Jesse Johnson (w/Sly Stone)'s "Crazay" 45

JESSE JOHNSON  “Crazay” (Featuring Sly Stone)  b/w  “Drive Yo Cadillac” (A&M Records #2878, 1986)

Money Mike might’ve already covered this track a while back in his brilliant Infatueighties column, but given the random nature of 45 RPM, our rich musical history is destined to repeat itself here at Sonic Clash, so here goes…

Between the scattershot, flannel-clad, pre-grunge indie slop-rock of young, bored, snowed-in white kids like The Replacements, Husker Du and Soul Asylum, and the glitzy, chart-topping new-wave glam-funk of poon-crazed urban youth like Prince and Morris Day & The Time, Minneapolis was providing a fair chunk of America’s musical sustenance by 1986.  And as deeply indebted to reclusive geniuses like Bob Dylan and Black Flag as the former were, the latter borrowed so many pages from the Sly Stone Book Of Brilliance-Smashed-By-Insanity that it was only a matter of time before either certain hermits emerged from hiding, or the scene imploded in on itself in a cascade of ego, drugs and violence.  Turned out all of the above.  But not before one great, though very brief, comeback.

Shockadelica, on-again/off-again Time guitarist Jesse Johnson’s 2nd solo LP, showcased this self-penned-and-produced single, which features an ebullient Sly Stone making his first major recording appearance after a near-decade hiatus.  Though sung as a duet, Johnson takes a gentlemanly backseat, politely allowing Sly to steal the show.  Which he does, of course.  This is an example of one of those tracks that comes together perfectly, where all the elements are aligned and nothing is missing or out-of-place.  Backstage may have been a cesspool of crack addiction, fatal sexually transmitted diseases, and botched suicide attempts, but on stage was sheer joy.

Watch the video for Jesse Johnson\’s \”Crazay\” (Featuring Sly Stone) on YouTube

And for one brief, shining, gorgeously fulfilling moment, it seemed like Sly Stone was back.

He wasn’t.

NEXT WEEK: An early World Music smash, courtesy of a duo from Trinidad.