Front Page

The Best Tracks in 2013

CD Shop

Book Store

Search Content/Artists

New Releases

Forthcoming Releases

Back Issues

Serious Soul Chart

Quality Time Cream Cuts

Vintage Soul Top 20

Boogie Tunes Top 20

Album of the Month

CD Reviews

Editorial Columns

Discographies

Readers' Favourites

Top 20 most visited pages

Links








DEEP # 4/2015 (June)

 Two first albums on my radar this month come from different fields in our genre, but they both are fascinating records in their own way.  Billy Price and Otis Clay have released a joint CD based on traditional soul music, and “The Prince of Sophisticated Soul”, Will Downing, keeps on coming up with elegant, slightly jazzy gems.  I talked to all three gentlemen above.

  Our old friend, Abraham Wilson, hasn’t been idle, either, and at the end of the column you can still find reviews of Detroit-related material, one retro CD compilation and Mickey Stevenson’s new book... plus a review of a spectacular DVD on the leading musicians in the West Coast Sound.

Content and quick links:

Interviews:
Billy Price & Otis Clay
Will Downing

New CD release reviews:
Billy Price & Otis Clay: This Time for Real
Will Downing: Chocolate Drop
Abraham "Smooth" Wilson: Love II (Best of)

CD reissue & compilation review:
Various Artists: Pied Piper: Follow Your Soul

Book review:
William “Mickey” Stevenson: The A&R Man

DVD review:
The Wrecking Crew






BILLY PRICE & OTIS CLAY*

  Billy and Otis go a long way back.  They first met in 1982, and since then Otis has visited two times on Billy’s records – on That’s How It Is on The Soul Collection in 1997 and Love and Happiness on Night Work in 2009.  You can read my feature on Billy from sixteen years back right after the release of his CD with Swamp Dogg called Can I Change My Mind at http://www.soulexpress.net/billyprice.htm.  My previous interview with Otis was conducted two years ago in conjunction with release of his CD, Truth Is, at http://www.soulexpress.net/deep2_2013.htm#otisclay.

  Billy Price: “We’ve performed together with Otis maybe 15 or 20 times over the years.  I had an album called The Soul Collection and I was planning to do The Soul Collection 2 as my next recording.  I had been keeping a list of songs that I wanted to cover and sing on The Soul Collection Two.”

  “Around that time Otis was performing on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise... people going to Caribbean or somewhere (http://bluescruise.com). He came back from the cruise and called me and said ‘there must have been ten people that said to me during the cruise that you and Billy Price have to do an album’.  I loved the idea and told him a little bit about my Soul Collection and said that we should do something together for this.  He liked the idea.”

  “Then maybe two or three weeks later I got a call from Jack Gauthier, who manages Duke Robillard.  Duke was the lead guitar player and singer with Roomful of Blues, and then he went on his own.  Jack and I had worked on a couple of other projects.  Jack is an engineer at Lakewest Recording Studios, and he said ‘Duke and I are looking for projects to work on and Duke would love to produce you’.  I asked if Duke would be interested in producing me and Otis Clay, and of course he was, so at that point we put everything together.”

  The tracks were cut in one studio and vocals in another.  Billy: “I went to Rhode Island, where Duke is located and where Jack’s Lakewest studio is, and I worked with Duke and his band.”  The line-up of the rhythm section on the CD is Duke on guitar, Mark Teixiera on drums and percussion, Brad Hallen on bass and Bruce Bears on keyboards.  Billy: “Duke still augmented his band with two members of the current version of Roomful Blues, the horn section” – Mark Earley on sax and Doug Woolverton on trumpet.

  Billy: “We did the rhythm tracks in Rhode Island, and then Duke, I and Jack went to Chicago, where we did the final vocals with me and Otis and Otis’ background singers at the Delmark Studios called Riverside.”  Theresa Davis, Dianne Madison and Diana Simon are the background vocalists.  Otis Clay: “It’s a good studio, because a lot of the equipment in the Delmark studio came out of Paul Serrano’s studio, and I did a lot of recording at P.S., so I’m well familiar with the equipment.”  Paul is a jazz trumpeter, who passed away in January this year at the age of 82.  He built his P.S. Recording Studio in Chicago in 1966.

SOMEBODY’S CHANGING MY SWEET BABY’S MIND

  Billy’s and Otis’ CD is titled This Time For Real (VizzTone/Bonedog Records, BDRCD-46) and it features eleven soul songs from the 60s and 70s, plus one pop song from the 80s.  Liner notes were written by Jerry Zolten.

  The opener is a rolling mid-tempo interpretation of Somebody’s Changing My Sweet Baby’s Mind, with a penetrating tenor sax solo in the middle.  The song was written by Barry Despenza, Willie Henderson and Gary Jackson, and the very same Barry Despenza - one of ABC’s A&R men those days - had earlier co-written with Carl Wolfolk Can I Change My Mind, Tyrone Davis’ gold record in 1968.  The legend goes that also this new Changing song was intended for Tyrone, but he turned it down and that’s why it was given to Johnny Sayles in 1969 (Dakar 607).  However, in my interview with Tyrone in 1995 he said “it should have been my song.  Carl and Barry didn’t want me to have the song for some reason.  To be honest with you, when I did my last album, I started doing that song.”

  Billy: “I think it’s a great song to open up with.  It’s real Chicago soul sound.  I’m a big Tyrone Davis fan, and of course Tyrone and Otis went way back.  There’s also a version by Little Milton that has different lyrics” (Checker 1231 in 1970).


I’M AFRAID OF LOSING YOU

  Billy: “I picked most of the songs.  The only one Otis suggested was I’m Afraid of Losing You by Quiet Elegance (Hi 2223 in 1972).  The song is written by a good friend of Otis, Darryl Carter.”    Otis: “I’ve always loved the song, and I’ve always wanted to do it, but I just never got around doing it.  In fact, Bobby Womack played the original guitar on there.  He just came by the studio that day.  I always said ‘Darryl, I want to do that song’, and now we finally did it.”

  The funky Going to the Shack first appeared on Syl Johnson’s Twinight (118) single in 1969 (www.soulexpress.net/syljohnson_discography.htm).  Billy: “I love those very early Syl Johnson recordings on Twilight and Twinight and that was one of those.  It’s not a song that a lot of people know.  It’s got a great groove and – although we love to take tempo down – we had to find uptempo songs to balance the ballads.”

  A mellow and memorable mid-tempo song named All Because of Your Love was written by George Jackson and Raymond Moore and Otis Clay’s original take on it reached # 44 on Billboard’s “Hot Soul Singles” charts.  Recorded in Florida and based on George Jackson’s demo, it was released on Kayvette (5130).  Otis: “We recorded that song in 1977.  George was a dear friend, a good friend of mine, and he’s such a great writer.  He and I, we recorded a lot of records together on Hi Records and then later for my label, Echo.”

  Love Don’t Love Nobody, a poignant “heartbreak” song was written by Charles Simmons and Joseph Jefferson and recorded first by the Spinners in 1974 on Atlantic.  Billy: “It’s one of my all-time favourites and I really love Philippé Wynne as a singer.  He was one of the biggest influences on me and my singing.  Otis had recorded this song on one of his live albums (Soul Man – Live in Japan in 1984).  I remember Otis and I talking about how much we loved that song, so when we decided to do this it immediately occurred to me that we should do Love Don’t Love Nobody.”

I’LL NEVER DO YOU WRONG

  In 1968 Joe Tex delighted us with I’ll Never Do You Wrong (Dial 4076), an interesting mixture of humour in text and great soul balladry in music.  Otis: “I’ve always loved the song.  I would do it in a medley in my show for years.  Joe Tex was one of the greatest entertainers you would ever meet.  He would make you laugh, cry and sometimes both at the same time” (laughing).

  A haunting number called Don’t Leave Me Starving for Your Love was written and released by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier in 1972 on Invictus.  Billy: “That’s the only song I sing by myself.”

  The second funky number on the set, Broadway Walk, was recorded by Bobby Womack in 1967 (Minit 32030) at the American Sound Studios under Chip Moman’s production.  Billy: Darryl Carter is one of the co-writers of Broadway Walk.  Darryl worked quite a lot with Bobby Womack.  He co-wrote Woman’s Gotta Have It.”  Otis: “Bobby came out of the gospel, the Womack Brothers.  We all go back to those days.  Bobby was one of those gospel singers that always had a lot of range – a great singer, a great guitar player.”  Darryl Carter is still active and only recently he released a new solo CD entitled And Then I Wrote.


In the picture (L to R): Heikki Suosalo, Otis Clay, Pekka Talvenmäki, photo taken in 1990

BOOK OF MEMORIES

  Recorded in 1967 by Percy Wiggins (Atco 6479), Randy Evretts’ beautiful and poignant ballad named Book of Memories was gracefully covered by Clyde McPhatter in 1970 (Decca 32719), and now Billy and Otis make another plain and touching revisit.  Billy: “I think Duke and his piano player play really beautiful solos on that one.”

  A mid-tempo beater titled Too Many Hands is another song that Otis originally recorded.  Billy: “I wanted to do a couple of Otis’ songs and that was one that I had been singing for years.”  Otis: “It was the B-side in 1972, written by Teenie Hodges.  It was always one of those songs that you always thought that didn’t get all the exposure that it could get.  Folks didn’t get a chance to hear it.”  Too Many Hands was the B-side to Precious Precious on Hi 2214 and it also appeared on Otis’ Hi album, Trying to Live My Life without You, in 1972.

  The American Chicano Los Lobos recorded a gentle and pretty ballad called Tears of God in 1987.  Billy: “My significant other, my girlfriend suggested that.  I played it for Otis and he said ‘mmm, maybe...’, and we went ahead and did it.  I had a chance to sing with Los Lobos at a festival here.”

  The closing song, You Got Me Hummin’, was one of Sam & Dave’s energetic hits in 1966 (Stax 204).  Billy: “We really open up our voices on that one.”  Otis: “It’s funny, because that was always one of Johnny Sayles’ favourite songs.  He’d always do that song.”

  We know that Otis’ favourite song on this album is I’m Afraid of Losing You, and Billy names Love Don’t Love Nobody, Don’t Leave Me Starving for Your Love and Somebody’s Changing My Sweet Baby’s Mind as his favourites.  Billy: “The one that’s playing on the radio here more than any other one is All Because of Your Love.”

  Billy: “This CD came out May 19th, and in May we went # 11 on the Living Blues Radio Charts.  The critical acclaim has been tremendous, really great write-ups.  We’re very gratified.  We’re also talking about some dates here in the U.S. in September and October, and we’d like to get to Europe sometime during the festival season next year.”

  This is actually the second duet album for Otis in a row after Soul Brothers together with Johnny Rawls late last year.  Otis: “I think I would have my next solo CD before the year is out.  I’m going over the material on that now.  It’ll be secular.” 

(www.billyprice.com and http://otisclay.net; interviews conducted on June 16 and 17, 2015).


WILL DOWNING*

  Chocolate Drops is an apt title for Will Downing’s 18th studio album.  Will Downing: “I have a very dark complexion and when women hear me sing they say ‘it’s like dark chocolate, it melts in your mouth’.  They say the music does that to them.  I don’t understand it, I just go with it” (laughing).


  Will’s very first solo album, the self-titled Will Downing was released 27 years ago (www.soulexpress.net/willdowning_discography.htm ), but this native of Brooklyn, New York, had made a reputation for himself as a sought-after session singer already in the mid-1980s.  “I’ve done projects prior to my first album, but under different names.  I used to work with a producer named Arthur Baker.  He had his own label, and we would put out all these 12-inch records under assumed name, like we had a record out under the name Wally Jump Jr & the Criminal Element.  I was the lead vocalist for that group.”  Wally aka Wilfred Downing had such releases as Tighten Up (I Just Can’t Stop Dancin’), Private Party, Jump Back and Turn Me Loose between 1986 and ’88, and still in the 90s they released an 11-track Best Of CD.

  “Then we had another group called R.T. & the Rockmen Unlimited, and I was the lead vocalist for that.”  Their single, (I Want to Go to) Chicago, evolved even into a small hit in 1986.  “There was a movie called The Goonies (in 1985), and they put a soundtrack out.  Arthur had a song on the soundtrack, and we made a group called The Goon Squad.  I probably had about six or seven singles out under different names before I put out my first solo record.”  The song on the soundtrack was called Eight Arms to Hold You, and – needless to say – all those tracks above feature fast-tempo, post-disco house music.

IT’S REAL

  Chocolate Drops is for the most part produced by Will and Chris “Big Dog” Davis.  “We’ve been working together probably on the last five records.”  Customarily, Will uses a live rhythm section, but real drums are used only on five tracks out of nine.  “The radio scene here is very machine-driven and orientated.  If you don’t have something similar that’s already been played on the radio, you’re not going to be played.  It’s just something you have to conform to.  I would have loved to have live drums on the whole album, but at the same time it’s a business and I have to compete with anything else that’s out there.”

  Will uses different methods in cutting a song in the studio.  “I’ve done it every way on this record.  Saving All My Love for You – we cut all that at one time.  On some other songs, like I use to say, we frankensteined it together.  We did the basic track first, then cut the vocals and then put live instruments on top of it.  There’s no pattern to the way I did the record, but it sounds – at least I hope it sounds – like one take.”

  There are two songs that were co-written and produced by Shedrick MitchellRun Away/Fall in Love is a mellow, atmospheric downtempo number, even slightly jazzy, while It’s Real is a tender, late-night love song.  “This is the first time I’m working with Shedrick.  He’s an excellent writer, producer and piano player.  We actually have a mutual friend, who’s been trying to get us together for years.  Unfortunately our mutual friend passed away, and the first time we met was at his funeral.”


DOES YOUR MOMMA KNOW ABOUT ME

  There are three familiar songs from the past, and – as always – Will renders these covers in his distinguished, intimate and sophisticated style.  Atlantic Starr recorded a pretty serenade named Let’s Get Closer in 1982.  “I did that for a strange reason.  One of the guys in my band, Mike Ham, played the saxophone solo on that song.  He just came up to me one day and said ‘I’ve always heard you singing this song’, so we just did it based on that.”

  Saving All My Love for You was originally recorded by Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. in 1978, but it was immortalized by Whitney Houston seven years later.  “One day we went to a sound-check before a concert and Chris Davis just started playing it while we were warming up, and everybody in the band joined.  It sounded so good that we went in the next week and cut it.”

  Will comes up with a very slow and refined version of Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers ’68 hit, Does Your Momma Know About Me.  “It’s a song that I’ve always loved.  Actually Phil Perry and I have been competing as to who’s going to record it first.  We’ve always talked about it – it’s a great song, a great melody and a great subject matter.  I guess I beat him to it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you heard him doing his version of it on his next album.”


THIS SONG IS FOR YOU

  Will and Chris Davis not only produced but also wrote together the first three songs on the CD.  Till U Come Back is a melancholy, slow song, whereas there’s a livelier mid-tempo groove on Never Say No to You.  “That was the first single, and maybe as a follow-up we’ll go with This Song is for you.  It’s a song that people seem to be gravitating to.  The meaning behind that one is that you find a lot of people here in the world that are lonely.  One thing about social media is that it gives you a false glimpse at everything.  You appear to be more popular than you are.  When you go home, you may be alone, you may be having rough time at work, you may be a single parent.  I wrote that song to say that this song here is for you.”  Besides this gentle mid-pacer, which indeed has hit potential, there’s still Deep as the Ocean, another light mid-tempo song, on which Regina Carter plays a beautiful violin solo.

  Unfortunately there are no overseas concert plans for Will in the near future.  “In the summertime here they have a lot of festivals and you don’t get that much time on stage, you may get 45-60 minutes.  I have 18 records out, so we do the best of the best, what people want to hear, and a lot of times we don’t have time to introduce new music.  We’ve introduced some of the new songs only in one concert.  Basically people want to hear my hits over here like I Try, A Million Ways, Wishing on a Star, I Go Crazy and Send for Me.  When I come overseas, there’ll be a whole other playlist.  Overseas people like A Love Supreme, In My Dreams... some of the older stuff.”

  “Normally on stage I have seven persons: bass, drums, keyboard, guitar, the background singers and myself.  The promoters overseas want me to come over and do a concert, but they don’t want me to bring my band.  They want me to play with a band wherever I’m going, and you have to see the show to understand that it’s not that easy.  It’s a little more complex than ‘okay guys, learn these songs, I’m coming over and we’re going to go over these songs tomorrow’.”


FAVOURITES

  When asked about personal favourites among own recordings, Will not only goes many years back to the very beginning, but also values his recent output.  “I was really satisfied with the very first record, Will Downing (1988).  It was a little bit of everything – jazz, house, ballads...  Also A Dream Fulfilled (1991) was a huge record, and one of my favourite records; and Euphoria (2014), the record before this one, and now this new one.”

  Will’s biggest musical influences include Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Al Jarreau, and he names some credible newcomers, too.  “Jazmine Sullivan has a couple of records out and I love her voice.  There’s a guy named Devon Howard, and he has almost a Michael Jackson kind of sound.  One vocalist that sings with me, a young lady named Carol Riddick, has a solo record out (Love Phases), which I really love.  She’s an incredible vocalist.”

  Chocolate Drops has been on the market for about three months now.  “So far, so good.  The music industry is very strange now.  People aren’t buying anything.  But what the market is, it’s been well received.  As a whole I’m excited about the record.  I’m happy with the performances on there, and I honestly think that this is one of my best.  I always go back and forth between kind of contemporary jazz, with a little hint of traditional jazz, and r&b.  The last album before this one was more jazz than soul.  This is definitely more r&b based record and I’m happy with the way it came out.”  (www.willdowning.com; interview conducted on June 23, 2015; acknowledgements to Ashley Scott).


ABRAHAM WILSON

  Abraham: “Love II is a Best of collection of 30 songs composed by Abraham Wilson, Teddie Morrow and Ralph Terrana.”  Comprising of 18 songs and 12 musical interludes, most of the material derives from Abe’s three previous CDs – Smooth, The Many Facets of...Abraham and Love – and you can read his comments on many of those songs at http://www.soulexpress.net/deep1_2014.htm#abraham.  Abe: “I felt then and now that the original recordings of OO Baby, A Moment in Time, Say Say, Mr. D.J. and I’ve Been Waiting fit perfectly with songs like You, That’s All I Need, Let Me Wake up with You, Lady and See You in Heaven.”

  Indeed, many of Abe’s beautiful ballads are on display here, including his biggest hits so far, You and See You in Heaven.  The latter is a touching tribute to many artists that have gone on, but now Abe has written new lyrics to it.  The sacred and gentle feel, however, still hovers over the song.

  Besides the re-written See You in Heaven, there are four new tracks on Love II HitsLively Up Interlude is jazzy, whereas Can’t Stop Loving You is a nice ballad as such, but the rather primitive keyboard playing mixed too much to the front distracts you.  Also for a funky track like Lovermatic the background is too sparse and there’s not enough power, but on a shuffle called Love Signs the rolling style of playing and solos work very well.

  The official release date for Love II Hits is August the 15th, and one place to purchase the CD is awilsonmusic@aol.com, and U.S. customers can call toll free: 1-800-953-3822.  Abe: “The intent of Love II is to give the listener 80 minutes of love theme music.”


Russell Thompkins' (The Stylistics lead singer) greetings to Abraham "Smooth" Wilson



COMP-ART-ment

PIED PIPERS IN DETROIT

  As a continuation of their Pied Piper series, Ace/Kent Records have released Pied Piper: Follow Your Soul (CDKEND 429; www.acerecords.com; 24 tracks, 59 min.), which includes 12 tracks that were not released at the time.  There are illustrative annotations on all tracks by Ady Croasdell.  The recording years were 1965 – ’67, and among the 14 artists on the set there are five ladies, who sing on as many as ten tracks.  One notable figure still is the co-owner of Pied Piper Productions, Jack Ashford, who not only produced but co-wrote eleven songs on display here.

  The rather thin-voiced Tony Hester delivers a hooky ditty called Watch Yourself, and he wrote for Harry Gates a mellow floater titled Love Will Find a Way.  Here I’d like to correct one inaccuracy concerning Hester’s later interpreters, the Dramatics.  They never used the name Dynamics.  When writing the Dramatics story, I checked this with Ron Banks twice, and the mix-up is explained in detail in the first part of that story.  Also, one other legend that still seems to live on: a single called Toy Soldier in 1963 is not our Dramatics.  Ron confirmed also this one (www.soulexpress.net/dramatics_discography.htm).

  Three Funk Brothers – Joe Hunter, Bob Babbit and Eddie Willis – are involved in writing a mellow mid-pacer titled They Say I’m Afraid (of Losing You) for Freddy Butler, whereas Freddy’s other track, Give Me Lots of Lovin’ is a melodic uptempo number.  Actually the only real ballad on this compilation is the dramatic Lost without You by Lorraine Chandler.  Also her other track, You Only Live Twice, is more uptempo, a Bond movie type of a dramatic number.

  There are two well-known groups among the artists here, and one is my big favourite, the Hesitations.  Both of their dancers, That’s What Love Is and Wait a Minute, appeared on their debut album, Soul Superman, but the vocalist on the latter one is not Art Blakey, their regular lead those days.  The Metros keep up the pace on It’s Right Now and the melodic and hilarious You Don’t Know Me Do You, co-written by Larry Banks.

  The rest of the artists on this set are September Jones, Nancy Wilcox, Sharon Scott, the Cavaliers, the Pied Piper Players (on two instrumentals), Mikki Farrow and the high-voiced and soulful Sam E Solo.


BLACK BOOKCASE

MICKEY STEVENSON

  They called him “Il Duce” at Motown and especially ladies disliked him because of his strict rules and discipline.  Later his work was recognized and applauded.  In his autobiography, The A&R Man (ISBN 069236634, 254 pages; no photos, no index) William “Mickey” Stevenson uses a language like talking to a friend.  It’s not very literary text, but once you get used to it, it’s very easy to read.  The text was transcribed by his daughter, Ashley Stevenson, from William’s handwritten manuscripts.

  Prior to accepting Berry Gordy’s offer to take the position of the head of the A&R department in 1959, Mickey tells about his early adventures in the world of music – how he sang duet with Clarence Paul in the 50s, worked as a booker for black artists, how he was a member in groups like the Stevenson Trio, the Meadow Larks and the Hamptones and how he worked with a gospel label called HOB.

  He openly expresses his opinions – some negative - about Marv Johnson, Martha Reeves, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokie Robinson, Diana Ross, Mary Wells...  He worked as a conductor in the Motown Review and put the Funk Brothers together, and he even devotes a separate chapter to five of them – Benny Benjamin, James Jamerson, Earl Van Dyke, Bongo Eddie Brown and Jack Ashford. 

  There are interesting stories about Barney Ales and his methods of collecting money from non-paying distributors, problems with Mary Wells’ husband, Herman Griffin, meeting with the notorious Morris Levy, quality control meetings at Motown, payola and generally about A&R work.

  Mickey resigned voluntarily because of Eddie Holland’s ambitions, I believe, in 1967; Mickey doesn’t write out years much.  After that he ran his own label, Venture, for a while, produced the Righteous Brothers (Souled out in 1967) and even recorded his first solo album, Here I Am (in 1972).  Mickey writes openly about his lady friends, including Melanie Burke – Solomon’s daughter – and, of course, his long-time girlfriend, Kim Weston, whom he finally married in 1967 (I believe), although soon after that Kim left with a younger guy (which, of course, failed).  Since then Mickey has been successfully involved in film scores, TV production and musical plays.  I believe Mickey is today 78 years old and seems to be quite happy. 


MOVING MUSIC

THE WRECKING CREW *

  In recent years we’ve been able to enjoy documentaries on unsung heroes, who often are the real force behind the spotlight stars, such as the Funk Brothers in Standing in the Shadows of Motown, the Swampers in Muscle Shoals and numerous background vocalists in 20 Feet from Stardom.  Now we can include one more such document on L.A. session musicians, who played on thousands of records from the late 50s till the early 70s.  Again there’s one common feature – almost all of them came from jazz.

  The Wrecking Crew (Magnolia Home Entertainment 10854; www.magpictures.com/thewreckingcrew) tells about L.A. session musicians, who these days are known as the Wrecking Crew, because they were not clean-cut musicians dressed in suits and wearing ties.  Instead they dressed very casually and they smoked in the studio... in other words “they’re gonna wreck the business.”  Denny Tedesco wanted to tell this story mostly because his father, the guitarist Tommy Tedesco, was a member of that loose entity.  The documentary brings up twenty rhythm section names out of the many dozens that played in L.A. studios those days: Tommy Tedesco, Earl Palmer, Hal Blaine, Leon Russell, Don Peake, Al Casey, Mike Melvoin, Ray Pohlman, Barney Kessel, Lou Morrell, Billy Strange, Howard Roberts, Lyle Ritz, Don Randi, Jimmy Bond, Dennis Budimir, Joe Osborn, Carol Kaye, Jim Gordon and Bill Pittman.  Seven of them have passed.

  More 60s pop than black music, the film focuses on the Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Tommy Tedesco (guitar), Carol Kaye (bass), Hal Blaine (drums), Plas Johnson (horns) and Glen Campbell (guitar and vocals).  There are comments from Brian Wilson, Dick Clark, Cher, Herb Albert, Nancy Sinatra, Jimmy Webb, Frank Zappa and many, many others.  Music clips are quite short, but you can catch a glimpse of the Righteous Brothers, the Ronettes, Sonny & Cher, Association, the Byrds, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, the Mamas & the Papas, among others.

  The most spectacular thing in this DVD is that it’s a two-disc set.  The running time of the main movie is 102 minutes, but the special features, the bonuses amount up to about 6 hours and 20 minutes!  Let me repeat that: 6 hours 20 minutes.  So we have here an 8-hour package.  Among bonuses you can find real goodies.  Barry McGuire tells about his original cut of California Dreamin’ and the making of Eve of Destruction, Bill Medley explains how You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ came about and Billy Davis, Jr. and Marilyn McCoo talk about the 5th Dimension’s hits, Up-Up and Away and Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.  There’s also a special feature titled “Musician Jokes.”

  Over forty musicians, artists, producers, arrangers and engineers talk about their life, their music, their methods and often come up with intriguing stories.  Some of those that are featured include Glen Campbell, Jackie DeShannon, Dean of Jan & Dean, Jerry Fuller, Petula Clark, Hal Blaine, Steve Barri, Snuff Garrett and H.B. Barnum.  Gold Star studios are also discussed.  If you like 60s West Coast pop sound, this DVD is something you simply can’t ignore.

© Heikki Suosalo







Back to Deep Soul Main Page
Back to our home page