Johnnie Taylor was on a roll at Stax Records in the late 1960s. In 1968, “Who’s Making Love” had gone to the top of the US R&B chart, hit the pop Top 5 and gone gold in the process. It was to be the first of no fewer than eight Top 10 R&B singles in a row for the great soul man from Crawfordsville, Arkansas. The fifth of those, “Love Bones,’”made its debut on the R&B survey on December 13, 1969.
Taylor’s first chart appearance had come as far back as the summer of 1964 when he was signed to the Derby label and made the R&B Top 40 with “I Need Lots Of Love.” But it was as part of the Stax family that Johnnie’s gruff but supple vocal skills were truly nurtured.
After “Who’s Making Love” made him one of the big names of the day, Taylor followed up with the No.2 hit “Take Care Of Your Homework.” Then came the funky George Clinton co-write “Testify (I Wonna)” and “I Could Never Be President,” which was then covered by David Ruffin, on the former Temptation’s Doin’ His Thing album.
“Love Bones” was the next single in that great Stax sequence, a typical example of Taylor’s recording persona as an ordinary man in a working-class job, telling the foreman that he can’t do much overtime because he’s got to get home to his woman. The song was written by Alvertis Isbell, Billy Davis Jr. (best known as a member of the Fifth Dimension) and Stax producer Don Davis.
“Love Bones” was part of an album that also included Johnnie’s versions of the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” and Joe South’s “Games People Play.” It was an LP whose very title displayed the artist’s growing confidence and reputation: The Johnnie Taylor Philosophy Continues.
“Love Bones” is on The Very Best of Johnnie Taylor, which can be bought here.
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