Title - 'Me & Mrs Jones: The Anthology'
Artist - Billy Paul
For those not in the know, Paul Williams (December 1, 1934 – April 24, 2016), known professionally as Billy Paul, was a Grammy Award-winning American soul singer, known for his 1972 #1 single, 'Me and Mrs. Jones', as well as the 1973 album and single 'War of the Gods' (which blends his more conventional pop, soul, and funk styles with electronic and psychedelic influences).
He was one of the many artists associated with the Philadelphia soul sound created by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell.
Indeed, Paul was identified by his diverse vocal style which ranged from mellow and soulful to low and raspy.
Questlove of the Roots equated Paul to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, calling him "... one of the criminally unmentioned proprietors of socially conscious post-revolution '60s civil rights music."
SoulMusic Records (via Cherry Red Records UK) has just released Me & Mrs Jones: The Anthology, a stunning 31-track 2-CD retrospective saluting the artistry of distinctive soul’n’ jazz song stylist Billy Paul; spanning ten studio albums he recorded between 1969-1985.
This anthology features all of Billy's thirteen US charted singles for PIR including 'Thanks For Saving My Life' and 'Am I Black Enough For You' as well as 'You're My Sweetness' (from a 1979 Best Of Billy Paul collection) and 'New Day, New World Comin' (from 1977's PIR album, Let's Clean Up The Ghetto); plus three tracks from Billy's 1985 Total Experience LP.
CD 1: People Power
1. 'YOUR SONG'
2. 'AM I BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU'
3. 'BROWN BABY'
4. 'THE WHOLE TOWN’S TALKING'
5. 'THANKS FOR SAVING MY LIFE'
6. 'ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE'
7. 'HOW GOOD IS YOUR GAME'
8. 'BE TRUTHFUL TO ME'
9. 'FALSE FACES'
10. 'PEOPLE POWER'
11. 'LET THE DOLLAR CIRCULATE'
12. 'BRING THE FAMILY BACK'
13. 'LET ‘EM IN'
14. 'AMERICA (WE NEED THE LIGHT)'
15. 'WE ALL GOT A MISSION'
16. 'NEW DAY, NEW WORLD COMIN’
The light and breezy R&B of the Elton John cover 'Your Song' is up first and that's backed by the Gamble & Huff stunner, and official Black Lightning theme, 'Am I Black Enough For You.' The classic Philadelphia sound of 'Brown Baby' is next and that's followed by the Philly lushness of 'The Whole Town's Talking' (check out the rhythm in the musical break for a true groove vibe).
The funk is back for both 'Thanks For Saving My Life' and 'Only The Strong Survive' with the slow bass guitar backbeat of 'How Good Is Your Games' being one for the ages. The dancefloor gets a hit here on 'Be Truthful To Me' with the bass funk of 'False Faces' and the lush orchestrations of 'People Power' following seamlessly along.
Next up is that heralded old soul sound of 'Let The Dollar Circulate' and that's backed by the Philly funk of 'Bring The Family Back.' Released in 1976 and peaking at a ridiculous-to-think-of-now #91, his fantastic cover of the Paul McCartney/Wings hit 'Let 'Em In' is still such a massive joy to hear today, and that's followed by the fast funk groove of 'America (We Need The Light).'
The first disc then rounds out with both the stand loud and be proud 'We All Got A Mission' and then the excellent funk vibe of 'New Day, New World Comin' from 1977.
CD 2: You're My Sweetness
1. 'THIS IS YOUR LIFE'
2. 'EBONY WOMAN'
3. 'LET’S FALL IN LOVE ALL OVER AGAIN'
4. 'ME AND MRS. JONES'
5. 'IT’S TOO LATE'
6. 'I WAS MARRIED'
7. 'WHEN LOVE IS NEW'
8. 'YOU’RE MY SWEETNESS'
9. 'LET’S MAKE A BABY'
10. 'BILLY’S BACK HOME'
11. 'I THINK I’LL STAY HOME TODAY'
12. 'I TRUST YOU'
14. 'LET ME IN'
15. 'SEXUAL THERAPY'
The second disc picks up where the first ended with the piano lush 'This Is Your Life' (from his underrated Going East album) and then backs that up with forthright 'Ebony Woman,' the soaring ballad 'Let's Fall In Love All Over Again,' and then comes the beautiful, soothing instruments found within his massive 1972 hit, 'Me & Mrs. Jones.'
The emotional truth found within 'It's Too Late' still resonates with us all today, I feel, and that's followed by Paul testifying his pain on 'I Was Married.'
The laid back Philly soul of 'When Love Is New' is yet another stand out track here and that's backed by both the upbeat ballad 'You're My Sweetness' and the gentleness of 'Let's Make A Baby.'
Billy's beautiful and soothing voice comes to the fore once again on the ballad 'Billy's Back Home,' with the goosebump-inspiring 'I Think I'll Stay Home Today' along next.
This wondrous second disc comes to a close with the orchestrally brilliant 'I Trust You,' the lovely pairing of his mid-'80s ballads 'Lately' and 'Let Me In,' with Billy's tribute to Marvin Gaye 'Sexual Therapy' wrapping things up nicely.
In a personal reflections commentary, SoulMusic Records founder David Nathan notes that in sequencing Disc One, he became aware of the timeless and timely lyrical messages in many of Billy’s ‘70s recordings featured here, including ‘False Faces’, ‘Let The Dollar Circulate’, and ‘We All Got A Mission’.
New liner notes included are by renowned US writer Kevin Goins and include quotes from Dexter Wansel; plus first class artwork from Roger Williams and remastering from Nick Robbins.
Official CD Purchase Link
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