Ignored Obscured Restored
In the late ‘60s heyday of Southern soul, there was a recording artist out of Memphis named Don Bryant. In 1969 he released an album on Willie Mitchell’s Hi label (later the home of ‘70s soul great Al Green) called Precious Soul.
The album didn’t make much noise, even though Bryant was a very good singer. Perhaps the reason was for lack of originals – the album contained 12 cover versions of songs written by the likes of Isaac Hayes, James Brown, David Porter, Eddie and Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Chris Kenner.
Bryant’s vocals are in the soul shouter style of Wilson Pickett. That leads me to choose “She’s Looking Good”, a cover that reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 for Pickett, as today’s SotW.
About a year after the release of Precious Soul, Ann Peebles arrived at Hi and captivated the attention of Mitchell. Bryant’s reaction was to concentrate on songwriting rather than performance. Along with Peebles (and DJ Bernard Miller), he co-wrote her classic hit “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” (That song was ranked at #197 in the recently published list of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.) Soon after, Bryant and Peebles married. They are still together after almost 50 years, though Peebles suffered a stroke in 2012 that caused her to give up performing.
In 2017, after 48 years, Bryant was given another shot at performing. He recorded and released Don’t Give Up on Love for the Eat Possum label. His next album, You Make Me Feel (2020), earned the 79-year-old Bryant his first Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album.
Some things just get better with age!
Enjoy… until next week.