Johnny & The Headhunters
That’s All I Need
Johnny Ticktin is from the Washington D.C. area. He first picked up the guitar at the age of six and started playing in local bands. He graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Psychology but spent most of his free time listening to the music of Magic Sam, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Otis Rush, Little Milton, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf , and T-Bone Walker. Through harmonica player Larry Wise, Johnny met Louisiana Red and the three began to tour together. Some of the many other bluesmen Johnny worked with include Albert Collins, Luther Allison and Sunnyland Slim. Johnny is also lead singer/guitarist and front man for The Headhunters the band which he first formed in 1979.
The lineup for the Headhunters’ eighth recording includes Johnny, guitar and vocals; Brian McGregor, Steve Shaw, or Pete Kanaras (who worked with the Nighthawks and Chris O’Leary), bass; and Clark Matthews, Toro Gamble or Robbie Magruder, drums. Tam Sullivan plays piano and organ.
Johnny opens with “That’s All I Need” the lead track from Magic Sam’s 1967 “West Side Soul” album. Johnny’s tremolo reminds us of the sound that made Magic Sam famous. A second Magic Sam song, “All My Whole Life”, is also included.
“Shake Your Money Maker” was first recorded by Shaky Jake Harris as “Roll Your Moneymaker” with a band that included Magic Sam and Willie Dixon. Three years later it was recorded by Elmore James and re-titled. In 1965 it was recorded by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
“Lead Me On” written by Don Robey and recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland features some great piano from Sullivan. “Rock ‘em Dead” is from Lowell Fulson.
“Watch and Chain” written by Donovan Leitch features Washington D.C.’s Liz Springer in a sassy duet with Johnny. “Chicken House” is from Dave Rich.
“Ace of Spades” is Link Wray’s surf guitar instrumental; while “Collins Mambo”, a second instrumental arranged by Johnny, features some stinging guitar learned from the iceman Collins.
For the last thirty-five years Johnny has been the owner/operator of JT’s Auto Service, an auto body repair and paint business. He craftily covers the Doc Pomus and Duke Robillard authored “Body and Fender Man” written for Johnny Adams.
Johnny is an impeccable guitarist with great vocal clarity. It’s a joy to listen to this album of specially selected covers. This is highly recommended.
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