Co-founder of The Unifics and in 1980 the guy who teamed up with Jean Carne on the much-loved duet I’m Back For More, Al Johnson, died on October 26.
Carne recently posted this message online:
“I received a message and text earlier from Jeff Majors saying that my Friend and favorite Voice, Al Johnson passed away this morning. A Fan since The Beginning of My End, I’ve been recalling the many, many times I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to share the mic and the stage and commiserate in the studio with Al. Our first recording was I’m Back For More, which has been sampled many times and was covered, beautifully, by Bobby Womack and Lulu. His orchestral arrangements for Artists like The Whispers were beyond Genius. Thanks Al, for composing the title tune for my Motown album, Trust Me and We’ve Got Some Catching Up To Do. Thank you Jeff Majors for bringing Al and me together for what has become our last onstage performance. My Love and Prayers are with Al’s beautiful Wife and Family. Right now, I simply can’t imagine Music existing without the Voice that lovingly brought us The 23rd Psalm. Al Johnson, your incomparable Spirit will live on in the gigantic space that you occupy in my heart. Rest in Peace, Beloved Musical Warrior.”
Johnson was born in Newport News, Virginia in 1948 and attended Howard University in Washington D.C.. It was there that he co-foundedThe Unifics. The group enjoyed three hits in ’68 and ’69 for the Kapp label, including Court Of Love, which made number three on the R&B chart. Johnson returned to recording in 1978 with a solo album, Peaceful, which he co-produced. In 1979 he collaborated with Norman Connors on the latter’s Invitation album and, the following year, cut his own best known album, Back for More, for Columbia. The lead single from the album, I’m Back for More, the duet with Carne, became a popular cut with soul fans, especially in the UK, where it made him a cult figure.
In the ‘90s Johnson worked frequently with The Whispers on several albums and in 1999 released another solo album for an independent label, Clout. He also re-formed The Unifics with original group member Tom Fauntleroy and also toured with a solo gospel show. The group issued an album, Unifics Return in 2005.
Al returned to the studio in 2011 working on a new solo set, entitled Maybe The Fire Isn’t Out, but it was never released.