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THE WILLIE CLAYTON STORY, PART 3 (2002-2022)



Willie: “The name ‘End Zone’ just came out of nowhere. On Endzone Entertainment I have been recording for the last twenty years, other than three records that I did a deal with Malaco. Other than that I ended up right back where I belong, which is with Endzone. I’m currently the only owner of Endzone Entertainment. There’s a young man by the name of Ramont Bell, who’s out of Chicago and he was the co-partner of Endzone for several years.”

Willie’s new company came into existence in the early 2000s and some of the other artists that released albums on Endzone Entertainment include Omar Cunningham (Omar Cunningham, Worth the Wait) and Tyrone Davis (The Legendary Hall of Famer), and on some songs on those sets Willie had a hand in writing and producing. Willie also co-produced Calvin Richarson’s 2017 CD All or Nothing with Calvin and Christopher Forrest in 2017, but it was released on Shanachie. Willie’s previous own label was called Clatown. “I just wanted to try something a little different than something being so close to the name Willie Clayton.”

THE LAST MAN STANDING

Released in 2002 and recorded mostly at Paul Richmond’s Blue Tone studios out of Chicago and also at Taylor Made studios in Jackson, Mississippi, The Last Man Standing is Willie’s first album on the Endzone Entertainment. “I personally don’t have a studio. I have studios that I’ve affiliated with, that I’ve worked with a lot. I work out of several studios, like The Family Production out of Winona, Mississippi. I don’t have one particular studio that I work out of.” The Endzone company operates out of the Atlanta area, Georgia, where Willie has been living since 1994.

Two slow songs – Living with Me and Jesus Will Make a Way – have appeared on earlier albums, but among uptempo tracks there are many new tunes. Paul Richmond produced four of them and to our delight he has used real horns. One of those movers is a dynamic cover of Joe Simon’s gold hit in 1971, Drowning in the Sea of Love.

Other covers include an emotional delivery of Bobby Womack’s # 2 Black hit in 1985, I Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much, and an easily swaying interpretation of Sam Cooke’s party hit, Let the Good Times Roll (# 11-pop in 1964). Vick Allen (https://www.soulexpress.net/vickallen.htm) produced those two, and actually he’s credited as the producer on half of the songs on this set and he also co-wrote a couple of them with Willie, including a pretty and melodic midtempo song called I Found Love (When I Found You). “Vick Allen just helped make tracks, but on The Last Man Standing all the vocals were done at Paul Richmond’s Blue Tone out of Chicago, and I think he later changed the name into Music Gallery.”

For all the romantics among you, there are four more fine ballads to enjoy, and the most heart-warming one is I Love Me Some You. On Billboard’s Adult R&B Airplay charts that song hit #37 in April 2003. “That still is a big record for me. If I perform, I have to do I Love Me Some You whether in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis, Jackson, Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, Atlanta, Georgia, New Orleans, Dallas, Texas, Baton Rouge, Massachusetts...”

On Billboard’s Top Blues Albums charts The Last Man Standing went as high as # 5, higher than any other Willie CD up to that point. Willie: “That was a major project and I’m very, very pleased with it.” Malaco Records re-released the CD in 2005.

CHANGING THA GAME

Similarly Malaco re-released Willie’s next record called Classic Soul, Volume 1, which was a 15-track compilation of some of his most popular songs from the past. Not only oldies, there were also four new impressive down-tempo songs. Love Is Something Beautiful and Sparetime are beautiful and soulful ballads, while Won’t You Be My Lollipop has a slightly more contemporary touch to it and Loving Each Other 4 Life is a song, which Willie had earlier produced for his protégée, Methrone. Classic Soul was basically a compilation, several different songs and styles compiled. You had soul, you had rhythm & blues, you had a touch of pop and you had contemporary R&B.”

With as many as 17 tracks and playing time closing in on 70 minutes, the next album called Changing tha Game brings out the romantic side of Willie. It contains as many as eleven downtempo songs. Come on Over, I Wanna Get it On, Take ‘Um Off and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s number one soul hit in 1976, I Want You, embrace us with a bedroom type of mood, whereas Vick Allen’s and Paul Richmonds Woman’s World is a deep soul ballad, only briefly ruined by an out-of-place rock guitar solo.

The most touching moment, however, on this enjoyable set is a truly beautiful ballad called Unconditionally, which in January 2005 climbed up to # 36 on Adult R&B Airplay charts. Willie’s real forte lies in interpreting such melodic and soulful gems as this. On those Airplay charts Unconditionally was preceded by a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s beat-ballad called So in Love (#39 in May 2004). Like its predecessor, the very album reached #5 on Top Blues Albums charts.

On the opening contemporary groove called Fact, No Rumor Willie presents his son, Young Bap. “My son is 43 years old, and I have a daughter and she is younger.”

FULL CIRCLE

One of the producers on Willie’s fourth Endzone album titled Full Circle is Mike Snoddy, and I think that Mike hasn’t still reached his production peak on this set. I mostly miss the deepness and soulfulness that normally is connected with Willie Clayton. Even Georgia on My Mind sounds like an “easy listen” song. Mike succeeded better on Willie’s forthcoming recordings. I also wasn’t very fond of T. Sewell’s production on a modern-day dancer titled Take It 2 Da Club, but I understand that I’m not the key listener in this case. With P. Kelly rapping and all other similar elements the track was aimed at younger audiences.

Recorded for the most part at Soul Kitchen Studio in Clinton, Mississippi, on Full Circle Willie and Vick Allen produced and wrote most of the rest of the songs and Vick took care of the quite skilful programming. Among familiar tunes there’s Willie’s re-recording of Lee FieldsMeet Me Tonight and Willie’s low-voiced “impersonation” of Barry White on Barry’s Playing Your Game hit from 1977. The most outstanding vocal performance is saved almost for the last, when Willie bursts into a stirring delivery of the inspirational Hold Me. The Full Circle CD peaked at #7 on the Top Blues Albums charts.

On the original Endzone pressing of the record as a bonus you received a 40-minute-long DVD titled The Visual Effect, which shows Willie touring in some southern states and singing such songs as Wiggle, Love Mechanic, I Love Me Some You and the ever-beautiful Unconditionally. On the later Malaco pressing they skipped the DVD but added on the CD a smoothly flowing ballad called Going Crazy, which stayed on the Adult R&B Airplay charts for 13 weeks and peaked at #34 in April 2006.

GIFTED



Gerald “Wolf” Stephenson, Vice President of Malaco Records: “Willie was recommended to us in the mid 80’s by an acquaintance, and Willie brought songs by for us to audition. We really liked the song Happy Time, but we were snowed under with artists at the time, all of whom were having very good sales. We were simply stretched about to our limit, with both soul/R&B and Gospel. We offered to cut the song on Johnnie Taylor, and it was released on Malaco 7440, Loverboy, in 1987. We kept in touch with Willie, but our artist roster was just before being more than we could handle.”

Willie: “That’s when we made the three-album deal, and that was it. I did my recording elsewhere. I brought them the finished product. I only recorded one song in their studio and that was with Shirley Brown, but other than that I didn’t record there.”

Wolf: “We were interested in Willie as an artist but we were afraid we could not do justice to another Soul/R&B artist. Willie signed with our long-time dear friend and associate, Johnny Vincent, of Ace Records. We eventually bought rights to all his Ace releases after Johnny Vincent’s death in February 2000 and re-released them on Malaco.”

Indeed, Willie’s next three new CDs between 2006 and 2008 were released on Malaco Records out of Jackson, MS, and Malaco also re-released in 2005 eight Willie’s earlier CDs (under catalogue numbers MCD 7521-7528). Within this deal their first new CD was aptly titled Gifted (MCD 7529), and it was partially produced by Willie and Vick Allen. There are once again tracks influenced by Willie’s good friend and partner in music, Tyrone Davis, such as Sweet Lady and a re-recording of Can I Change My Mind. Besides that tribute to Tyrone, other covers include a slow song that Gretchen Wilson co-wrote and originally recorded, When I Think about Cheating, and also Running Out of Lies, which Johnnie Taylor had released in 1976.

The first single, the slow and steamy Boom Boom Boom, bears a resemblance to the music the Isley Brothers used to do those days, and the peak position on the Adult R&B Airplay charts for that song was # 34 in February 2007. Willie: “That was written and produced by myself and a young man by the name of Mike Snoddy. His production company was called ‘Make It Hot.’ He’s a major R&B and hip-hop producer.”

Willie’s own song called Beautiful is just what it says. Arranged by Harrison Calloway, the Muscle Shoals Horns play on this and a couple of other tracks on this set. Equally soulful is the duet with Shirley Brown, which Willie mentioned above. Called Trust, George Soulé co-wrote this deep ballad and recorded it also himself. Willie’s Endzone partner Ramont Bell co-wrote as many as four songs with Willie for this CD - the slow My Lover My Friend and three toe-tappers A Little Bit More, Missing you andSweet Lady. The compelling and impassioned Gifted CD climbed up to #5 on Top Blues Albums charts.

(Starting from this album, in the discography below I’ve added links to my original reviews on our website right after these CDs were released).

MY TYME and SOUL & BLUES



Darnell Taylor is one of the co-producers on Willie’s second Malaco CD titled My Tyme in 2008 (#5 – Top Blues Albums). He also co-wrote with Willie the opener, an Al Green type of a midtempo number called Gotta Love, but his best production work can be heard on two intense ballads, Geraldine King’s Give You My World and even more so on Willie’s single release, the self-written A Woman Knows (#35 – Adult R&B Airplay). “Darnell Taylor is out of Raleigh, North Carolina, and he goes under the name of Showcase. He’s a guitarist and the name of his studio is Showcase Production.”

Vick Allen produced another high-quality soul ballad named Spend One Night and a re-recording of Three People (with that awful vocoder in the mix). Mike Snoddy’s best contribution to production on this CD is a convincing cover of Aretha Franklin’s number one soul hit in 1973, Angel.

Willie’s third and final Malaco album called Soul & Blues (#11 – Top Blues Albums) opens with a downtempo George Jackson song called I Feel a Cheatin’ Coming On. Willie: “George Jackson was another mentor of mine. I learned a lot from him as a writer. George was a genius.”

For this CD Willie wrote or co-wrote altogether eight songs out of the eleven on display, and the one that stands out for me is his emotive reading of the deep It Hurts So Much. The “Tyrone” track this time is Another Man’s Gain, and Strong Love is another toe-tapper, only a bit softer. Body Talk is the “Isley Brothers” bedroom ballad and then we still have three slow “soul & blues” songs – Triple Diamond Slot Machine, All Day Blues and Do What I Gotta Do – all leaning strongly on the blues side. On the previous CD Willie covered Down Home Blues, and on this one we get his version of I Can’t Stand the Rain.

This CD concluded Willie’s 3-record deal with Malaco. Willie: “All three were great, because I still produced them. I had Darnell Taylor involved and on many tracks I had The Muscle Shoals Horns and Harrison Calloway did all the charts.”

FROM MALACO’S PERSPECTIVE

Wolf: “Willie Clayton was seen by us as a natural replacement for Johnnie Taylor who passed away in May of 2000, but after three Malaco releases, the changes in the record industry resulted in the rapid and drastic decrease in ‘hard copy’ sales of music. We saw sales on all of our artists dwindle to a pittance compared to our halcyon years.”

“Willie delivered really good recordings during his short stay at Malaco, but he suffered along with the label and all our other artists from the decreasing sales of manufactured product. As with many other artists in Willie’s category, he could record and have manufactured enough CD product to sell at his performances and do as well as we could at the label...any label.”

In spite of decreasing sales in physical products, Wolf is rather optimistic these days. “Malaco has made the crossover to embrace the ‘digital world’ with streaming, downloads, licensing for TV commercials and movies, and whatever else becomes available, and after a few lean years getting our feet wet and not getting swamped, we have been fortunate to be able to take advantage of our very deep catalog of music masters and publishing. We have completely new state of the art studio, thanks to a destructive tornado on April 15th, 2011, and we continue to record and produce soul, R&B, Blues, Rock and soul gospel, and will continue on as ‘The Last Soul Company.’”

LOVE, ROMANCE & RESPECT and THE VOICE



Back at Endzone, on the Love, Romance & Respect album Willie’s main co-writer and producer is again Darnell Taylor, and they concentrate on romantic and late-night seductive ballads like I Need to Know, Good Woman Good Man, Love to You, Put It on Me and Special to Me.

Two songs took off on airwaves: a nice mid-tempo stepper called Dance the Nite Away (#26 – Adult R&B Airplay; #99 – Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs) and a more contemporary R&B slowie named We Both Grown (#23; #84), which was a duet with Willie’s nephew, Dave Hollister (http://www.davehollisterlive.com ). “We just got together. Dave Hollister is a major R&B artist. A lot of these younger R&B artists that I know, they all call me ‘uncle Willie Clayton.’ Dave liked the song and said ‘uncle Willie, I want to do this song with you.’” The song was written by Willie and Omar Cunningham.

Of the many atmospheric serenades on this set I enjoyed the most the pretty My Everything and the wistful Where Were You. This Willie’s sensual collection was popular enough to hit #78 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts in November 2009.

On The Voice CD one year later Willie sticks to the winning formula. With the exception of one stepper (Rock and Hold You), practically the whole album is one big cavalcade of sensual love ballads, or should I say “mating calls.” Willie: “Vocals and some of the tracks I did in Atlanta, other parts we did in North Carolina.”

The one that got the biggest attention was a melodic and romantic serenade titled Tonight (#34 – Adult R&B Airplay). A couple of songs derive from the Chapter One days thirteen years earlier, and out of thirteen there are only three songs that Willie himself didn’t write. As We Lay is a beautiful cover of Shirley Murdock’s 1986 hit, the tender Somebody Wants You is Rue Davis's song from his 1997 Avanti album and finally there’s an over 6-minute-long inspirational rendition of the anthem, Change Gonna Come. Willie: “At the time it was just what I was going through. We had Barack Obama, and when he won the presidential election I started singing the song in my live shows.”

A SWAMPY DUET

In March 2011 almost out of the blue appeared a CD with a short title: If Loving You Wasn’t Good Enough to Keep Me...How in the World Do You Think It Can Bring Me Back? It was released on Swamp Dogg’s aka Jerry Williams, Jr.’s S.D.E.G. label (Swamp Dogg Ent. Group), and it contained twelve Willie Clayton tracks. Willie: “That was almost like a ‘Greatest Hits’, but not the greatest hits. It was just a leased thing.”

Indeed, eleven of those songs derive from Willie’s past recordings, some even from the 80s and many from the 90s. The title track appeared on the Call Me Mr. C CD in 2000, where it was called Good Enough to Keep Me. A pleasantly swaying mid-tempo toe-tapper called Cheating in the Day Light is a new song. It’s a duet between Willie and Swamp Dogg, and it was written by Swamp Dogg and Bob Jones. Swamp put a longer version of the song also on his newly released CD titled I Need a Job...So I Can Buy More Autotune.

ONE MAN, ONE VOICE

“It was a tribute to all the legends that I knew and I’ve met. They were totally redone. Johnnie Taylor’s I Believe in you - I’ve never recorded that, as well as Johnnie Taylor’s Still Called the Blues, Tyrone Davis’ Turn Back the Hands of Time or Be with You. I just felt that it was time to remind people of the greats and about the good music that came along back in the 60s and the 70s, because we just don’t get the good music anymore. We come from soul and blues music, because you could f-e-e-l that music.”

The Tribute:One Man, One Voice was released in July 2011 – four months after the CD on Swamp Dogg’s label - and the focus really is on Tyrone Davis and Johnnie Taylor, even to the degree of including some earlier recordings related to those gentlemen (the duet Mine All Mine, A Woman Was Made to Be Loved, Without You in My Life and Careless). Marvin Sease is added to the tributes with a cover of his 1987 “lollipop” hit, Candy Licker. Add to those still two nice mid-pacers – Ain’t No Party and Move to Soon (sic) – and you have a mixture of something old and something new. The soft and atmospheric ballad called Be with Me became the drawing card (#30 – Adult R&B Airplay).

I remember how frustrated I was when - after purchasing the next CD, Sings the Number Ones - I found out that it had only one new song on it. “That’s just the old stuff.” The material was leased to Music Access Inc., a distribution company out of Dallas, Texas, and it came out in August 2011, so it was the third Willie Clayton CD that year. That one song was a precious one, though, a powerful cover of Teddy Pendergrass’ 1979 hit, Turn Off the Lights. Actually only four of those ten songs had been number ones on Billboard’s national charts, but I guess the title Sings the Number Ones is more or less symbolic.



I AM RHYTHM & BLUES

On Willie’s actual new CD titled I Am Rhythm & Blues in 2012 there are only three songs from the past. Now the tempo is mostly upped and I especially like two melodic mid-pacers, Mend Your Broken Heart and Your Love Is Wonderful, latter co-written by Omar Cunningham. The music on this set is for the most part easy, fun and stimulating, although occasional and unnecessary Autotune tends to spoil the mood for a minute. On this set Willie’s main writing partner and instrumentation man is Todd Vaughn. “He was a co-producer along with me, but I wrote everything and he just co-wrote a little something, that’s it.” This album is for those who like to dance to Willie’s music.

The Tribute Volume II: One Man, One Voice in 2013 now recycles ten songs from earlier albums, and this time the focus is on three major soul & blues names. “I did some Bobby Bland on this one, and Joe Simon. I also did a Jackie Wilson remake, Woman Lover Friend. It was sweet stuff.” One new song called Back Side of 50 is a good reflection of Bobby Blue Bland’s music and style. All in all, the amount of real instruments and horn section delight on this CD.  There’s also a slow jam and duet with Tyrone Davis called Stop By. “We did a duet together on Tribute 1 called Mine All Mine... and now this track.”

UNTAMABLE

From the title of the next CD, Untamable, one might draw the conclusion that Willie invites you to the dance floor, but actually the album offers just the opposite. “It was a mixture. We were just trying something different. Music changes, so you try to change with it.”

The material is mostly romantic, late-night music. On some tracks you can sense the presence of Ron Isley, Lenny Williams and Al Green again, but on most of the songs it’s the good ole, incomparable Willie himself. For me the melodic Leave My Woman Alone and the mid-tempo Girl I Love You and Let Me Be with You are the most memorable numbers. Interestingly, Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell out of Memphis is one of the co-producers.

Following “a new CD per year” release schedule, on the 2015 product titled Heart and Soul the music leaves the bedroom and leads you towards the ballroom. The most popular track, Come on Rock Me (#29 – Adult R&B Airplay), is a light and catchy dancer – in fact, like a distant cousin to George McCrae’s Rock Your Baby – and also the second single off the album, Let’s Dance, brings back memories from the merry 70s Miami sound days.

Tony Troutman’s Your Man Is Home Tonight (1982) is one of my desert island records, and the song serves also as the opener on this CD. “That was an all-time great song.” Willie’s cover really does credit to this song. Some other highlights on the set include the mid-tempo Your Love Is Wonderful, the smooth Amazing Lady and after quite a long while a touching killer soul ballad from Willie called Please Don’t Leave Me. In spite of a few re-releases and remixes, Heart and Soul really is an enjoyable album, and it was also good to hear Marcus Anderson’s sax playing on some tracks.

CROSSROAD OF THE BLUES



Apart from a gospel CD, which was released already in 1998 (God Has a Plan), Willie had always wanted to do a blues album. Backed by a live rhythm section and horns, he finally fulfilled his dream and put out Crossroad of the Blues in 2017. Willie and Darnell “Showcase” Taylor are the main producers and writers, and Chris Forrest out of Winona, Mississippi, also co-wrote three new songs.

Of the four uptempo blues romps, the storming Sneaking & Creeping was chosen for the first single. The slow Delta Water Blues is partially biographical, but for the lovers of soul-blues music there are two tracks to pay attention to: Two Wrongs Don’t Make It Right is an impressive classic soul ballad and Purple Rain is a convincing tribute to Prince. Chris Forrest plays the guitar on this track.

On the Excellence CD in 2019, alongside Willie his two main writing and producing partners were Chris Forrest and Jearmine Rayford, who worked already on Willie’s preceding blues album. Now you can choose your tempo. If you prefer pumping dancers, pick any of these four numbers: Love Doctor, Can We Slip away, If It Ain’t One Thing or Drop Pop and Roll. For smooth mid-tempo material fans Willie offers three first-rate melodies: Sidepiece on the Side, Love Games and We Belong Together, with a live rhythm section. I recommend this section, because all three really grow on you.

In terms of vocal approach, three new downtempo songs may arouse associations: If You Want Me and Makeup Love with Ron Isley and the high-register Broken Heart with Prince. There’s also one familiar soul ballad from the 60s, I’d Rather Go Blind, and on this track Willie’s impassioned delivery has a full instrumental backing, too. The word “Excellence” describes this CD quite well.

BORN TO SING



Like its predecessor, Born to Sing is a multi-tempo project filled with attractive songs. Almost all the dancers are placed at the tail end of the CD, and the catchiest of them is You Can Back It up on Me. Again mid-tempo numbers - Slow the Music Down, Slow Motion and If You Let Me Come Back Home - are laid-back and melodic. It’s Ladies Night features Calvin Richardson.

Willie covers Ronnie Lovejoy’s southern soul hit, Sho Wasn’t Me, brings out the “Al Green” in him with You Are the One and turns on his most soulful side on the impressive ballad named Breaking Down Inside.

For the festive season in 2020, Willie released an EP titled All I Need for Christmas. “Pretty much all artists are trying to do a Christmas project. It’s a good CD, which will probably be around for a long time. Christmas CDs last.” The title track is a longing, mid-tempo number, and the slow and melodic A Lonely Christmas first appeared already on an Ace compilation in 1995. Please Come Home for Christmas is the old Charles Brown song from sixty years back.

In January 2021 Mardi Gras Records out of New Orleans released a compilation titled Ultimate Willie Clayton, Volume 1, featuring 17 tracks. “My old good friend, Warren Hildebrand, reached out to me. He always wanted to have some Willie Clayton music, so that’s how that came about.”  Three People (Sleeping in My Bed) and Equal Opportunity are re-recordings, and on the latter one Willie’s dueting partner this time is Vickie Baker (my interview with her way back in 1998: https://www.soulexpress.net/vickiebaker.htm). Among new songs, Mr. Postman and Southern Girl (look up for the video of it) are nice mid-tempo numbers and Love Don’t Hurt Me is a high-quality soul ballad (# 30 – Adult R&B Airplay), all written by Willie. For those who are not familiar with Willie Clayton’s music, this over 70-minute-long compilation is a good way to start, and at the same time you could purchase Willie’s latest CD, Soul Caesar, which was featured already in the first part of this story. That record was one of the gems among last year’s releases and it really comes highly recommended.

Almost fifty-three years after the first single record and thirty-nine full albums, excluding compilations, Willie is still going on strong. As has become evident, he’s not only a magnificent soul singer but also a prolific songwriter, but he doesn’t want to single out any one particular song in his catalogue. “The songs that I write and record or other writers’ songs that I record, they are all like babies of mine. Baby crawls, walks, gets older, grows up and leaves. Whenever I do on stage a song that I’ve recorded twenty some years ago, it’s like the first time doing it.” Willie is quick to name his favourite artist, though. “My favourite artist of all times is Prince, because he could do so much with his voice. He will always be my favourite.”

“I want to thank all the radio DJs everywhere that have put my music on their podcast. I want to thank all the radio stations and promoters and I look forward to meeting you. My future plan is to be able to continue to do this at a high level with a lot of energy and as long as God gives me strength. I will continue to perform, and when it’s no longer fun I’ll bring it down. But right now it’s still a lot of fun.”

(www.willieclayton.net; additional interviews conducted on February 1st and 10th in 2022; additional acknowledgements to Gerald “Wolf” Stephenson and Kees Smallegange).



ALBUM DISCOGRAPHY

THE LAST MAN STANDING (EndZone, EZR2056) 2002 -> Malaco (MCD 7524) 2005

Looking To Hook / I Found Love (When I Found You) / I Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much / Ooh Baby Baby / Old Fashioned Girl / Drowning In The Sea Of Love / How To Treat Your Lady / Living With Me / Let The Good Times Roll / I Love Me Some You / Good Woman / Jesus Will Make A Way

CLASSIC SOUL, VOLUME 1 (EndZone, EZR 2060) 2003 -> Malaco (MCD 7523) 2005

I Love Stealing It / I Love Me Some You / Won’t You Be My Lollipop / Loving Each Other 4 Life / Party Like We Use To Do / Wiggle / Simply Beautiful / Tell Me / Three People / Let’s Get Together / Good Enough To Keep Me / The Blues / Love Is Something Beautiful / Sparetime / No Getting Over Me

CHANGING THA GAME (End Zone, EZR 2062) 2004 -> Malaco (MCD 7522) 2005

Fact, No Rumor (feat. Young Rap) / Love Mechanic / Whipped / Come On Over / I Want You / I Wanna Get It On / Take ‘Um Off / Love Zone / So In Love / Keep Steppin’ / Woman’s World / What Cha’ Do To Me / Monkey See, Monkey Do / Unconditionally / A Thang 4 You / My Mama Song / Monkey See Monkey Do (remix, feat. The Ying Yang Twins)

FULL CIRCLE (EndZone, EZR 2068) 2005 -> Malaco (MCD 7521) 2005

If You Ever Get Lonely (Call Me) / Stay Together / All My Love / Playing Your Game Baby / Can We Talk / I’ll Make It Good To You / Take It 2 Da Club / It’s A Good Feeling / Meet Me Tonight / Georgia On My Mind / Hold Me / Keep Steppin’ (extended remix)

Note: on the Malaco pressing Keep Steppin’ is replaced by Going Crazy (as the track #1)

GIFTED (Malaco, MCD 7529) 2006

Boom Boom Boom / Beautiful / Can I Change My Mind / When I Think About Cheating / A Little Bit More / My Lover My Friend / Running Out Of Lies / She Holding Back / Missing You / Sweet Lady / Dreams / My Miss America / Trust (with Shirley Brown)

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep306.htm#willieclayton)

MY TYME (Malaco, MCD 7532) 2008

Gotta Love / A Woman Knows / Happy Time / Foreplay / Give You / My World / Angel / Back 2 The Good Ole Days / Down Home Blues / Spend One Night / Young Blues Man / Three People

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep208.htm#willieclayton)

SOUL & BLUES (Malaco, MCD 7534) 2008

I Feel A Cheatin’ Coming On / Strong Love / Body Talk / Triple Diamond Slot Machine / All Day Blues / Sweet Thing / Another Man’s Gain / It Hurts So Much / I Can’t Stand The Rain / Do What I Gotta Do / Your Body (remix)

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep109.htm#clayton)

LOVE, ROMANCE & RESPECT (Endzone/C & C Entertainment) 2009

Dance The Nite Away / I Need To Know / We Both Grown (feat. Dave Hollister) / Good Woman, Good Man / Love To You / My Everything / Put It On Me / Special To Me / Some Kind Of Wonderful / Where Were You / We Both Grown (Bedroom Mix) / The Best Years Of My Life / Dance The Nite Away (Steppers Mix) / Shake Your Money Maker (Bonus Track)

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep509.htm#willieclayton)

THE VOICE (EndZone, CDEND 2074) 2010

The Voice (intro) / Wonderful / She’s The One (Bust My Bubble) / Beautiful / Tonight / My Everything / As We Lay / Rock And Hold You / Ain’t Nothing I Can Do / I Love / Diamonds / Change Gonna Come / Somebody Wants You (bonus track)

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep410.htm#willieclayton)

IF YOUR LOVING WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH TO KEEP ME...HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU THINK IT CAN BRING ME BACK (S.D.E.G. 1980) 2011

If Your Loving Wasn’t Good Enough To Keep Me...How In The World Do You Think It Can Bring Me Back? / Cheating In The Day Light / One Night Stand / Open Up The Door To Your Heart / How Do You Love Two / A Woman Needs To Be Loved / Show Me / Feels Like Love To Me / Shining Star / Does Your Mama Know / Stay / Where Has Love Gone

THE TRIBUTE: ONE MAN, ONE VOICE (Endzone, CDEND7014) 2011

Still Called The Blues / Ain’t No Party / Turn Back The Hands Of Time / I Believe In You / Mine All Mine (with Tyrone Davis) / Be With Me / Equal Opportunity / Turning Point / Move To Soon / A Woman Was Made To Be Loved / Without You In My Life / Careless / Candy Licker

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep3_2011.htm#willieclayton)

SINGS THE NUMBER ONES (Music Access Inc., MUI-CD 10045) 2011

Walk Away From Love / That’s The Way I Feel / So Glad You’re Mine / Turn Off The Lights / Everytime You Go Away / In The Mood / So Very Hard To Go / Tell Me / Leaving Me / Rockin’ Chair

I AM RHYTHM & BLUES (Endzone) 2012)

I Am Rhythm & Blues / Smile / Mend Your Broken Heart / Your Love Is Wonderful / She’s Your Woman / Last One To Know / Lose What You Got / Last Rendezvous / Loving Each Other For Life / Twist & Turn

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep4_2012.htm#willieclayton)

THE TRIBUTE VOLUME II: ONE MAN, ONE VOICE (Endzone) 2013

Ain’t No Love / Back Side Of 50 / I’ll Take Care Of You / Choking Kind / Drowning In The Sea Of Love / Woman Lover Friend / Playing Your Game / Simply Beautiful / Let The Good Times Roll / Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much / Georgia On My Mind / Don’t Make Me Pay / Ain’t No Way / Stop By (feat. Tyrone Davis)

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep5_2013.htm#willieclayton)

UNTAMABLE (Endzone) 2014

Untamable (intro) / All My Loving / Missing You / Girl I Want Your Body / Sweet, Sweet / Easy To Love / I’m So Blue / You Rock My World / You Got My Heart / Heaven Only Knows / Nothing But The Blues / Leave My Woman Alone / Girl I Love You / Let Me Be With You / Untamable (outro)

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep6_2014.htm#willieclayton)

HEART AND SOUL (Endzone 4009) 2015

Your Man Is Home Tonight / Come On Rock Me / Old School Jam / Slow Good / Let’s Dance / Amazing Lady / Your Love Is Wonderful / Please Don’t Leave Me / Ain’t No Party / Mend Your Broken Heart / Leave My Women Alone / Boom Boom Boom (remix) / Come On Rock Me (Bounce remix)

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep7_2015.htm#willieclayton)

CROSSROAD OF THE BLUES (Endzone 8534) 2017

Keep On Loving Me / Giving Me The Blues / We Had A Good Thang / Da Juke Joint / Crossroads Of The Blues / Let Me Be / Sneaking & Creeping / Backside Of Fifty / Bartender Blues / Two Wrongs Don’t Make It Right / Delta Water Blues / Purple Rain (bonus track)

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep4_2017.htm#willieclayton)

EXCELLENCE (Endzone 8541) 2019

We Belong Together / Love Doctor / Sidepiece On The Side / Can We Slip Away / I’d Rather Go Blind / Love Games / If You Want Me / Makeup Love / If It Ain’t One Thing / Where You Get That Body / Drop Pop And Roll / Broken Heart / Ain’t No Way (bonus) / Rocking Chair (bonus)

(https://www.soulexpress.net/deep2_2019.htm#willieclayton)

BORN TO SING (Endzone) 2020

Slow The Music Down / Changes / Sho Wasn’t Me / You Are The One / Slow Motion / When I Go Down / If You Let Me Come Back Home / Breaking Down Inside / Drunk On Your Love / Hole In The Wall / It’s Ladies Night (feat. Calvin Richardson) / Everlasting Love / So Sexy So Fine / Can You Back It Up On Me

EP: ALL I NEED FOR CHRISTMAS (Endzone) 2020

All I Need For Christmas / (instr.) / A Lonely Christmas / Please Come Home For Christmas

ULTIMATE WILLIE CLAYTON, VOL. 1 (Mardi Gras 1131) 2021

Three People (Sleeping In My Bed) / Equal Opportunity / I Love Me Some You / Love Don’t Hurt Me / Mr. Postman / Sidepiece On The Side / Drop Pop And Roll / Rocking Chair / Sho Wasn’t Me / Drunk On Your Love / We Belong Together / Love Doctor / Can We Slip Away / Hole In The Wall / I’d Rather Go Blind / Love Games / Southern Girl

SOUL CAESAR (Endzone) 2021

Do What You Came To Do / I Can’t Keep Loving You / Two Step / Don’t Wanna Be Alone / I’m Looking For A Woman / Get It In / It Don’t Hurt Me / Same Girl / I’m Looking For A Woman (remix) / How You Feel / Work That Body / I’m Coming Back To You

© Heikki Suosalo


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