John Watson, Jr. was born in Houston, Texas in 1935. As a child he learned piano from his father, but was fixated on the electric guitar as played by T-Bone Walker and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. When he was 11, his grandfather, a preacher, gave him a guitar on the condition that he not play the "devil's music" (blues), but play blues was the first thing he did. At 15, Watson moved to L.A. with his mother after his parents divorced. In the early 50's he won numerous local talent contests, and made a name for himself on the West Coast, playing under the name "Young John Watson." In 1954 he saw the Joan Crawford movie "Johnny Guitar," and his new stage name was born. Watson was active through the 50's, 60's and 70's, both as an artist in his own right, and as an accompanist - he toured and recorded with Larry Williams, Little Richard, Johnny Otis, David Axelrod, and Sam Cooke, amongst others. As the popularity of blues music waned in the 60's, Watson transitioned to soul and then funk. "Ain't That A Bitch," released in 1976, and "A Real Mother For Ya," which followed a year later, were landmarks of 70's funk. "Ain't That A Bitch" went gold, selling over 500,000 copies. The album featured two highly successful singles, "Superman Lover" (later sampled by Redman, Ice Cube, Ghostface Killah, and others), and "I Need It." Although intensely musical, Watson's often humourous lyrics were typically spoken as opposed to sung, and as such he is seen by many as one of the forefathers of rap.
Album info. on Discogs:
CD available on Amazon:
(amazon.com) Ain't That A Bitch
(amazon.ca) Ain't That A Bitch
(amazon.co.uk) Ain't That A Bitch