This CD is the natural successor to the widely acclaimed (just ask Steve Davis!), GOOD GUYS DON'T ALWAYS WIN (CDKEND 163). The tracks are primarily 70s recordings from the mid-southern cities of Atlanta, Birmingham and Nashville. Ten of the twenty three songs are previously unissued and as is often the case, the absence of vinyl on those recordings was not reflective of their quality. Atlanta was a happening city in the 70s and Michael Thevis' musical enterprises were financially comfortable enough from his other businesses to allow for a bit of musical experimentation to be written off on the balance sheet. The labels also produced plenty of their own revenue with hits from Loleatta Holloway, Jimmy Lewis, John Edwards and Dorothy Norwood. The publishing arm of the business was equally blessed, with writers of the calibre of Sam Dees, Frederick Knight and Floyd Smith.
Sam Dees' name is all over this CD, starting the whole thing off with another tender sparsely-recorded ballad Anything Is Fair In Love And War. Though originally intended as a demo, Sam sang it too well for his own good-.-the notion of improving on this version must have been quite daunting. Sam was also heavily involved in the Alpaca Phase III recording that follows it, in fact he was probably a member of the mainly studio group though not the lead singer. Sam's trademark intimate song style goes right through to track 3 where Bill Brandon gives us Let's Get It Back Together Again a more mid-paced Dees offering.
All of these songs were found in the studios, as were the two Frederick Knight contributions. Fred was also a fine singer/songwriter and, like Sam Dees, had his songs covered by many artists. You Need A Friend Like Mine was cut on Annette Thomas and Rance Allen for Stax subsidiary labels Truth and Gospel Truth, this original demo is another fine take on an inspiring song. Fred's other recording featured here is Time, co-written with Dees-.-a more broody, haunting song than the gospel-influenced Friend.
Nashville music alumnus Moses Dillard teamed up with someone by the name of Johnson to record Here We Go Loving Again on the Piedmont label. The song can only be described as joyous ( you can picture the musicians having a ball) and is inspiring enough that my Lee Marvin type voice often joins in on the chorus clearing the garden of birds. It's the type of song that made disco worthwhile and makes up for all that hi-hat excess and reflective clothing. Also, don't forget that if we hadn't had disco, black dance music in the 70s would have been non-stop funk, paaarty and blowing bleeding whistles.
The real bonus with this CD and the 'Good Guys' compilation is the inclusion of Moonsong and Clintone recordings. Rozetta Johnson and Bill Brandon were at the pinnacle of their careers when they cut these great ballads and it's an honour to be allowed to include them here.
These are varied soul styles from various related sources but all right there in the pocket.
By Ady Croasdell