Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Tan Canary



I was digging through 45s and noticed a Johnny Adams single on Atlantic Records. "The Tan Canary," as Adams has come to be known, is a New Orleans treasure and one of my favorite vocalists. I was unaware that he had ever recorded for Atlantic. The single I found was a cover of "I Wish It Would Rain" and it was everything I hoped it would be.

Some online digging showed that Adams time at Atlantic was short-lived, just four singles in three years. One of the other three is a cover of Jagger and Richards "Salt of The Earth," one of my very favorites from the Stones, and a song that I thought was ruined forever thanks to Axl Rose's guest crapping on a live version from 1989. But this Johnny Adams version has finally gotten that awful taste out of my mouth.

As for "I Wish It Would Rain," it happens to be one of my Top 5 Temptations songs. But I do love the melodrama of Johnny Adams version.

If you're unfamiliar with Johnny Adams and you dig these tracks, I highly recommend his 60's sides on the Ric and Ron labels, as well as some of his later albums where he pays tribute to both Doc Pomus and Percy Mayfield. Two personal faves are below "I Wish It Would Rain."



Stu said...

Have always loved his version of "I Don't Want To Know":

soundsource said...

wow great find. yeah the version of I Wish It Would Rain is a little over wrought but hey it's still Johnny Adams singing the song.
On the other hand Salt of The Earth is like a lost classic of what sound to be the Muscle Shoals / Memphis soul axis. Horns and bass sound like the shoals but that sitar got that Memphis thing going on. Any info on who produced or where recorded. In my advancing years the photo is way too small for me to read.
Thanks again great tunes great post

Sal Nunziato said...

Producers on these two Atlantic singles, and the last are Dave Crawford and Brad Shapiro. His first was Wardell Querzuerque

Anonymous said...

Like the 'People Get Ready' vibe of his cover of 'Salt Of The Earth'. And the Philly soul influences of 'Wish It Would Rain'. And a big AMEN to Axl Rose ruining whatever his cat-castration vocal chords get near; him being a singer, much less a good singer, is something I've never got.
C in California

pmac said...

Was fortuante to have seen him perform live on numerous occassions. Never heard a bad show. His acapella duet with Aaron Neville (Never Alone) always gives me goose bumps.

M_Sharp said...

I doubt that he ever sung a bad note. A friend got Johnny's business card once after a show, along with "The Tan Canary", it also said "The Songbird Of The South".

M_Sharp said...

Great cover of "I Wish It Would Rain."!