The Allman Brothers Band drummer Jai Johanny Johanson, also know as Jaimoe, celebrates his 77th birthday today. Born Johnny Lee Johnson in Ocean Springs, Mississippi on July 8, 1944, Jaimoe began his musical career with notable artists like Otis Redding and Sam & Dave before helping to found The Allman Brothers Band in 1969 with guitarists Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, keyboardist Gregg Allman, bassist Berry Oakley and fellow drummer Butch Trucks.
It was the double drum attack of Jaimoe and Trucks that drove ABB’s live sound, which was quickly becoming renowned throughout the U.S. Less than a year after ABB was founded, the band was already delivering multiple night runs, albeit as an opener, at the famed Whiskey A Go-Go in Los Angeles. The band’s first stand at the venue began on January 22, 1970 and stretched until January 25, as per Allman Brothers Band.com. A recording of the penultimate concert of the four-night stand on January 24 is now available on YouTube.
The set kicks off with “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’.” The song, and indeed the whole set, featured the aforementioned locomotive-like driving beat from Jaimoe and Trucks. The steady and yet complex rhythm not only provided a foundation for The Allman Brothers Band’s guitar players, but also something to play off of. The bluesy “Stormy Monday” followed ahead of the group’s classic instrumental “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed,” which saw Butch and Jaimoe weaving a web of rhythm underneath the melodic elements of the band. The riff-driven “You Don’t Love Me” came next and featured a more straightforward rock ‘n’ roll backbeat. Another ABB classic, “Dreams,” followed ahead of “Mountain Jam” which, as it often did, stretched to over 30 minutes.
To celebrate Jaimoe’s birthday, listen to The Allman Brothers Band perform at the legendary Whiskey A Go-Go on January 24, 1970 below:
Set: Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’, Stormy Monday, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed, You Don’t Love Me, Dreams, Mountain Jam