Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Best Of Kenny Hamber

Kenny Hamber was one the most friendly people I met in New Jersey last year and I am now pleased to see that he has hooked up with a friend of mine Andy Lothian to issue a new compilation CD. Andy has his own label It's Soul Time! which released The Persuaders Made To Be Loved CD last year to great acclaim.
Kenny met Andy at the US Soul Trip last year and this contact led to them getting together on what is an excellent retrospective of Kenny's music from his early Zenette 45 to his 2000 work.Kenny has a very informative website where you can find out more about the man but this is his profile:
Kenny Hamber was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Realizing that he was gifted, Kenny started his career at Weldon Baptist Church as lead male vocalist and sang with various Du-Wop Groups singing five part harmony. Kenny has consistently delivered his outstanding vocal qualities to thousands of enthusiastic fans around the country.
He has appeared with such performers as the Temptations, The Four Tops, James Brown, The Stylisitcs, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, The Manhattans, Blue Magic, Ray Goodman and Brown, Donna Allen, Shirley Murdock, Gladys Knight, Jerry Butler, The Platters and the late great Jackie Wilson. Kenny hosted his own TV show in Washington D.C.
His recording career started in Baltimore, MD with a local disc jockey. At that time he recorded a number of singles which did quite well. Kenny was the lead vocalist with The Hitchhikers, who were signed by ABC Records.
As we move into the new millenium Kenny is back in the studio working harder than ever on new material. With new producers and writers working together, along with Kenny's vocal ability, which has been building for decades, this man has definitely the Heart and Soul needed in today's sound. Listen and See!!!
If you wish to find out more about Kenny's career then there is an excellent interview with Kenny conducted by Larry Benicewicz on his site.

Kenny Hamber Anything You Want Arctic

I have decided to feature the above track which kicks the CD off. Anything You Want must rank in my all time 50 greatest soul sides - pure soul from a great singer. This is one of the best sides ever produced in Philly by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Also included is his version of the Valentinos Looking For A Love which he cut with some of the finest Philly musicians at Arctic including the legendary guitarist Ron Baker.

The full tracklisting is:-

Vintage publicity shot of Kenny from early 60's

Another highlight of the CD is the early doo-wop flavoured Tears In My Life which Kenny wrote and recorded when he was only 16.
Kenny also made one of the best ever versions of the Eddie Floyd classic Never Found A Girl which sits alongside other hard to find modern outings such as Paradise, Can't Let You Go and I'll Be There.
Kenny has a fine voice and his intepretations of other artist's songs go further than mere pastiches as can be seen on his version of David Ruffin's Walk Away From Love and a stunning rendition of Bobby Bland's Members Only.
If you go to Kenny's site you will be able to purchase further CDs which I highly recommend because Kenny has not lost anything of his great voice over the years and he is a good song writer as well!!
I wish both Kenny and Andy every success with this CD.
Kenny still works full time in the business which is good to see and he is currently working on a gospel CD which I will keep you posted on as soon as I hear more.
Kenny was a guest on the Right Track Radio Show last night and this interview will be archived and is well worth listening to because Kenny has some fascinating stories to tell of his time in Baltimore and Philly.
One track missing from the CD is another favourite of mine Let's Do The Camel Walk which Kenny hinted on the Right Track show may come out on another CD including other material which has not seen the light of the day.
Don't forget that Kenny also released a fine album for ABC as lead singer with a group called the Hitchhikers back in 1976. As far as I know no tracks off this album are currently available so getting searching because you won't be disappointed.

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