Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The sound of sunshine

Dug this one out of the collection the other day. The sun was streaming through the window as I put it on the turntable and it seemed as if the sun was streaming out of the speakers as it played. Was it Monty Python who did a sketch once where words were described by the way they sounded - ’woody’ or ‘tinny’? Well if you cared to describe songs by colour or hue then this one would certainly fall into the ‘bright’ category.

In soul circles Lee Garrett is probably known more for his song writing than performing. He has 77 songs to his name in the BMI database and has co-writing credits on some familiar, and classic, songs – Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”, The Spinners “It’s A Shame”, Jermaine Jackson’s “Let’s Get Serious” for example.

Lee’s sporadic recording career possibly started in 1963 with a release on Van Dyk “Linda Sue”. After that he spent some time as a DJ on Philadelphia’s WHAT radio station. In the mid 60s he had a few releases on the Harthon label, including “I Can’t Break The Habit” which is well respected on the Northern scene. From 1968-72 he was once more on the ariwaves on a Detroit station (WGPR?) as the Rockin’ Mr G. This information was gleaned from forum archives of Soulful Detroit, and mostly from regular (it would appear) contributor Bobby Eli the legendary Philly producer/arranger/writer/guitarist. I think I have the chronology right.

In 1976 he released his only(?) album “Heat For The Feets” on Chrysalis. This spawned “You’re My Everything” which was a sizeable hit in the UK pop charts. In 1976 I had just started a mobile disco with some friends and I remember we took ourselves off to the local record shop and bought the majority of the pop top 30 at the time (fodder for the wedding receptions etc.), and “You’re My Everything” was in that first batch. “Heart Be Still” was the follow up single and in my opinion was the better song. I’m not sure if it was also a pop hit, but I dug out some old copies of “Black Music” magazine from 76/early 77 and scanning the UK top 50 soul charts therein couldn’t find it listed at all, which surprised me.

It seems Lee now lives in Portland, Oregon where he appears with local circuit band The Boomer Band.

I can’t track down “Heart Be Still” as being available on CD anywhere at the moment but the original single is fairly common and cheap.

Lee Garrett - Heart Be Still

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