Legendary Detroit blues guitarist and singer Johnnie Bassett is set to release “The Gentleman Is Back” June 30 on Sly Dog Records.
Bassett returns to the spotlight after a nine-year hiatus. “The Gentleman Is Back,” is an 11-song set that finds Johnnie, at 72, in prime form as a player and singer. Recorded in Detroit and co-produced by longtime Bassett collaborators Chris Codish and Keith Kaminski, the CD includes a richly rendered cover of the Hoagy Carmichael and Gorrell Stuart standard “Georgia” and a batch of originals penned mostly by Codish and his father, Bob, another regular in the Bassett camp.
According to his bio, Bassett was born in Florida, where his father was a bootlegger during prohibition. Bassett was surrounded by music. His mother, sisters and aunts took him to church and surrounded him with gospel spirituals. But in the summer he’d head out to his grandmother’s famous fish fries, where the likes of Tampa Red, Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup, Lonnie Johnson and others would set up and play while folks ate and danced. He has been on the music scene for more than five decades, amassing a career that’s crossed paths with some of the greatest artists in the field, including John Lee Hooker, Smokey Robinson and Jimi Hendrix.
Johnnie didn’t have to think twice about what “The Gentleman Is Back” would sound like. “I like doing fun music – fun jump music and fun blues music and stuff like that.”