Benny Johnson - 1973 – Visions Of Paradise
A heavily in demand soul album from 1973. Originally released on the cult New York label Today, this album has all the hallmarks of the great Memphis Hi sound (Al Green etc) and features the Julius Brockington United Chair Band. One of the album’s slow jams (featuring some nicely used female back-up vocals) is “Give It Up”. Love the deep + sweet notes layered in here.
The album includes the massive 2-step / modern soul cut “I Just Got to Know” and “Visions Of Paradise” and will be a must have for 70’s soul fans.
Benny Johnson’s Visions of Paradise is a superb recording in the sweet soul, soaring vocal, beautiful harmony genre … and those who know this have been willing to pay hundreds of $$ for vinyl copies of this disc.
Beautiful, beautiful music. With original copies fetching up to £200 on eBay, 2007 reissue is well worth your pennies.
A1 Visions of Paradise 3:38
A2 Absolutely, Positively, Baby 4:20
A3 Baby I Love You 2:48
A4 Stop Me 3:55
A5 Give It Up 4:45
B1 Second to None 3:13
B2 Won’t You Stay 3:29
B3 It’s Yours Baby 2:37
B4 Please Come Back 5:34
B5 I Just Got to Know 2:36
By Abi Grant
Never heard of benny johnson? me neither, ’til I came across this gem of an album. You’d expect to pay £200 for a vinyl copy of this superb one off from Mr Johnson, and it would still be worth it. His sublime smoky vocals – a cross between Al Green and Barry White float across joyous 70’s backing singers and the United Chair Band. Several of the tracks (Absolutely Positively Baby, I Just Got To Know) drip with a southern blues, and what a pleasure it is to discover the songwriting talent of Edna Toles.
If you like 70’s soul – MFSB, TSOP, and the Memphis sound in particular, then buy it NOW!. God Bless ‘Soul Brother Records’ for releasing it. Now, I must go and play it again – “Nothing you can do can stop me baby, from loving you the way I do”. Sing it Mr Johnson, sing it.
Dusty Groove Review
A sublime bit of indie soul from the early 70s, the one and only album by vocalist Benny Johnson, recorded with some totally great backings from funk legend Julius Brockington and his United Chair combo! For the session, Brockington chose a warm, organ-drenched sound that’s a fair bit like some of the best work coming out of Hi Records at the same time — although without as much of a southern soul approach overall.
Johnson’s vocals have a beautifully crackling sort of quality, one that’s honest and human, but still smooth enough to fit the mode of the music here, a bit like Al Green, but a little more east coast overall. The set’s got some excellent mellow soul numbers that are worth the price of admission alone – tracks that slide out beautifully with a really gentle sound, and bubble up with a tremendous amount of soul. But there’s also some fuller, more upbeat tunes too – groovers that have made the album a favorite overseas for years!
Finally, my fav track of the album “Please Come Back” was sampled 5 times :
“Ghost of Dipset” by Smoke DZA feat. Cam’ron (2014)
“My Nigga” by Freddie Gibbs (2012)
“Old Carama Back” by Devine Carama (2014)
“Skulldaggery” by Dom Pachino (2016)
“Usta Ulic” by Rasmentalism and W.E.N.A. feat. Zkibwoy (2009)