Johnny Sayles – Lilly Mae


Johnny Sayles - Lilly Mae

Today’s selection is a little bit different from what I normally bring you here on Gazfunk. Released on the iconic Chess label by Johnny Sayles, this track combines the blues with a funkier edge that you know we love. It’s all-round grooviness is increased by the fact that the legendary Monk Higgins produced it.

Sayles story began in 1937 in Texas and in 1955 at the age of 18, left the family home and relocated to St Louis. Whilst there he joined Ike Turner & His Kings Of Rhythm singing vocals before forming his own band who often played at Chuck Berry’s Paradise Club. By the early 60s he had begun touring with the Five Du-Tones Revue which took him around the U.S. including to Chicago where he settled and signed for Chess Records.

In spite of cutting a number of 45s, commercial success eluded Sayles. However, “I Can’t Get Enough (Of Your Love)” and “Anything For You” proved popular on the Northern Soul scene in the U.K. By the 1970s, Sayles had given up on music and got himself a job working as a prison guard, a role he fulfilled until the late 80s (a kind of reverse Sharon Jones if you will). Sadly, Johnny died in 1993 but left a legacy as a mean live performer who some observers compared to James Brown – high praise indeed!!

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