the finest musicians the West Coast had to offer, dubbing them the L.A. Boogie Band for the occasion. Although he had scored hits with some of his own compositions by this time, Rivers’ stock-in-trade was still the cover version, and he mixed his influences well here, applying his voice to material by Curtis Mayfield (“It’s Alright”), Holland-Dozier-Holland (the Four Tops’ “Baby, I Need Your Lovin’,” a 1967 number three hit for Rivers), Little Richard (“Long Tall Sally”), Lennon-McCartney (a spirited “I’ve Just Seen a Face”), Van Morrison (“Brown Eyed Girl”) and others. “Summer Rain,” one of Rivers’ finest ballads, is a highlight of the set, and he reprises Chuck Berry’s “Memphis,” which had provided him with his first hit in 1964. Although the show is sung and played in an engaging, professional manner — Rivers’ guitar playing rocks; he was always underrated in that department — the album, possibly because he used studio pros on the road, never quite captures the manic party atmosphere that characterized those earlier Whisky recordings. And the album-ending “John Lee Hooker ’74,” a Rivers-penned tribute to the bluesman, seems endless and draggy. This Shout! Factory reissue is an expanded edition that adds ten songs to the original album’s eight, presenting for the first time the complete concert. As a historical document it’s a valuable upgrade, but as a sampling of Rivers at his live best, it’s nowhere near those first few Whisky records. (by Jeff Tamarkin)

Recorded live at the Olympia Theater, Paris, on May 23, 1973

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Personnel:
Jack Conrad (bass)
Chuck Findley (flugelhorn, trumpet)
Jim Gordon (drums)
Jim Horn (saxophone)
Michael Melvoin (keyboards)
Dean Parks (guitar)
Herb Pedersen (guitar, background vocals)
Johnny Rivers (vocals, guitar)
Johnny Rivers - Last Boogie in ParisTracklist:
01. Sea Cruise (Ford/Smith) 2.34
02. Over The Line (Omartian/Dalhstrom) 3.48
03. Barefootin’ (Parker) 3.25
04. Summer Rain (Hendricks) 3.38
05. Long Tall Sally (Johnson/Penniman/Blackwell) 3.15
06. Walkin’ Blues (Griffin) 5.10
07. Rock Me A Little While (Holland/Dozier/Holland) 4.04
08. John Lee Hooker (Rivers) 10.43

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