Formerly the lead guitar player with multi BMA-award winner Louisiana Red, Johnny Ticktin (pronounced Tick-Tin), along with the Headhunters, released his 8th album, That’s All I Need. The ten tracks are a testimony to his life-long obsession with the six string, covering the gamut of guitar centric styles from surf and swing to blues, Mambo and classic R&B. The Headhunters are joined by a couple of special guests on the collection of songs from heroes like Lowell Fulson, Magic Sam, and Link Wray that have shaped Ticktin’s guitar playing over the years.
The album opens with swamp blues proto type “That’s All I Need,” from Magic Sam’s seminal 1967 album West Side Soul. Johnny pushes the tremolo guitar sound that made Sam famous even further evoking CCR and Tony Joe White. Venerated D.C. area keyboardist, Tam Sullivan, adds luscious piano and organ to the Bobby “Blue” Bland soul blues classic “Lead Me On,” creating a vehicle for Johnny to ramp up the drama with his enduring vocal and sweet lead guitar. Johnny and the boys then get funky on the ode to shapely curves and Johnny’s other obsession and day job at JT Auto Service, “Body And Fender Man,” originally written by Doc Pomus and Duke Robillard for Baton Rouge soul singer Johnny Adams. They smooth out the groove, while staying true to the guitar riff created by Chet Atkins, on 1957 Rockabilly B side hit “Chicken House.” Lowell Fulson’s 1957 hit for Chess Records, “Rock ‘Em Dead,” is given the Headhunter treatment, pushing the boogie woogie up a notch to a full-tilt dance-floor-filling roadhouse shuffle, and the frenzy continues for the blazing rip thru Elmore James slide guitar bombast “Shake Your Money Maker.”
Johnny pays tribute to one of the unsung heroes of reverb-soaked Garage Rock with a fun-loving take of Link Wray surf guitar instrumental “Ace Of Spades” tossing in a little bit of Switchblade for good measure. Power house vocalist Liz Springer from acclaimed D.C. band Built 4 Comfort, is the special guest for the sassy duet “Watch And Chain,” trading barbs with Johnny like June Carter on the late 60’s Bo Diddley beat romp from the Donovan catalog. A second Magic Sam cover, the classic Chicago Blues shuffle from 1958 “All My Whole Life,” showcases Johnny’s guitar skills and the crack Headhunter rhythm section. Everyone shines on “Collins Mambo,” closing the album with another high energy instrumental that has Johnny blending elements from several of Texas bluesman Albert Collins’ legendary ice-pick riffs into a dance hall fiesta.