Who is the man
Who would risk his neck for his brother man?
Who’s the cat who won’t cop out
When there’s danger all about?
He’s a complicated man
And no one understands him like his woman
You say this cat Spade is a mean mother
Shut ya mout’!
I’m talkin’ ’bout Spade!
Then we can dig it!!!

Although the characters are nearly 40 years old and the vernacular is a little old school, Richard Spade’s mojo over the chicks, hustlers, militants and most of all the man still holds up.

While this obscure collection of six novels never rose to the same level of urban prominence as Donald Goines or Ice Slim’s, one thing for sure is that if you can get your hands on one of these B.B. Johnson works it will transport you to a time and place where cats like Spade were superfly. Spade is not technically a private eye, but this cat could give John Shaft a run for his money. Can you dig it?

B B JohnsonEach of these six men’s adventure paperback originals are billed as “a tough novel by B. B. Johnson,” which we’re told is “a pseudonym for one of Hollywood’s most talented and creative Black personalities.”  His novels were resonant with black power relevance and full of typical “out there” plots for the time, such as Mother of the Year, which features Spade protecting a Black beauty queen marked for death by a group of militant Black feminists.

Richard Abraham Spade
A.K.A. “Superspade”
Created by B. B. Johnson

Superspade 2Sexy like Shaft. A player like The Mack. A man with a plan like SuperFly. Richard A. Spade is a man of many faces. RICHARD ABRAHAM SPADE, is a strapping 240-pound fellow who went from the ghetto to UCLA. He made All American as an offensive tackle, acquiring the interesting nickname of Superspade in the process.

He was headed for pro-football fame, but was sidetracked by two years in Vietnam. Returning stateside, forty-three pounds lighter, a lieutenant with a Silver Star and a Purple Heart; he wasted no time turning his attention back to pro-ball. His career was ultimately cut short by a serious injury.

At the start of his first case, he was 33 years old and had been working at Greene College in Santa Barbara for three years as a Black studies lecturer and part-time football coach. He was also pursuing his masters in political science. This was the calm before the storm.


Death Of A Blue-Eyed Soul Brother – 1970

Death Of A Blue-Eyed Soul Brother
Richard Abraham Spade was finished with pro football but the action in his life was just beginning. Spade took a job with a small college as a lecturer and part time coach, in search of a quiet life.But no such luck. His best friend, a dedicated politician, was assassinated and Spade was in the middle of a deadly blitz of bullets, broads and burning revolution – scrambling to save his beautiful black skin from being sliced up and served cold.

Black Is Beautiful – 1970

Black Is Beautiful
Richard Abraham Spade – Superspade – was beginning to have his doubts about militants. He had seen for himself how the Black Jaguars handled renegade brothers. It was the most brutal ritual he had ever witnessed.He had seen how the Jaguars had sprung their brilliant leader, Ridge Hatchett, author of Hell on Fire, from Death Row. And he knows about their master plan for revolution.

That’s Where The Cat’s At, Baby – 1970

That's Where The Cat's At, Baby
When Richard Spade’s daddy asks him to help Black Sam Lake get re-elected Mayor of York, it comes as a complete surprise. For one thing, Spade’s old man is a firm believer in keeping his mouth shut and his Black butt clear of trouble. And for another, Sam Lake is a young Uncle Tom and worse, a political opportunist using his own people to make Mr. Charlie rich and fat. York is a corrupt town torn by Black dissidents. Anybody who starts nosing around might be fair game for a bullet from some angry brothers or an air conditioned throat for the crime syndicate. But when the push comes to shove, Superspade, knows he has to help the folks down home – even if it means finding himself six feet under.

Mother Of The Year – 1970

Mother Of The Year
Beautiful Black movie star Pussy Willow announces her choice of the ten greatest Americans and instantly seals her assassination contract. Every man on her list is white! And every Black militant in the country is waiting for the chance to make her an example for the soul sisters who scorn their Black brothers. But Superspade wants her alive. Only two things stand in his way: a vendetta of Black militant woman out to kill Pussy and Spade. And Pussy’s own widowed mother, who’s hated every Black man in her life, including Superspade. Can Superspade keep Pussy from dying at the box office…and everywhere else?

Bad Day For A Black Brother – 1970

Bad Day For A Black Brother
At 23, world heavyweight champion Rocky Wilson is in heavy trouble. His big mouth has blasted the liberal White establishment – while he put down his militant Black brothers. Now he’s got to defend his title against as Australian challenger, and the odds are he’ll never get out of the ring alive. The Aussie isn’t so tough. But an assassin’s high powered rifle will be trained on Rocky during the fight. If the champ won’t go down in the eight, he’s out permanently. Richard Spade signs on to save Rocky and is immediately on the front lines of a deadly political battle. Rocky is draft bait and a Black hero. The poetry spouting champ is strictly antiwar, but just how far he’ll go in this denunciation of the system is a matter of supreme importance to a lot of V.I.P.’s. As Superspade digs deeper into the radical underground surrounding Rocky, he becomes convinced that if one assassin’s bullet doesn’t cool the champ, another’s will.

Blues For A Black Sister – 1971

Blues For A Black Sister
“Tell him I could love you less, if he would only love me more,” wailed Billie Monday, beautiful Black lead singer of the The Superiors, and the crowd went crazy. Billie and her group were riding high, enjoying all the rewards the record industry lavishes on its superstars.

But Billie isn’t on top when her old friend Richard Spade comes to see her. She’s in the hospital, dying of a heavy drug habit. Her death plunges Superspade into a frantic world where a million copy seller and a heroin overdose are sides 1 and 2 of the same record.

These novels are a part of The Museum of UnCut Funk Collection.


  • Pat
    June 26, 2012

    Interesting but if B B Johnson is a pseudonym who actually is the author?

  • April 5, 2017

    “B.B. Johnson” was Joe Greene, who wrote a lot of R&B songs in the 1960s and ’70s, particularly for Billy Preston. He also wrote the screenplay for TOGETHER BROTHERS, the first draft screenplay of SHAFT’S BIG SCORE, and did uncredited rewrites on Christopher St. John’s film TOP OF THE HEAP. He also wrote the novels “The Golden Platter” (about the music industry) and “House of Pleasure.”

  • Mark Taha
    February 1, 2022

    Read and enjoyed first five. Spade’s.age.and background.didn’t seem to fit in with reality but that’s another matter. Friend in first book obviously based on Bobby Kennedy Ridge Hatchet Eldridge Cleaver, Rocky Wilson Muhammad Ali – were any of the others based on real people?

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