Release date: January, 2022
GoldenVoice Audio Recordings
By Robin Zimmerman
You’ve probably heard Big Llou Johnson’s dulcet tones before. His deep resonant voice booms out on Sirius XM as he announces your favorite blues tunes on the B.B. King Bluesville show. He’s also a much sought-after voiceover talent for national advertisers ranging from White Castle and McDonald’s to Philip’s 66, Kraft Foods and more.
This modern-day Renaissance Man has also worked as a talent agent, appeared in the movie, Barbershop and read the news on WVON while still a high-school student on Chicago’s West Side. He’s utilized his golden voice to sing with Phava, a 4-piece gospel group as well as Oak Park’s Concert Chorale. He even won a Blues Music Award for “Best New Artist” on his first album, They Call me Big Lou, released in 2013.
Now, with the release of his second album, BigMan, Johnson is putting his soulful vocals and seductive style on full display throughout the ten-track CD. On this sophomore effort, the BigMan turns up the heat and gets down and dirty with a slew of innuendos along with a vocal delivery that’s reminiscent of Barry White, Isaac Hayes, and other sexy singers of the seventies.
The soulful seventies vibe is apparent from the very first track as “Lightnin’ Strikes” has a full complement of horns and sassy back-up singers that puts Johnson’s deep bass front-and-center. As he references drinking “Hennessy with Buddy G,” Johnson serves notice that he’ll also be dishing out ample shots of old-school blues.
Johnson’s brand of blues also includes a heavy helping of testosterone, and the hormones are on high alert on the title track. “BigMan” kicks off with the demand for some “motion lotion” and with comparisons to being “grand like the canyon,” it’s obvious that the “BigMan’s” hormones are shifting into overdrive.
“Chill on Cold,” kicks off with some mournful harmonica which serves serve as the perfect prelude for Johnson’s lament about a woman who is so downhearted, she “puts the chill on cold.”
The BigMan’s back on his game on the next track as “Let’s Misbehave” is a slow jamming number with some supper-club sax, smooth piano grooves and a stellar string section setting the mood for this tune with a nice retro vibe.
There’s no denying what “Shucky Ducky (Quack Quack)” is about as this track is laden with references to Johnson “speaking in tongues” and the fact that his baby “rides just like a Cadillac.” Yes, Johnson is “getting rambunctious” and taking listeners along for a voyeuristic ride!
Johnson channels the late Bill Withers on “Sunshine on Yo Face.” This track oozes positivity, which is amplified by the always-soothing sounds by violin virtuoso, Anne Harris.
The BigMan gets busy in another way on “I’ve Got to Stuff to Do.” On this up-tempo track, he runs down the many items on his long “to do” list. While Johnson’s calendar might be full, he certainly makes time to allow some sizzling guitar riffs to take center stage for a bit.
But a voice like Johnson’s is meant to be showcased in a big way and the next track, “I Got the Fever” does just that. This kicks off with Johnson’s always-satisfying spoken word delivery and builds up to a honey-smooth slow jam.
“I Got the Fever” features some fine piano work by Johnson’s consortium of talented session artists because even a “BigMan” needs a little help from his friends. All told, about forty musicians and singers participated in Johnson’s passion project. The all-star lineup includes guitarists Gino Matteo, Joe Louis Walker, Will Crosby, Isiah Sharkey with Victor Wainwright on keyboards, Felton Crews on bass, Russ Green and Curt Morrison on blues harp plus Doug Wolverton and Mark Earley on horns.
The next track, “You’ll Never Get Over Me,” starts out slow and spiritual-like with a nice string section but this sanctified vibe doesn’t last for long once Johnson gets going. Pretty soon, he’s singing about “once you get under me, you’ll never get over me.” This “force of nature” continues to tick off the ways that he will satisfy his special someone.
BigMan comes to a satisfying climax on the final track as “Beezethatwaysometimes” brings back the old-school bluesy feel that never goes out of style. And with Johnson’s mellifluous voice on full display, he makes being wronged sound all right. In addition to Johnson’s velvety-rich vocals, “Beezethatwaysometimes’ also boasts a robust horn section along with some delectable background vocals.
While you might want to forego the cigarette after listening to BigMan, it’s safe to say that this smoking hot release offers a variety of ways to push the listener’s buttons. Thanks to Big Llou’s seductive style and smooth vocal moves. BigMan is sure to satisfy and leave you wanting more!
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