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Author: Subject: Johnny Neel in the ABB

Zen Peach





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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 09:44 AM
I have a two-part question:

Does anyone know what the impetus was for bringing Johnny into the band for the 7 Turns album? Similarly, why was he not brought back for the Shades album?

 

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Sublime Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 09:48 AM
It is kinda foggy, but I think Johnny played in Dickeys Pattern Disruptive band and was good friends with Warren and Woody.

I was not surprised when he was let go, as there had been talk about his solos getting carried away or not fitting the song or something like that. Nuff said...

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 09:48 AM
Can't really answer your questions but I do love the shows from that tour.
 

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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 09:54 AM
Supposedly, Gregg was used to playing with a 2nd keyboardist and didn't feel comfortable as the only one in the band. He had done so since 1973.

According to what I've heard, it was Dickey who suggested throwing Johnny out, not so much because of a personality clash, but because he just didn't fit the band.

 

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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 09:56 AM
The best I could explain it is this as far as what I know. Johnny was brought into The ABB in 1989 for the Dreams reunion tour. He had played in The Dickey Betts Band with Warren and Matt Abts for a few years so he was already a familiar face. They figured he would add a little extra to The ABBs sound for that tour and he did record Seven Turns with then as well. As it turns out Johnny is a hell of a player but in my opinion his style didn't suit the bands signature sound. He would add synthesiser-type solos on Liz Reed, Whipping Post etc. that really had no place in that context, The band then decided to go back to the original format with Gregg handling all the keyboard work. A year or so later Marc Quinones joined the band and the rest as they say is history. Again Johnny Neel is a real good player but he fits better into a more modern type setting - some of the Mules stuff with Johnny sounds pretty good. Warren and him are good buddies and makes numerous appearances with them. Also, Johnny played with Blue Floyd. I'm real glad he parted ways with The ABB though, he got a little too out-there at times for my taste and evidently the bands as well.

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[Edited on 6/19/2003 by EddieP]

 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 10:03 AM
Geez, you guys are quick. I don't notice him not fitting on the album itself, and I haven't heard any of their live shows frmo that era, so I guess I can't comment there. He plays on a lot of Mule's Life Before Insanity and he fits there. I caught the X2 show at BB King's in March and while it was certainly good, the playing was definitely not something that would "fit" with the ABB. Now if they could just bring back Chuck...

 

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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 10:24 AM
Howdy there Lee.looks like you have a few answers so far,not much to add but I must say I really enjoyed Johnny Neel with ABB- didn't care for all the synth solos he played but the cat can sing and play. The added texture of his keys,especially the vibes sounding things he used to do fit the band very nicely imho.He also did some cool horn sounds from the keys. Johnny's impact in the DBB Pattern Disruptive band and Dreams tour/7 Turns ABB gets overlooked at times-listen to the Capt.Skip remaster of the 88 Lonestar show as a good example.His solo stuff is pretty cool too.

Going to Toronto July 9th?

 

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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 11:02 AM
I believe Neel has been quoted in an interview that part of the reason he left the band is that they wouldn't let him do his stuff more...if I can find it I will post it.
 

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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 11:11 AM
Personally, I liked him on the Harmonica ("Low Down Dirty Mean") better than on the keyboards.

 

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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 12:34 PM
Alrighty then, seein's how nobody has kept up with Johnny, here is the scoop;

First of all, Johnny is doing well in Nashville and playing his butt off.
Obviously on the new Allman Bros album he co-wrote "Maydelle."

On The Deep End Two he co-wrote "Babylon Turnpike," the cut with Alphonso Johnson, and "Sundance," the cut with Chris Squire, and played on "What is Hip."
And, wrote "Read Me My Rights" on Delbert McClinton's Nothing Personal, which won a Grammy.

More impressive than any of that is his work on Shane Theriot's new CD , "The Grease Factor." Shane has been the guitarist for the Neville Brothers for a few years now, but when he gets on his own he brings out the Louisiana FUNK from his home state south of I-10. On The Grease factor, Shane has Johnny throwing down on keyboards on all of the funky, guitar driven cuts, and the both of them are surrounded by an all-star lineup of musicians;

On bass is the slamming Vic Wooten of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones,Tony Hall from Emmylou Harris' band, Adam Nitti, and David Johnson from Aaron Neville's band.

On drums is Russell Batiste from the Funky Meters, Johnny Vidocovich from John Scofield's band, Doug Belote from Anders Osborne's band, Jeff Sipe from Leftover Salmon, and on one slamming cut is Kirk Joseph playing some hot sousaphone, from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
On trombone is Mark Mullins from Bonearama, and on sax is Jeff Coffin from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones as well as on Jerry Douglas' latest album, "Lookout For Hope."

This album rips it up. Actually Shane used to teach guitar theory with Jimmy Herring;
http://www.gritz.net/new_gritz/inner_views/shane_theriot.html

Three cats from Louisiana that are out there right now tearing it up on electric guitar;
Sonny Landreth, www.sonnylandreth.com
Brian Stoltz from the Funky Meters,--www.brianstoltz.com,
and Shane Theriot--www.shanetheriot.com.

Although a lot of their fans are not aware of these guys, it is good to know that Warren and Derek are.That is great to see. Even the jambanders are starting to wake up to it.
Cool!

DH

 

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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 06:56 PM
The way I understand it is that Johnny was brought into the band in 1989 at Gregg's insistance. Originally Chuck was to take part in the "reunion" but bailed out after the ABB taking too long to commit & his offer from the stones. (I think the stones, it may have been clapton) Anyway, the rest of the band was content on basing the new band on the original lineup, but Gregg was still pretty messed up then and was inconfident on the keyboards and thought Johnny was an incredible player, so he suggested Johnny (who was playing with the Dickey Betts Band at the time). So I think he pretty much insisted Johnny be a part of it. - I think Johnny is an amazing player and I also usually love shows from that era, I particularly love the ABB version of "The Blues Ain't Nothin'" with Johnny on lead vocals. I personally don't think that Johnny didn't fit in musically as much as I think just having another "lead" instrument there was too much. He was great on the new songs, the jams and the Chuck-era stuff, but some of the classic songs didn't need another instrument. Dickey & Warren were pretty intense. Gregg's organ always stays out of the way of that, adding yet another instrument can get too busy. (Incidentally, after Johnny was dismissed it was only 4-6 months before Marc joined up with the band) Nonetheless at the end of Johnny's 2nd year, his contract was not renewed. The band was feeling confident and great about themselves & the music they were making. They felt they could do it without him. -- At least, this is the way I remember hearing it. -- I believe it was after that that Johnny started Johnny Neel & the Last Word with Jack Pearson on guitar. They did "Maydell", "The Blues Ain't Nothin'", "It Ain't Over Yet" and some other songs written with Warren.
 

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  posted on 6/19/2003 at 07:07 PM
Johnny will be playing this Saturday, June 19th at the June Jam in Houston, Delaware. Headlining the Jam will be Dickey Betts and Great Southern. According to the June Jam website, Dan Toler will sit in with Johnny, and my guess is that JN will probably sit in with DB and GS. JN used to live in Delaware...not sure if he still does or not. I have a friend that was a keyboard player in a local blues band here in South Jersey who swears he went somewhere with Johnny one time in a car...and Johnny was driving

 

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  posted on 6/20/2003 at 08:59 AM
One of the funniest between song comments I've heard is from the legendary Lonestar NYC 88 DBB show.During introductions Grayson Hughes was missed so Neel pops up with "Sorry Grayson, didn't see you over there".

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/20/2003 at 09:36 AM
Ironically, last night I got home and in the mail was an out of print CD I ordered from Johnny Neel and The Last Word called "Comin Atcha Live". Good stuff. Has Jack Pearson on it.

 

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  posted on 6/20/2003 at 11:30 AM
Hired help with a 2 yr contract that was not renewed for most likely many of the reasons mentioned above. But with the twin guitar thing going well again, it didn't seem to me he was needed.

 

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  posted on 6/20/2003 at 08:29 PM
Johnny is credited with writng "Maydele" with Warren. Es verdad?

 

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  posted on 6/20/2003 at 10:01 PM
They cowrote Maydell??? I heard an old John Mayall version of that song. Cooks pretty good. Maybe I'm mistaken though.
 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/21/2003 at 01:26 AM
Johnny and Warren did co-write Maydell and the other songs mentioned. All of them were written - or were created and finished later, maybe - during Johnny's tenure with the ABB. Johnny has cut the song himself, and I'm pretty sure that was before Mayall covered it.

 

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  posted on 6/26/2003 at 11:57 AM
we listened to both versions back and forth for 2 hours once when we were bored... we gave the edge to the allmans. i love doing that once in a while though. it's always fun
 
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