Vanity Session was the result of a year-long residency Ross Johnson and Jeffrey Evans held at The Buccaneer club in Memphis, TN. The album was recorded on March 21, 2008, at Zebra Ranch Studio in North Mississippi by the legendary Jim Dickinson with the help of former Reigning Sound drummer, Greg Roberson.
Ross Johnson has been a staple of the Memphis music scene for more than three decades. He's probably best known for his ranting on Alex Chilton's seminal solo record, Like Flies On Sherbert (Ross is the Baron). Johnson was also the original drummer for The Panther Burns—although he missed the Behind The Magnolia Curtain sessions due to drunkenness. Now retired from his job as a librarian, Ross currently spends most days drinking, ranting, writing about music and playing drums (typically in that order). Like Don Ayler's trumpet playing, Ross is unrestrained—at a high volume, he'll tell you everything you wanted to know (and more) about Memphis music.
Jeffrey Evans came to Memphis in the mid '80s, following the path to Sun Records. A devotee of Charlie Feathers, Evans influenced many with his band The Gibson Bros. Alongside the late Jack Taylor, Evans fronted '68 Comeback throughout the '90s (and produced Tav Falco and The Panther Burns excellent return to form, Panther Phobia, in 2000). He currently fronts Jeffrey Evans and His Southern Aces.
Vanity Session features Ross and Jeff switching off on lead vocals; at their request, Jim Dickinson showed them how he performed "I've Had It" for Like Flies On Sherbert. Thankfully Evans recorded the song and it appears on the record. Backing Ross and Jeff are Greg Roberson (drums), John Paul Keith (guitar), Adam Woodward (piano and organ) and Jeremy Scott (bass).
Vanity Session is highly recommended for fans of Like Flies on Sherbert, the film Stranded in Canton, The Gibson Bros., and vanity records (because that's what it is).
A slice of Memphis history on wax...This is one of those records that really makes you think about Memphis, of course - just imagine being able to go out and see this on a weekly basis. Shit. Anyway, there's not much you can say about this except it makes you want to get really drunk. God bless America.
--RK, Terminal Boredom
...Vanity Session simply spills over with charm, sounding lecherous, intelligent and highly rockin’ all at once. It’s real rock ’n’ roll music, and it’s been too long since you last heard it.
--Mitch Cardwell, Maximum Rock n Roll