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July 2, 2016

The Brothers Johnson – Winners (1981)

by Record Facts

The Brothers Johnson were an American funk and R&B band consisting of American musicians and brothers George (“Lightnin’ Licks”) and Louis E. Johnson (“Thunder Thumbs”). They achieved their greatest success from the mid-1970s to early ’80s.

the brothers johnson - winners












Artist:  The Brothers Johnson
Title:  Winners
Year:  1981
Format:  LP
Label:  A&M Records
Catalog#  AMLK 63724

Winners is the fifth studio album by The Brothers Johnson, released in 1981.

From 1975-1980, the Brothers Johnson enjoyed a very lucrative association with producer Quincy Jones — one that brought them both creative and commercial success. And when that association ended after their fourth album, Light Up the Night, their popularity faded. Released in 1981, Winners was the first Brothers Johnson album that Jones didn’t produce — and it was also their first disappointing album. This isn’t to say that Winners, which they produced themselves, is a disaster; most of the material is decent. “In the Way,” “Caught Up,” “Do It for Love,” and the single “The Real Thing” (a number 11 R&B hit) are pleasant, likable songs, but they aren’t great songs — and when the Johnson siblings had Jones‘ guidance and direction, they had no problem providing albums that were excellent instead of merely decent. None of the tunes are terrible, but none of them are in a class with “Strawberry Letter #23,” “I’ll Be Good to You,” or “Ain’t We Funkin’ Now.”

“The Real Thing” is basically the most obvious response to “Stomp”,lacking only that songs sense of rhythmic build-it comes out of nowhere and more or less stays there. “Dancin’ Free” and “Caught Up” are similarly grooving affairs whereas “Do It For Love” and “Teaser” easily emmerge as the harder funk on the album-actually very stripped down production wise which is very appropriate for the times and the emmergence of “naked funk”,although none of these songs are the least bit electronic as all the music on this album is extremely organic in nature. The last half of the album is very unusual as it presents a series of songs with more rock oriented musical devices in keeping with the sound of the Toto members participating in this album. “Hot Mama” in fact is pretty straight out rock n roll with a bit of a funk edge. “I Want You”,”In The Way” and the closer “Daydreamer Dream” actually sound more like arena friendly early 80’s Toto style pop/rock track than anything by The Brothers Johnson. It was an interesting unexplored direction but might’ve taken people off guard as it did me.


Side one
1.  The Real Thing  (3:48)
2.  Dancin’ Free  (3:45)
3.  Sunlight  (3:43)
4.  Teaser  (3:46)
5.  Caught Up  (4:01)

Side two
1.  In The Way  3:27
2.  I Want You  5:13
3.  Do It For Love  3:40
4.  Hot Mama  3:23
5.  Daydreamer Dream  4:00

Read more from Brothers Johnson

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