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Username: dluxe

Post Number: 11
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 6:09 pm:   Edit Post

I've always loved this cover shot. Made me want one so bad!

Username: dluxe

Post Number: 12
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 6:16 pm:   Edit Post

Intermediate Member
Username: otis

Post Number: 127
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Saturday, December 05, 2009 - 8:54 am:   Edit Post

Baaaad Ass Bass for a Baaad Ass Bass Player!!! One of the founding fathers of Funk, for sho!!!
Intermediate Member
Username: toma_hawk01

Post Number: 108
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 - 9:18 am:   Edit Post

I seen this band live at the Circle Star, in San Carlos "in my wonder years", as a teenager in San Mateo CA.

Lewis Johnson had that very bass beating it like he was an exorcist. (beating the devil out of it...)

I never seen anybody's striking arm, move so far away (away from the bass), and accurately hit the right strings with even his head back, and eyes closed.

It was good seeing them in Oakland in 2003, and still playing after all those years.


Peace and Love,


(Message edited by toma_hawk01 on July 30, 2010)
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 1238
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 - 12:22 pm:   Edit Post

The Louis Johnson instructional was incredible food for thought for me over many years as it remains today!
Senior Member
Username: gregduboc

Post Number: 445
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 - 11:04 pm:   Edit Post

I still remember the first time I saw this cover...
I still love this bass the same way I did when I first saw it...

Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 700
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2010 - 8:32 am:   Edit Post

Hal, I always wanted to see the live band from back then! The album lists who played with them and it seemed like they would have a lot more soul and funk than the studio musicians who played on the album (Alex Weir, for one!). Ah, well, they did sell some vinyl...
Senior Member
Username: serialnumber12

Post Number: 793
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - 2:47 am:   Edit Post

good clips......but that stale ass bass tone just aint happening!
Intermediate Member
Username: toma_hawk01

Post Number: 121
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - 6:12 am:   Edit Post

The Brother's Johnsons were studio musicians under band leader Quincy Jones. In some ways, the Brother Johnsons image were spoon fed to their audiences. Therefore to some degree, I believe the band was not fully able to create their own individual quality we would fully appreciate.

I never liked the name "The Brother's Johnson" because it contradicts the other members who were also outstanding musicians, and yet the name forced our attention to Lewis and George. I understand branding, but I personally didn't believe they made enough of a name for themselves for people I was listening to in those days. I just believe, The BB made it too fast. It was like, from out of nowhere... I waken from sleep, and just like that... "here's a new tune from the Brothers Johnson". Heck, I was wondering where was the old Brothers Johnson...? Who are these young cats, what is their angle? (there's always an angle...)

Then I realized, they were put there by Quincy Jones, my door swung open, because I love Quincy Jones music. Yeah, The BB had the QJ card, and that was the ticket for me to check them out deeper, without any screening. So from a listeners perspective, I invited the Brothers Johnson in my house with open ears.

However, from a business perspective, the Brothers Johnson was disbanded just as fast as they were created. These are the lessons when you are given the nod from the powerful Quincy Jones.

Quincy Jones created a solid FUNK Band...

"That was the only angle I could see... and it worked."

But, I must say, I do feel like something was deeply lost when bands are created by executives types. However on the very opposite end, was when Berry Gordy was introduced to a young cat name Rick James.

I agree #12, Lewis bass sounded awful in that live recording. Yes, and I am sure -- it was his bass too.

One of the things I loved about Stanley Clarke, is his ideas on authenticity. Stanley would never use a substitute bass from the original work.

On the song Strawberry 23, Lewis Johnson used an Alembic, and I seen him live with the same Alembic back in the 70's.

So, to use another bass for the attribute of such a song, is like using a nylon "clip-on tie" compared to a 100% true (full laced) - silk tie for the occasion. I just don't get it...

But, I believe it's pretty clear, Lewis Johnson's relationship with Alembic basses were very short lived, and was of an affair, and not nothing serious anyway.

I think Lewis Johnson loves "Bolt On" basses -- that's his thing...

Peace and Love,


(Message edited by toma_hawk01 on August 04, 2010)
Advanced Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 354
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 - 12:32 pm:   Edit Post

I read Quincy Jones got going on the Michael Jackson thing and the Brothers Johnson were moved aside. The Brothers bass tone was great with the Stingray sound, too. I have the Midnight Special DVD with one of Strawberry 23 and it looks like they lip-sinc the song, even though Sugerman was not supposed to be doing that on his show.

I first got excited by bass when a funk band passed through town in the 70's and the bass player had a BC Rich Eagle and was slapping from a foot off the neck. That guy was so amazing it inspired me to also take up the bass in addition to the guitar!
Intermediate Member
Username: muller1007

Post Number: 196
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 12:16 pm:   Edit Post

Rare live footage of the Brothers Johnson, with Louis Johnson on the walnut Alembic Series 1 omega from the cover shot.


Intermediate Member
Username: muller1007

Post Number: 197
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 1:06 pm:   Edit Post

And if that's not enough, here's the isolated bass track of Louis Johnson playing Strawberry Letter 23 on his Alembic Series 1.

Love this one!

Advanced Member
Username: toma_hawk01

Post Number: 381
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 1:04 am:   Edit Post

Hey Brother Duncan,

After listening to the clip on the Midnight Special, Louis Alembic lacked a strong bottom, the bass sounded way to bright for that live performance. I have the album "Looking Out For #1" and this was their first solo debut. I believe during the recording, LJ was using a Fender Precision on the recording, as shown on the album cover and there was a stronger and much fuller and deeper (heavy) bass.

Anyway, I believe by the time Strawberry Letter 23 came out, I believe LJ had a much better sounding Alembic. (Perhaps, he learned how to get the sound he was looking for...) Nevertheless, the Alembic sound really manifested on that said tune.

Also, in my opinion, with LJ such a light frame, I believe the Alembic bass was just too heavy for him. Therefore, I was thinking... perhaps he should had used the Alembic Small body Series 1 like Stanley... Oh, but that bass was taken... by Stan the Man LOL! O-well :\

Anyway, Leo's Music Man Bass would also be a short run too, and yet those basses are very light compared to an Alembic, so WHO KNOWS???

Honestly, I never liked Music Man Basses... They all sound alike... Too Bright, and not FAT enough.

Peace and Love,

Username: jos

Post Number: 42
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 5:26 am:   Edit Post

Hi Hal!

I totally agree Louis sounded sooooo fat and great when he did play the Fender Precision bass. This was the time I really started to like the slap bass myself. Thank You Louis!!
When Louis did play the P bass in the early days no synth bass or Moog bass where needed…….. The bass did have enough low end even when thumping!
Louis did use flatwound strings until 1980 and that’s why hi did have such a great massive BIG bass sound! In Louis hands the flat wounds really worked! Everything he did with the P bass was with flats.
Blam was recorded with Music Man Sting Ray and flats (the bass was from 1976 and is quite different from the Music Man basses from 1977 and up). On Light Up The Night he did use Music Man Sabre. This record was with flats or half wounds …the bass sound is massive! On Stanley Clarke’s “We Supply” (great track) Louis did switch to round wounds but still used the Music Man Sabre bass.
I think that on everything recorded after 1980 Louis did only use round wound strings. Louis played the Music Man Sabre bass only for a few years unfortunately (I think the bass did fit his style). The Sabre bass had a better low end than the Sting Ray because of the two pickups but Sting Ray did ring better because of the big body and strings through the body.
The Alembic bass did never really work for Louis, he often had a quite thin sound when playing the Alembic. I think the reason is that he never really did understand how the bass worked or nobody did explain it to him. Louis is a plug and play guy!!
Stanley again did check out the bass properly and we can enjoy his sound in Silly Putty and some other tracks from the -70`s. He did get into the stereo and two-way thing….but that is an other story!

All The Best,
Advanced Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 374
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 11:32 am:   Edit Post

My 76 MM Stingray weighs a ton and is every bit as heavy as my Alembic. I love the sound but it's a handful. Leo used the 3 bolt neck plate like the ones on the Fenders from the same era, however, I never see anyone complaining that the MM 3 bolt was a bad idea!

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