Some listeners might have been introduced indirectly to Johnson's work via RZA's samples of his songs on Wu-Tang Clan albums. Tracks like Johnson's "Any Way The Wind Blows" are haunting and bluesy and fit the Staten Island crew's hip-hop aesthetic.
Others may know his signature song "Is It Because I'm Black?", which has been covered multiple times by US, Jamaican and other international artists.
Now, Chicago's Numero Group set the, um, record straight once and for all with an expansive six vinyl and four CD box set, Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology, out on October 19. Advanced press information reveals that:
"Included on Complete Mythology are re-mastered versions of no less than twenty eight singles from the Twinight, Federal, Cha-Cha, Tmp-ting and Special Agent labels, the Dresses To Short and Is It Because I'm Black albums, ten previously unreleased tracks and detailed track by track notes from acclaimed music historian Bill Dahl."
Altered Zones blog has a nice freebie from the release.
Go there to read more about Syl Johnson and grab the tune: "I'm Talkin' Bout' Freedom."