The birth of this post has been a real effort for some reason. Sometimes an artist or track just jumps out of the collection and demands to be featured, sometimes something (usually trivial) going on in my life or the world will prove the inspiration for a post. But for some days now I haven’t been able to settle on a track, the words haven’t flowed, and in all honesty I haven’t even felt like listening to much music. Mitigating circumstances? Well I’ve been busy at work, and it took me out of town last week. But apart from that when not at work these lazy hazy days of summer have seemed to fill me with a feeling approaching ennui. Maybe the weather is frazzling my brain.
So how did I finally decide on LJ Reynolds for this post? Some tenuous and random connections. As I said, I was out of town last week - out of the country in fact. It’s the first time for a couple of years I’ve taken a jet plane to go to work. Then, I made a number of trips to Atlanta, Georgia and was staying and working not far from Norcross. (Old Norcross was charming, with a sense of history and some good restaurants I seem to remember). Anyway after getting back from my trip last week (to Germany this time round) and checking the Sitemeter stats for this blog it just so happened the last person to visit would appear to have been located in Norcross. So the first connection is? During my trips to Georgia I spent many a spare hour trawling second hand record shops (and a few thrift shops, and a couple of Atlanta record fairs too) and “Let One Hurt Do” was one of my $1 bin finds. The second connection? I dropped in on Yoni’s Soul Of The Net for the first time in a while the other day to find some new listings for our listening pleasure. From previous visits I know that “Let One Hurt Do” is an entry in his Living Room Chart. Yoni has so much great material available on his site the chances are, even if you have made yourself at home in his living room, you may well have not stumbled on today’s little gem. So there you are – the tenuous and random connections that inspired today’s choice.
LJ Reynolds is probably best known as a long time member of the Dramatics. He joined the group in 1973 and has been a near constant member ever since. He is credited as singing the most leads on their recordings. Larry James Reynolds was born in 1952 in Saginaw, Michigan. His recording career would appear to have started at the tender age of 11 when he released three singles on the Tri-Spin label. The second single was called “Sweet Tooth” which must have been what Larry had at that time as he was credited as Larry “Chubby” Reynolds! (Still, if you can’t enjoy your sweets at 12 years old then when can you?). I guess schooling took priority for a few years because it seems that his next credited recordings didn’t appear until 1969-1972. In this period I have been able to find mention of five credited singles (although more releases on small local independents may well exist): topped and tailed by solo credits, in between came a single with The Relations – real relations, and two with New Jersey based Chocolate Syrup which included “Let One Hurt Do” and the gloriously titled “The Penguin Breakdown”. (Incidentally, both these appear on the UK album Chess/Janus Mobile Discotheque released in the early 70s and not too hard to find in the second hand shops. In fact I have this album but only discovered “Let One Hurt Do” was on it sometime after I picked up the single in Atlanta!). The story goes that Chocolate Syrup recorded the track (possibly simply as a backing track intended to be used for a different song – because this is what appears on the b side of the Law-Ton disc) and LJ’s vocal was recorded separately before he had even met the group, and then the two tracks mixed together. “Let One Hurt Do” was a top 30 R&B hit in 1971. LJ’s time with Chocolate Syrup didn’t last long as he went on to join the Dramatics in 1973, replacing William Howard. He left the Dramatics in 1980 for a solo career with Capitol, releasing four albums, and then rejoined them in 1986. Since then he has recorded a number of other solo ventures whilst still singing with the Dramatics. (some of this information was gleaned from this Dramatics fan site.
It’s a surprise to me that LJ was so young at the time he recorded this track. There seems to be more experience there than his tender 19 years, and with some beautifully restrained backing vocals and soaring strings added into the mix, go on, wallow in that Chocolate Syrup.
Lost Soul Treasures Vol 4 is the only CD compilation I know of that contains today’s track.