Surely the greatest endorsement for any songwriter is the calibre of artists who record their compositions. Sam Dees can boast cuts on acts such as the Temptations, Johnnie Taylor, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Millie Jackson, Jackie Wilson and other upper echelon soul stars. Having previously issued two CDs of Sam’s recordings, we felt he was overdue for an entry in our Songwriter series. The aptly titled “One In A Million” is exactly that.
The CD takes its title from what is probably his most commercially successful song, thanks to Larry Graham’s chart-topping recording from 1980, and covers Sam’s career from the late 1960s through to the mid-80s. Whittling his catalogue down to a representative 22 songs was a challenge and a half. Many of the artists featured, such as Loleatta Holloway and John Edwards, returned to Sam’s songbook again and again, while others drew from it only once or twice. The common denominator between them is they all recognised a great song when they heard it.
There’s a preponderance of titles from the period Sam’s most ardent admirers seem to like best, the mid-70s, but we’ve not neglected the early 80s, when his compositions were recorded by some of the biggest names in soul and records bearing his name under the title were starting to sell in their millions.
The only disappointment for Sam’s fans is his career as a singer has always been somewhat fragmented due to the demand for his songs. As a demonstration of his vocal greatness we have included his 1977 recording of ‘My World’, a song he performs so definitively that it’s hardly surprising to find his is the only version.
“One In A Million” presents the sublime songs of Sam Dees in performances that will live on in the hearts and collections of his army of fans. Some will be better known than others, but all will surely be admired and cherished in the same way the man who wrote them is.
By Tony Rounce