I've been a huge fan of southern soul music dating back to when I first started to take music seriously and dig deeper than the obvious selections and regular radio station fare. I'm gonna start a little on-going series here highlighting some of the lesser-known, or maybe well-known, southern soul greats. Today's great is Sam Dees, who I only came across more recently. The first I heard of him was a song or two on one of the excellent tapes that my good friend Hugh made for me nearly 7 years ago now. I happened to catch a glimpse of the album cover while popping through London and staying at Hugh's flat, so from then on I knew what I was looking for, but I had yet to hear the whole album. Next I picked up the excellent Southern Soul compilation, "Birmingham Sound: The Soul Of Neal Hemphill, Vol. 1" and there was another Sam Dees track, "Train to Tampa." And finally, at the infamous Alameda Flea Market I chance upon Sam's hard-to-find lone solo LP, "The Show Must Go On."
My copy's a bit warped, but I'm glad to have it anyway as it gave me the chance to really get into what might be one of the best 1970s Southern Soul records. For me, it's up there with the best Al Green or Ann Peebles record from the same decade and stands as one of the later entries into the classic Southern Soul cannon. While most soul singers were wavering on the brink of disco by 1975, Sam was keeping it real and gritty with some excellent songs, superb emotionally straining vocal delivery and excellent session players and back-up singers behind him. While this is his only LP , he has many a single that you can check out here and he has a couple CDs (Second to None & Heritage of a Black Man) of demos and unreleased cuts that I have yet to check out. I could have shared nearly any number of songs from this album, but I decided on these two.
Sam Dees - What's It Gonna Be?
Sam Dees - Good Guys
PS - not to worry, there will be more Zapp & Roger coming up soon - the tag-team continues!