[I originally posted this back in 2012; I'm re-posting it now because a) the original music links have disappeared (and I recently found a superior version of the Hi-Beams track) and b) in the interim I was lucky enough to write the liner notes for a CD reissue of one of Mark's albums that as far as I know is still scheduled to come out sometime soon on Light in the Attic Records (the great label that gave us those Rodriguez discs, among others.) Enjoy. -- S.S.]
Okay, I mentioned this guy and this CD a couple of weeks ago, but I've finally got a copy and...words fail me.
In any case, here's a representative track -- the quite astonishing "That's What I Want." Sounding pretty much exactly like it would have if, like moi, you'd been lucky enough to catch a late 70s/early 80s live performance by genuine power pop underground legend Mark Johnson (doing business with The Wild Alligators) at Kenny's Castaways (which is where and approximately when the album cover was photographed, BTW.)
A postcript: These guys were -- and remain -- the single most exciting never-signed band I ever saw. Drummer Don Costagno was a monster groove player, guitarist Drew Zing was good enough to later join Steely Dan, Johnson himself was a riveting front man, and the bass guy (on the right in the photo) -- well, I thought he sucked, but that was mostly because I was desperately trying to figure out how to weasel my way into the band, which never happened. I've forgiven Mark for that lapse in judgement, obviously, if for no other reason than I wouldn't otherwise have been motivated to join The Floor Models.
I should also add that I caught MJ & TWA countless times back in the day, and they never failed to induce goose bumps; you can't imagine how many great songs they had, and most of them are on the CD. Unfortunately, it seems to be out of print at the moment, but you should head over to Amazon and order a copy of Mark's home studio masterpiece 12 in a Room over here.
I should also add that the aforementioned Floor Models (Mark II, better known as Gerry Devine and the Hi-Beams, featuring a bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels) were one of the many Greenwich Village artists who used to cover the above song; here we are, on the radio in Woodstock, with a pretty snazzy live version of it.