The Fantastic Johnny C, Boogaloo Down Broadway: The Best of the Fantastic Johnny C

Lenny Kaye

By Lenny Kaye

on 08.09.11 in Reviews

Producer Jesse James was not above hedging his bets. Johnny Corley was a singer at a local Norristown, Pennsylvania, church when James happened to see him and get him signed to Jamie subsidiary Phil-LA of Soul. In case the A-side of “Boogaloo Down Broadway” didn’t fly on the charts, the pair just changed the lyric and used the same backing track for the flip, “Look What Love Can Make You Do.” Either way, the Fantastic Johnny C is revealed as a consummate soul-shouter, and his album grants him more depth than his 1967 one-hit wonder status would indicate. Though he stuck close to dance stepping (“Hitch It To The Horse,” “Land of a Thousand Dances,” “Barefootin’”), cuts like “(She’s) Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Shout Bama Lama” take him into Otis Redding territory, and the honeysuckle tone of “Warm And Tender Love” adds an extra strut to his stride.