‘Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows’ available via video on demand
Syl Johnson: Regardless of the direction of the wind is now available for the first time on multiple video-on-demand platforms, including Amazon, Apple, Google Play, Vudu or Vimeo On Demand, where it was made available in February following Johnson’s death. Johnson died Feb. 6 at the age of 85.
Originally released in 2015, the documentary traces the life and career of an influential, but long-neglected soul singer, from his roots in Mississippi to his move to Chicago in the ’60s. , Johnson eventually signed with Twinight Records, releasing hits such as “Come On Sock it to Me”, “Different Strokes”, and “Is It Because I’m Black”. He also recorded with the same band and producer as Al Green at Hi Records in Memphis in the 70s – but fame seemed to elude Johnson, despite being one of the most sampled artists in the history of the hip hop.
“I think he’s one of the unsung heroes of soul music, and also one of the unsung heroes of hip-hop music,” Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA says in the film. “A lot of people may not know this man’s name, Syl Johnson, but they know his music.”
The Rob Hatch-Miller-directed film includes footage and footage from Johnson’s musical debut to his late-career resurgence. With an original score by Yo La Tengo, the documentary also includes an appearance by Snoop Dogg and interviews with RZA, Prince Paul (De La Soul), Peanut Butter Wolf (Stones Throw Records), Jazzy Jay (Afrika Bambaataa’s Soulsonic Force), Jonathan Lethem (writer), Louis “Breakbeat Lou” Flores (Ultimate Breaks & Beats), Otis Clay (Hi Records artist) and Gabriel Roth (Daptone Records, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings).