Johnny Otis was a true pioneer of Rhythm & Blues. Not only was he a drummer and singer, but he led a great orchestra, ran a cool record label, was a talent scout for other record labels, wrote some great songs, was a radio DJ and a host for a TV show. He played the vibraphone and learned to play piano after he mangled a couple fingers in a power-saw accident! Did we leave out something? Oh, yeah, three of the greatest R&B acts of all time, Little Willie John, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters and Jackie Wilson, were among his discoveries! His birthday is December 28 and in a perfect world it would be a national holiday. So Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus decided to take it upon himself to throw a party for the late great Mr. Otis while he (The Boog) was visiting Los Angeles, the city where Johnny Otis was based most of his life. This took place at the Liquid Kitty in West Los Angeles—right next door to what once was Club 88 (where The Boog’s band Phast Phreddie & Thee Precisions played its first two shows, opening for the legendary Blasters).
December 28, 2013 also happened to be the 60th birthday of Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus! He was able to round up some of his favorite local DJs—(Agent 00 Soul, Mr. Soul Satisfaction, ZachariahLove, Miss Europa, Danny Holloway*)—and a ton of his favorite people—people he has known and loved all his life—showed up for the festivities.
People seemed to come out of the proverbial woodwork for this affair: During the mid-70s, Phast Phreddie founded and edited a punk rock fanzine called Back Door Man and some of its writers and readers were in the house. Several members of his eighties bands Thee Precisions, The Love Supremes and Phast ‘n’ Bulbous showed up to swing. Also in attendance were many old friends, including heroes, schoolmates, associates, softball teammates, drinking buddies, lovers and colleagues. Every one of them wore a beautiful smile as he or she wished The Boog well as he climbed kicking and screaming into old age!!
In between hugs and handshakes, The Boog was able to commandeer the turntables for two 30-minute sets, and here’s what he played:
- Johnny Otis–The Hash (King)
- The Johnny Otis Show; vocal by Johnny Otis and Marci Lee–Castin’ My Spell (Capitol)
- Johnny Otis and Orchestra–Hey! Hey! Hey! (Dig)
- Johnny Otis; The Johnny Otis Show–Willie Did the Cha Cha (Capitol)
- D’Swooner’s–Mickey’s Monkey (Philips; Japan)
- Michele Richard–Je Serai La [ Reach Out ] (Trans Canada; Canada)
- The Miracles–Come on Do the Jerk (Tamla)
- The Mighty Hannibal–Jerkin’ the Dog (Decca)
- The Magics–Let’s Boogaloo (R.F.A.)
- Sam and the Soul Walkers–Soul Walk (Trans-American)
- Weston Prim–Get That Feelin’ (Brent)
- Alvin Cash & the Crawlers featuring The Registers Band–Do It One More Time (The Twine) (Mar-V-Lus)
- Bernie Hayes–Cool Strut Part II (Volt)
- Jesse Johnson–Funky Soul Stroll (Oak)
- Ricky and Bob–Shu Fly Shu! (Fonseca)
- Dorothy Berry–Shindig City (Planetary)
- The Ambassadors–Storm Warning (Arctic)
- Los Johnny Jets–Bule Bu [ I Got You ](CBS; Mexico)
- The Puddle Jumpers–Snake Charmer (Federal)
- Elliott Shavers–Rock My Soul (Zan-Dan)
- Bo Diddley–We’re Gonna Get Married (Checker)
- Cecil Garrett & the Fascinations–Bearcat (Part I) (Calla)
- Jimmy Castor and His Quartet–In a Boogaloo Bag – Part 1 (Decca)
- King Coleman–The Boo Boo Song (Part 1) (King)
None of these records are for sale.
* Unfortunately, Danny Holloway was experiencing painful back problems and could not make the scene. However, his commitment was appreciated and hopefully we’ll catch his act again soon.