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Willie Clayton's smoke and whiskey-tinged tenor is a throwback to the days when R&B meant deep, deep soul. Woefully underappreciated, Clayton should appeal to fans of Al Green, the singer he most resembles (Clayton has worked with Green's producer Willie Mitchell in the past), although there's a trace of Curtis Mayfield in there, too. He's just one of those vocalists who could sing the phone book and the result would sound perfectly phrased and memorable. This set from Malaco Records is nicely varied, running from uptempo tracks to urbane blues pieces, but it hardly seems disjointed, due, in large part, to Clayton's voice, which makes it all feel seamlessly connected. The opener, "I Feel a Cheatin' Coming On," is a delight, as is his cover of "I Can't Stand the Rain" and the stomping "Triple Diamond Slot Machine." Clayton visits the blues on the uptown and velvet smooth "All Day Blues," which doesn't exactly set the world on fire, but it balances things in the sequence, and if this is hardly the album that will push Clayton into the front line and bring him the attention he deserves, it's never less than pleasant and then there's that voice, which can't help but make any day better.
Performance CreditsWillie Clayton Primary Artist,Background Vocals
Jim Horn Baritone Saxophone
Steve Patrick Trumpet
Charles Rose Trombone
Harvey Thompson Tenor Saxophone
Angela Gray Background Vocals
S. Joan Reid Background Vocals
Vick Allen Track Performer
Mike Snoddy Track Performer
Omar Cunningham Track Performer
Showcase Horns Track Performer
Donnell Taylor Track Performer
Technical CreditsWillie Clayton Composer,Producer
George Jackson Composer
John Bradshaw Composer
Harrison Calloway Horn Arrangements
Mark Capps Engineer
Danny Leake Engineer
Bernard Miller Composer
Ann Peebles Composer
P.R. Allen Graphic Design
Vick Allen Programming,Producer
Mike Snoddy Composer,Programming,Producer
Ramont Bell Composer
Donnell Taylor Programming,Producer
Kortez Harris Composer