JESSE JOHNSONÂ “Crazay” (Featuring Sly Stone)Â b/wÂ “Drive Yo Cadillac” (A&M Records #2878, 1986)
Money Mike might’ve already covered this track a while backÂ in his brilliant Infatueighties column, but given the random nature of 45 RPM,Â our rich musical history is destined to repeat itself here at Sonic Clash, so here goes…
Between the scattershot, flannel-clad, pre-grungeÂ indie slop-rock ofÂ young, bored, snowed-in white kidsÂ like The Replacements, Husker Du and Soul Asylum, and the glitzy, chart-topping new-wave glam-funk of poon-crazed urban youth like Prince andÂ Morris Day & The Time, Minneapolis wasÂ providingÂ a fair chunk of America’s musical sustenance by 1986.Â And as deeply indebted to reclusive geniuses like Bob Dylan and BlackÂ Flag as the former were, the latter borrowed so many pages from the Sly StoneÂ Book Of Brilliance-Smashed-By-Insanity that it was only a matter of time before either certainÂ hermits emerged from hiding, or the scene imploded in onÂ itself in a cascade of ego, drugsÂ and violence.Â Turned out all of the above.Â 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.Â Though sung as a duet, Johnson takes a gentlemanly backseat, politely allowing Sly to steal the show.Â Which he does, of course.Â 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.Â Backstage may have been a cesspool of crack addiction, fatal sexually transmitted diseases, and botched suicide attempts, but on stage was sheer joy.
And forÂ one brief, shining, gorgeously fulfillingÂ moment, it seemed like Sly Stone was back.
NEXT WEEK: An early World Music smash, courtesy of a duoÂ from Trinidad.