It was a Sunday afternoon at the Orange County Fair, I was working at the TARMtea booth when suddenly in a distance I could hear an amazing harmony of voices singing, "My Girl". I tried looking through the isle to get a glimpse of the talented voices but no singers were in sight. I heard the voices getting louder, it seemed like the melody was traveling closer to me. I looked to my left and saw a group of energetic individuals with an illuminating, charismatic notion walking in my direction. I knew I had to stop them, but wasn't sure if they had time to talk to me. I was certain they had to be someplace important. An urgency came over me and in a loud voice I called out to them complimenting their singing. I didn't know then, but Auigie August William Johnson with a great big smile responded and thanked me for acknowledging them. I mean how can anyone be indifferent to their collectively superb voices. He asked me what I was doing at the booth. I then introduced him to TARMtea. He was fascinated along with the rest of the group members who so graciously agreed to sing something for me. I asked to record them not knowing what they had in store for me. They began singing a jingle completely impromptu. As I heard the words, I realized they had created a jingle for my tea company. They incorporated some lyrics highlighting ~organic tea is a healthy beverage and added a pleasant ending of instructing everyone to get some. I was flattered, besides myself, and humbled that Mr. Auigie Johnson's group, the Side Effects created a jingle for TARMtea in a couple of minutes.
We exchanged hugs, a few more words, and off the group went doing what they did best. They went singing through the isles sprinkling everyone with their naturally God given talent.
TARMtea was devastated to learn about Mr. Augie's Johnson's death on October 11th. In the short time I interacted with Mr. Johnson I felt his dedication to music through his soulful vibrant unselfish demeanor. His willingness to lighten up my day by doing something special for me, a stranger.
TARMtea is undoubtably thankful to have been touched by Augie Johnson. We will truly miss his presence, his contribution to the music world.
Augie Johnson, was born in New Orleans, but moved to L.A. when he was five. He was the son of a musician. Mr. Johnson's musical career began at the age of six when he learned how to play the clarinet. At the young age of eight, he was playing in the American Legion Band. When he was ten, he toured with the Bob Mitchell's Boys/ Choir for four years. Augie also sang on "High Hopes" with Frank Sinatra. In junior high school he formed his first band, "The Jazztronauts." Augie went to Los Angeles City College, majored in music, and met Louis Patton.
In May of 1972 he formed a band called "Side Effect". With his leadership the original band consisting of Lomita Johnson, Jim Gilstrap, Gregory Matta, and Louis. Patton played in many Los Angeles area clubs and within a few months the group signed their first record deal with a company called Avenue of America-Gas Records with whom they recorded their first album. Later the band joined At-Home Productions, a production company headed by Wayne Henderson, The Crusaders. In 1975 the band had a new record deal with Fantasy Records. Side Effects third album, What You Need made it to #26 on the R&B charts. Two more albums Goin' Bananas, and Rainbow also was part of his vast musical career. Side Effect left Fantasy Records and was picked up by Elektra Records. After The Rain released in 1980.
They landed their biggest hit with “Is This The Beat (Bop Doo-Wah)” in 1981.
Mr. Johnson also made contributions working on albums of other artists such as Michael Jackson and Boz Scaggs, with whom he worked on hits like “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” and “Lowdown.”
Augie Johnson was a true musician, he will be missed.