Playing for a meal takes on a different meaning Saturday afternoon at the Texas Opry Theater.
Proceeds from Saturday’s Parker County Live Show will benefit the Parker County Meals on Wheels program. The Weatherford Democrat is a co-sponsor for this special show.
Parker County Live Show takes place 3-5 p.m. at the theater located at 315 N. York Ave. in downtown Weatherford. Tickets are $15 and $10 for seniors 60 and older in advance or at the door.
Headlining this special concert is Reverend Cadillac Johnson and the Revelators. Johnson is a former bassist for ZZ Top band and sings and teaches about God’s Love. Born in Houston in 1951, Michael Cadillac Johnson began playing guitar at the age of 10. By age 14 he had switched to the bass guitar and began playing professionally.
Johnson started out at an early age playing in the rich blues and soul environment of Houston and the Gulf Coast area. During these early years he also played with the great Lightnin’ Hopkins. Friend and ZZ Top band member Billy Gibbons called upon Cadillac in 1969 to play bass guitar on an interim basis with the band until Dusty Hill could move from Dallas to join the group.
Gibbons is responsible for Cadillac’s nickname. While performing with ZZ Top, Gibbons would introduce Johnson as the “Cadillac of bass players.”
Johnson has played with Johnny Winter and Uncle John Turner and recorded the only solo album Uncle John ever made with Johnny Winter. Cadillac and Uncle John left Charlie Helpenstiel’s band Ezra Charles to form The Step Children with Alan Haynes, and record Alan’s first release Seventh Son, which also featured Johnny Winter.
In 1973 Johnson moved to Fort Worth to join Lou Ann Barton in her first band Rockola, which yielded an obscure release. In Fort Worth he found a home at Robert Ealey’s New Bluebird Nite Club. Johnson backed Robert Ealey for years, right up to Ealey’s passing in 2006. It was at the Blue Bird that Johnson met Freddie Cisneros, whom he dubbed with the nickname Little Jr. One Hand. Johnson and Freddie formed the infamous band The Blasting Caps, which still gets together for an annual Texas tour.
Johnson has been fortunate to share the stage with Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughn, Kim Wilson, Doyle Bramhall Sr., Omar Dykes, Cornell DuPree, Buddy Guy, BB King, Albert Collins, Sonny Landreth, Room Full of Blues and many others over the years.
Johnson played with Ray Sharpe, who is the penman of Linda Lou, and became part of Johnnie Red and the Roosters, which released In The Red Zone in 1996. He has been a staple in the Fort Worth blues scene as a journeyman bass player for many years, playing with Holland K. Smith, Dave Millsap, Buddy Whittington, Johnny Reno, and the list goes on. Along with his gospel-blues project with The Revelators, he also plays bass for Guthrie Kennard, Blind Dog Cooley, and co-hosts a weekly jam with Dallas blues great Hash Brown.
After battling years of serious addiction, destructive living and near fatal diseases, Johnson has emerged healed, delivered and redeemed by the power of God. Ordained in 2002, Cadillac has now begun a ministry focusing on youth and those who need encouragement while battling and overcoming areas he himself has dealt with.
Music and ministry remain the focus for Cadillac these days. He is often overheard telling folks, “The best is yet to come.” Those who know Johnson believe he is right.