Syl Standing

Syl Standing
Chicago soul elder Syl Johnson is finally getting his due some five decades into his long and twisted career; his biggest hit was "Take Me to the River," later adapted by Talking Heads. The redoubtable Numero Group reissue label has put out its most expansive project yet with Complete Mythology, a gorgeous four-CD collection of Johnson's work before he migrated to Memphis to toil in Al Green's shadow. Johnson was near the top of Chicago's regional, if never national, food chain at the time. This first major retrospective of Johnson's Chicago era as an influential, entrepreneurial soul lieutenant. From his tentative early recordings to the ahead-of-its-time concept album Is It Because I'm Black?, it's hard not to get swept up by the sounds and stories of the Windy City.