Johnnie Frierson - Have You Been Good To Yourself

LIGHT IN THE ATTIC

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EXPECTED RELEASE DATE: FRIDAY 5TH MARCH 2021

 

Followers of Light In The Attic's output might have a pang of recognition on reading the name, Frierson. That was the surname of Wendy Rene, whose work was collected into the 2012 LITA anthology After Laughter Comes Tears, and indeed, Johnnie Frierson is Wendy’s brother – a fellow member of her mid-’60s Stax four-piece The Drapels. But Have You Been Good To Yourself will come as a surprise to anyone expecting more of the beat-driven R&B Johnnie and his sibling produced – including that compilation’s much-sampled title track. A mix of spoken word and gospel songs laid down direct to cassette, these ultra-rare home recordings draw from Johnnie’s religious upbringing and his history in the music business, which was interrupted in 1970 when he was sent to fight in Vietnam.

Frierson returned to music in the early 1990's, following the death of his son, and began hosting a gospel radio show while also working as a mechanic, labourer and teacher. Recording directly onto a tape recorder, and accompanying himself on electric guitar, Frierson self-released Have You Been Good To Yourself and a companion album, Real Education (released under the name Khafele Ojore Ajanaku), on cassette in the 1990's, selling them at corner stores and gospel music festivals around Memphis. 

The seven songs on Have You Been Good To Yourself are overtly religious; some, such as 'Out Here On Your Word,' are strident and faithful; others, like the self-questioning 'Have You Been Good To Yourself,' are more meditative. They reflect the difficult situation that Frierson was in when recording, shell-shocked from his time in the military and grieving the untimely death of his son. “He was really trying to find his way,” remembers Frierson’s daughter Keesha in Andria Lisle’s liner notes. “And writing and making music were a way out for him.”

Remastered and reissued here for the first time, the message spread by Frierson - who passed away in 2010 - remains undimmed. 

“My dad loved people. He was an activist for Black people, but also an activist for human rights. I don’t care what color you are, my dad was kind to you. He wanted the word ‘love’ out there: the self-love message, the world-love message. Anything good he knew, he wanted to let everyone know about it.” - Keesha Frierson

 

TRACKLIST:
  1. Have You Been Good To Yourself
  2. Heavenly Father, You've Been Good
  3. Miracles
  4. Out Here On Your Word
  5. You Were Sent To This World
  6. Woke Up This Morning
  7. Trust In The Lord

 

US import; remastered from the original cassette; pressed at RTI; includes booklet with liner-notes by Andria Lisle

 

 

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