Sunday, January 22, 2006

Jimmy Radcliffe The Complete Man

My friend Barry Fowden recently added a page on Jimmy Radcliffe to his website.

This prompted me to dig out the above CD which I bought from Jimmy's son Chris in LA a few years back. Chris was a cool guy who wanted to keep Jimmy's legacy going.

The Complete Man CD contains 15 tracks of songs which were unissued in Jimmy's lifetime. He wrote most of the songs with his writing partner Buddy Scott. I would imagine that some of them were intended for release and others may have been demos for other singers.

One Night In Harlem

A fully orchestrated piece of sheer magic which is wonderfully atmospheric and perhaps intended for a film score because it only lasts for 1 minute 25 secs.


A crunching bass-driven and organ workout with sparse vocals including Melba Moore in the chorus.

I'm Gonna Make You Love Me

A lovely instrumental version of the Gamble & Huff classic with what sounds like the Sweet Inspirations on chorus - pity Jimmy's vocals are missing.

Come Out Come Out

I don't recognise this song similar in style to his Funky Bottom Congregation on RCA.

The Complete Man

A big ballad similar in style to Roy Hamilton which sounds like an uncomplete demo or a work out for another artist with piano led backing and lacks chorus and strings and horns. This was covered by Tommy Hunt on Dynamo and Pat Lundy on Columbia.

I'm Your Special Fool

A sort of Muscle Shoal type sound similar to Aretha and others from 68 period with some great piano and backing from Sweet Inspirations???

Sweet Taste Of Lovin'

Another sparse backing so I assume it was a demo and again reminds me of what Muscle Shoals and American where doing down South in late 60's.

Deep In The Heart Of Harlem

This is very similar in style to Ben E King's Spanish Harlem but with overtones of Long After Tonight Is Over all done in acoustic which again leads to the thought that it was another demo. However, Jimmy is fine vocal form on this track. One of Jimmy's most famous songs covered by Johnny Nash on Groove, Clyde McPhatter on Mercury and Walter Jackson on Okeh.

You Can't Lose Something You Never Had

This is a stunning track from start to finish firmly in the style of his There Goes The Forgotten Man and must be from the halcyon Bacharach period - what a record!!!! You can also imagine Lou Johnson singing this one.

Big City Blues

Yet another atmospheric piece of soul with overtones of Bacharach and absolutely wonderful mixed chorus. The lyrics of this song just do it for me like the heart wrenching Paris Blues of Tony Middleton and it just fades into beautiful oblivion.

Where's There's Smoke There's Fire

A third in that big city style full of drama with a full orchestra and some tremendous wailing from Jimmy towards the climax.

Bluebird Fly Home

A quiet ballad which shows off Jimmy's emotive voice - again you can imagine Lou Johnson singing this one.

Feeling Called Freedom

Jimmy turns the beat up again with a rousing song with Cissy and the Sweet Inspirations singing their socks off on backing calling for freedom in the age of the fight for civil rights.

Stand Up

Back to the drama of beat ballad and again another fully finished record which is another call for civil rights.

My Ship Is Coming In

A lovely acoustic version of his Aurora cover of the song made famous by Walter Jackson.

All in all a worthy tribute by Chris to his father's memory.

You can read Chris's story of his father and more at Soul Cellar

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