Folks often ask me if I have a favorite artist or song. I’m always a little leery to reply to this as everyone has their own unique taste when it comes to what they listen to. But if you know me well, then you know my favorite artist to be the “Whaler” Johnnie Taylor.
Now since most of the recipients on this list are white people, I’m guessing that you’ve never heard of him. But if you know soul music, you know that if black folks had an Elvis, it was Johnnie Taylor.
Shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the face of Memphis changed and Stax Records, the only interracial record label to exist in the 1960s, would begin to fall apart. In an effort to revive the existing catalog purchased by Concord, they threw an enormous festival in California known as the WattStax, which is now available on DVD.
During this festival, Johnnie Taylor would record the greatest album of his life. The recording took place in Los Angeles at the famous Summit Club in 1972 in front of an all black audience. And the greatest song he cut on this album would be “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone”.
So who was Jody? To fully appreciate the legend of Jody, you would have had to have served in the military. Jody was a fictitious character that was created by some deranged drill sergeant to humiliate new recruits. While in basic training, all recruits were told that Jody was making time with their wives or girlfriends. He had money, fine cars, owned a bank and he has now stolen your woman. There are cadences and marching songs all dedicated to the legend of Jody and if you’re a military man, you know too well this conniving character.
So if you’re looking for the perfect soul song for the month to download, look no further than this historic recording. And when you purchase it, make sure you’re buying the right version as Johnnie recorded this song in the studio first. And it’s not nearly as good as the live version.
The Artist: Johnnie Taylor
The Album: Live at the Summit Club
The Song: Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone