A good trawl of the internet for more information on this recently acquired 45 has turned up a number of uncertainties.
Let’s start with the credited singer “Eddie Billups”. It seems that, in fact, the singer is Shorty Billups. So Shorty and Eddie are one and the same, and “Shorty” was a nickname? Well, no, it seems that Shorty and Eddie were brothers but Shorty chose to take his brother’s name on a number of recordings. If I have understood it correctly that’s the size of it if you take John Ridley’s liner notes for a CD of Peachtree recordings as the definitive take on the Billups question that has puzzled many a soul aficionado (and why wouldn’t you?) . Except that I find it odd that in I Won’t Be Around the singer actually refers to “himself” as Eddie.
Shorty is still very much alive and touring. No mean feat when you consider he is now 82 years old. At least that’s what his simply put together internet site states (a birth date of 1932 in Connecticut). Elsewhere it is more commonly stated that he was born in Boston in 1941. So maybe Shorty was born in '32 and Eddie in '41? But the quoted day - Feb. 1st - is the same in both cases. So, who is singing on this 45? Uncertainty is creeping up on me again!
The two songs on this 45 were initially released in 1967 on the small Brume record label, and around that time I understand they were picked up and nationally released on the Josie label. It is more difficult to date this particular 45 on the wonderfully name HELPP (Help Everyone Live Peacefully Profitably) label. A best estimate is 1972 based on what I have been able to find concerning a few other releases on the label.
Looking at the address on the label of this 45 it seems the HELPP label was based in New York. Although on other releases a Chattanooga address is given, and the co-writer on this track - Ed Bibbins - was Chattanooga based according to Red Kelly.
So as this 45 revolves on the turntable, in turn plenty of factual uncertainties revolve around it. There is, however, no uncertainty in the fact that the A side I Won’t Be Around is as fine a soul sound as you would want to hear, and that it has the feel of a 1967 recording. The only shame is it fades too quickly. I wonder if this was the same on the original Brume issue?
Before you play the B side here (page down a bit) is a health warning, Pete Nickols review of the track that was included in the CD Lost Deep Soul Treasures Vol 4. Maybe not the track to play if you are having a Friday night party. It is certainly memorable, and I find it compulsive listening even though I’m not sure I like it. There, another uncertainty!