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Willie Neal Johnson

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Biography

Willie Neal Johnson
Biography
Known throughout the gospel circuit as "The Country Boy" for his rootsy, blues-driven style, singer Willie Neal Johnson was born and raised in Tyler, TX; he began performing with his five siblings while still a child, and was still in his teens when he was tapped to join Rev. C.W. Jackson's group the Five Ways of Joy Gospel Singers. A few years later he formed Willie Neal Johnson and the Gospel Keynotes with longtime friends Ralph McGee, Rev. J.D. Talley, Charles Bailey, John Jackson, Lonzo Jackson, and Archie B. McGee; after rising to popularity across the southwest, the group signed to Nashboro Records, where they scored a major hit with "Show Me the Way." The Gospel Keynotes went on to record over 20 LPs for Nashboro; line-up changes were common, and among the more notable talents which passed through the roster in the following years were Paul Beasley, Larry McGowan, Paul Beasley, and Donny Timmons. After Nashboro closed its doors, they signed to Malaco, rechristening themselves Willie Neal Johnson and the New Keynotes; their output for the label includes 1992's The Country Boy Goes Home, 1994's Lord Take Us Through and 1996's Help Me to Be Strong. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi