Johnny Adams, the legendary “Tan Canary” of New Orleans R & B, first scored locally in 1959 with the heartrending “I Won’t Cry,” and in 1962 another ballad, “Losing Battle,” catapulted him onto the national charts. Adams’s voice can only be described as thrilling: gospel-drenched, with a seemingly limitless emotional depth and a sense of control that only heightens the emotional tension, it can easily invoke transcendence and desolation at the same time. Like Solomon Burke, Adams has found artistic success in soul-country crossover: his “Reconsider Me,” cut in Nashville in 1969 complete with steel-guitar backing, was his biggest hit and remains a showstopper. But though he has nearly 100 singles to his credit–most of them now treasured as classics–he’s never been able to sustain a steady career outside the Crescent City. It’s been some time since he’s played around Chicago, but word is he’s still capable of firing up a stage. Saturday, 9 PM, Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rick Olivier.