Frank-O Johnson / This Must Be A Cheating Town
January 30, 2003
Frank-O Johnson released his first album when he was just a wee lad of 14. He went on to become part of the classic Motown team where for eight years he wrote songs for The Supremes, The Manhattans, The Commodores and countless others. Since that time this Grammy-nominated songwriter hasn’t stood on his laurels. He is currently: vice president of Phat Sound Records, a label specializing in national distribution of R&B, pop, jazz, country and soul music; a regular contributor to the trade magazine Behind the Scene; and host of the Frank-O Smooth Soul Show, a radio program which airs locally on WPSR. This is in addition to his work as songwriter and producer for a myriad of national artists.
Somewhere he found the time to record This Must Be A Cheating Town, his seventh recording under his name. This time out he has written all of the songs, sings all the lead vocals and acts as producer. The final product was mixed and mastered at Monastic Chambers who managed to bring out the best of Frank-O Johnson’s rich, buttery voice.
The title track, like many on the album, features Johnson’s textured, solid voice backed by a slow groove, full bass and soulful female background vocals. In a surprising treat, the title track is later presented with the lead vocals removed, allowing the skillful musicians their chance to shine. The sexy ballad “Love Maker” is one of many songs of lovin’. I could really hear KISS singing a rocked up version of this song, as “love maker” is used as a euphemism for both male and female, er, dirty bits. “Let’s Make Love Tonight” is appropriately bluesy, as is the steamy ode to phone sex, “Talk Dirty To Me” (not the one recorded by Poison all those years ago). The “crossover hit “Anna Mae” features some great sax and trumpet playing that augments the scorching guitar solo of this sultry number. Originally recorded by The Spinners, Johnson sings his classic “Love Don’t Love Nobody.” keeping the classic Motown feel but updating the fidelity for the sounds of today. The closing track, “Sad Day In America”, is about the events of September 11, 2001 and is appropriately somber with piano, strings, and gospel female background vocals.
Like all releases from Phat Sound Records, the quality is top-notch both in the sound production and the artwork. Johnson’s strong, professional vocal performance perfectly complements the songs that reveal that this veteran of the music industry knows how to write a hit.
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