Al Johnson is a living NOLA legend, a real old fashioned gentlemen, and a fun guy to this day. Katrina hurt Al, like many business dealings have, but he’s a born optimist and a real booster of the Crescent City.  I know Al, he’s a fairly quiet, handsome guy with a magnetic smile.


Al Johnson

Al Johnson



click for larger imageAlvin Lee Johnson is better known to everyone in New Orleans as Al “Carnival Time” Johnson. His famous song, “Carnival Time,” dates back to February 1960. The original recording was done at Cosimo Matassa’s recording studio by record producer Joe Ruffino on the Ric Label. There have been numerous releases of “Carnival Time” on compilation albums, cassettes, and CD’s over the last forty years. “Carnival Time” has made it to the Mellennium, now with the sole rights belonging to Al Johnson. Al fought to obtain the legal rights to his wonderfully famous song, but the song did not make him wealthy. With his good spirits and humble attitude, Al Johnson is eager to write and produce new songs. Al Johnson is now in the forefront awaiting his reowned popularity.

“Carnival Time” was an inspiration to Al Johnson from fellow musicians such as Professor Longhair’s “Go To The Mardi Gras,” and Lou Welch’s “Mardi Gras Mambo.” Al Johnson wanted a song the locals of New Orleans could relate to on Mardi Gras Day. With lyrics “the Green Room is smoking” and “the Plaza’s burning down,” were real places the locals knew about. Almost everyone in New Orleans at one time has referred to Mardi Gras as “Carnival Day.”

click for larger image“Carnival Time” is definitely a song that when it hits the air waves, one can hardly resist the real Mardi Gras groove. “Carnival Time” with its intoxicating rhythm and its fun to sing lyrics has always been a big musical hit in New Orleans since its release in 1960. Before, during and after Al Johnson’s legal battles for his song “Carnival Time,” the song continued to be performed and enjoyed by its listeners every Mardi Gras/ Carnival Time season.

click for larger imageAl Johnson has released his own CD single with the original version of “Carnival Time” and newly recorded “Mardi Gras Strut.” “Mardi Gras Strut” offers the listener a tune to “get down and strut.” Special assistance from Earline Hutchison helped Al Johnson to obtain that sound he was searching for in this newly recorded CD single. “Mardi Gras Strut” not only presents a good groove but also gives the listeners identifiable lyrics which is at the heart of Al Johnson’s writing. Al Johnson’s love for his city and the Mardi Gras season is definitely recognized in “Carnival Time” and “Mardi Gras Strut.”


Listen to Carnival Time