Syl Johnson is an American funk, soul, and blues institution. He recorded for Vee Jay Records in the very late-50s before debuting as a solo artist in 1959 on Federal Records. The early part of the '60s saw a cascade of Johnson releases on 45, on labels including Zachron, Cha Cha, and Ember. In the decade's latter half, Syl worked tirelessly for Chicago's Twinight record label. Dresses Too Short, his debut LP, was released by Twinight in 1968; followed up with 1970's Is It Because I'm Black?, the apex of his artistry and social consciousness to that point. Syl spent the bulk of the '70s as a labelmate to Al Green, recording a deluge of 45s and LPs for Memphis's Hi Records.
Nobody has a funkier band than Syl Johnson on this Numero compilation culled from the label's Complete Mythology box set which covered his most productive period from 1959 through 1972. His famous Chicago outfit cooks up such powerful rhythms that there isn't an R&B band in all the land that can come close to touching them. When Syl's out front in the spotlight, delivering his dynamic vocals while his funky, funky band lets loose with their unstoppable rhythms, it's damn near impossible for anybody with two working ears not to head straight to the dancefloor.
"There are many great soul singers, but few has inspired hip hop from its early beginning to now. Syl Johnson is a unsung pioneer of musical fusion." – RZA