“Meet Me in Bluesland,” the jaw-droppingly good collaboration between country/blues rockers The Kentucky Headhunters and legendary piano player Johnnie Johnson was a whopping 12 years in the making. What makes it even more amazing is that the rollicking 11-track platter proves to be well worth the wait.
In 2003, the Headhunters invited Johnson to lay down some blues piano for their upcoming release “Soul.” Johnson and the band clicked and the tapes kept rolling well into the night. Johnson died in 2005 at age 80 and those magical recordings are finally available to the general public. The track list includes “She’s Got to Have It,” which proved to be the last vocal Johnson ever recorded.
“We all admired Johnnie from the start,” Headhunters drummer Fred Young recalls. “The first time we played with him was the first time I ever felt like we were doing it right. The music we made on ‘Meet Me in Bluesland’ is as good as it gets.”
Fans of blues rock must add this remarkable album to their collection. From sizzling originals like “Stumblin’,” “Walkin With the Wolf,” “King Rooster” and “Fast Train” to a dynamic cover of Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie,” Johnson and the Headhunters hit all the right notes. The title track is the best of a terrific bunch and worth the purchase price all by itself. (Jeffrey Sisk)