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David Brinston

From Soul Express 1/1996

David's CD, Hit And Run (Jomar Rec.), was one of the more pleasant surprises of the year 1995, with really not a single dud on it. The CD offers basic and solid, rootsy soul that leaves you with a cosy after-glow. It really doesn't matter that almost every melody rings a bell as long as you have as simply and tastefully done and no-nonsense arrangements and impressive singing as here. David's high-pitched tenor somewhat reminds me of Ollie Nightingale, but there are also shades of other masters like Johnnie Taylor, Freddie Hughes and Robert Tillman to it.

First I talked to Mr. Paul Mattila, the owner of the label, whose origin of family comes from Finland, one of the most fertile soils for soul personalities, and he told me about his two-year-old Memphis group of labels consisting of Jomar, Mattila and Labro Records. "Right now we've got David Brinston, we're working with Rene Horton and we've got a new album coming out on a group called REL, which is mainstream. We've got blues, the mainstream r&b, a country artist, we've got some rap, a cross-section of everything."

David co-wrote four tunes (Hit And Run, Old Feeling, Trouble Maker, Last One) on the CD. "I haven't written for others, I only write for myself." The tracks were mostly written and produced by Marshall Jones - now, can you figure out where the name Jomar comes from - who's been in the business for 32 years working for Stax and Atlantic and with such luminaries as Roberta Flack.

The current single and the title track, Hit And Run, is a mid-to-uptempo, mellow floater and very easy on the ear in the vein of George McCrae's Rock Your Baby. "I can hear a lot of different artists there, like a David Ruffin type of sound."

The second track, Old Feeling, is a pleading ballad with a 70's Philly sound atmosphere. "That was kinda from the experience. I was at the time going through some changes."

Trouble Maker is the gem of the CD, a very catchy lilter which grabs you along and never lets go. "We're thinking about releasing it as the next single. It's got a good response."

Home Recka is a light dancer dealing with two-timing and vaguely reminding me of Tyrone Davis. "I kinda write from the experience, me and my producer, it's what I've lived through. Tyrone's got Home Wrecker, but it's wholly different."

Last One is a saddish, soulful ballad. "It's doing good, that's one of the songs that's gathered a lot of airplay."

Love Maker is another catchy lilter. "Love Maker was my first CD single that I came up with (on Jomar) when I got into the business. It was like two and a half years ago."

Take It Easy is a swaying soul ballad, while Dirty Lover again sounds to me like a Tyrone influenced dancer. Personal Lover repeats the formula. "At the same time we did Dirty Lover we recorded Personal Lover, so it's got kinda same feel to it."

The final tracks, a cute and extremely hooky dancer Don't Say Goodbye and a laid-back floater Got What You Need, were written and produced by Friends and Smith. "Robert Smith and Percy Friends, they are songwriters among us here in Memphis."

The background musicians basically are Marshall Jones and the guitar player, Arthur Smith. The voices are Rene Horton and Maurice Williams, who used to work with The Artistics in Chicago in the 70's but who's living in Memphis now. Mr. Mattila has some product on Maurice, also.

David James Brinston was born in Marks, Mississippi, in 1959, but at the age of five left for a little town called Dublin, where he was raised until he became a teenager. "I come from a large family of thirteen. My father was a singer - he's never recorded - and I was inspired by him. He'd sing to me when I was a little boy coming up. Also in church I was a leader with my sisters and brothers, and that kinda inspired me to go ahead on, also. I'd come up listening to Tyrone Davis and Johnnie Taylor."

Tyrone and Johnnie are still today David's main men. "I'm a welder. I was working in different places like warehouses, but back in the 1980's I took music more seriously when I started opening the shows for different artists like Tyrone and Johnnie, when they'd come into my home town.

Me and Tyrone kinda go back a little bit. I met him through a friend of mine, and he kinda inspired me. He stayed up one night late after the show. We talked till about three o'clock in the morning, and I really got to know him. He told me `God bless you', and I felt real good.

Then I met a couple of guys, found the studio, where I met Marshall Jones, Maurice Williams and all of them. That was in '92. Before Jomar I only did demos."

If the quality of the CD is anything to go by, David's welding days should be over. "I'm strictly into the music business now. That's all I'm concentrating on."

- Heikki Suosalo
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