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Any Major Lamont Dozier Songbook

September 27th, 2022 Leave a comment Go to comments


A few weeks ago we marked the death on August 8 of Lamont Dozier with a mix of songs he wrote at Motown with the brothers Brian and Eddie Holland. This is a sequel to the Any Major Holland-Dozier-Holland Songbook, covering almost exclusively the post-Motown era, during which Dozier still worked with the Hollands, but also with others and on his own.

Holland-Dozier-Holland split from Motown acrimoniously. Having founded the Invictus label, which created some of the greatest early-‘70s soul music, the trio were precluded by a lawsuit from crediting themselves for the songs they wrote. That’s how the fictional Edith Wayne, a pseudonym for HDH, came to co-write soul classics such as Band Of Gold, Give Me Just A Little More Time, Dangling On A String, Everything’s Tuesday, Westbound No. 9, Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup), and others.

The legal strife with Berry Gordy Jr was nasty business, but according to Dozier it was exactly that: just business. So by the mid-1970s, the Hollands worked with Motown again, in a delightful twist producing The Supremes, the band which in the 1960s they had produced to superstardom (and listen to Freda Payne’s Deeper And Deeper to hear some of that residual Supremes-like magic). On The Supremes’ 1976’s hit album High Energy, only Mary Wilson was left of the classic line-up. Sharing the lead by then was Scherrie Payne, Freda’s younger sister. But on the featured track, the Dozier co-written Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You, Wilson takes the lead.

Before Scherrie joined The Supremes in 1973, she was in the Invictus band The Glass House, featured here with the gospel-funk track Heaven Is There To Guide Us, for which she received a co-writer’s credit, as she did for Crumbs Off The Table, a Glass House track covered here by Dusty Springfield.

There are two other songs with a faith-based theme here, both glorious grooves. The Sylvers’ Touch Me Jesus and Harrison Kennedy’s Sunday Morning People (which attacks the hypocrisy of people in the pews). In their original versions, by The Glass House (actually recorded by Darlene Love’s The Blossoms) and The Honey Cone respectively, both songs featured on the excellent Saved! The Soul Edition mix.

Perhaps the second-most surprising cover artist here, after Motörhead, is Donny Osmond. He covers the Chairmen of the Board’s glorious Dangling On A String. One might fear the worst, since Donald’s artistic reputation did not hinge on his powress as a traditional soul man. In the event, it is an agreeable interpretation — and not surprisingly, since co-writer Brian Holland produced the 1977 album this comes from.

Motörhead’s contribution from 1977, Leaving Here, is the only song here that belongs firmly in the Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown era. It was one of the trio’s earliest compositions, having been first released as a single in 1963 by Eddie Holland. It made no commercial impression, but in 1977, Lemmy and his pals Phil and Eddie recorded the song as their debut single. It’s not like Motörhead were deep-tracking obscure Motown material; their inspiration was a 1965 recording by the group The Birds, which counted among its members a fresh-faced Ronnie Woods.

The mix kicks off with Odyssey’s magnificent version of Going Back To My Roots, a song Dozier wrote on his own and recorded in 1977. Hugh Masekela helped Dozier infuse the song with its Afro-pop sensibility, which the Odyssey cover retained (including the Yoruba chant). It had already been covered by Richie Haven, but Odyssey had a huge hit with it in Europe in 1981. It topped the charts in South Africa, the home which Masekela could not return to… Dozier’s original featured on Any Major Originals: Soul Vol. 1).

Most tracks here were co-written by Dozier with others; the writing credits can be found in the ID3 tags of the song files. On 12 of the 30 tracks here, Ron Dunbar got a co-writing credit, mostly alongside that of Edith Wayne. Dunbar left us in April 2018. Dozier later claimed that Dunbar, an A&R man for Invictus, served as a composing front for Brian Holland, again because of the legal troubles with Motown. Dozier and Dunbar can sort that out in pop heaven.

This mix features 30 tracks. If you want to cut it in a standard CD-R, take tracks 1-22. The mix includes home-produced covers, and the above in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. Odyssey – Going Back To My Roots (1981)
2. Angela Clemmons – Give Me Just A Little More Time (1982)
3. Donny Osmond – Dangling On A String (1977)
4. Lamont Dozier – Why Can’t We Be Lovers (1974)
5. Flaming Ember – Westbound No. 9 (1971)
6. The Honey Cone – While You’re Out Looking For Sugar (1969)
7. Ronnie Dyson – Band Of Gold (1970)
8. Chairmen Of The Board – Everything’s Tuesday (1970)
9. 100 Proof Aged In Soul – Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup) (1971)
10. McKinley Jackson & Politicians – Love Machine (1971)
11. Dusty Springfield – Crumbs Off The Table (1972)
12. Harrison Kennedy – Sunday Morning People (1972)
13. Freda Payne – Deeper And Deeper (1970)
14. The Glass House – Heaven Is There To Guide Us (1971)
15. The Sylvers – Touch Me Jesus (1972)
16. The Blossoms – Cherish What Is Dear To You (1972)
17. The Jones Girls – Come Back (1972)
18. James Gilstrap – Put Out The Fire (1975)
19. Millie Jackson – You Created A Monster (1977)
20. Ben E. King – Let Me Live In Your Life (1978)
21. The Supremes – Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You (1976)
22. Holland-Dozier – New Breed Kinda Woman (1973)
Bonus Tracks:
23. Syreeta – Mind, Body And Soul (c.1969)
24. Dionne Warwick – Don’t Burn The Bridge (That You Took Across) (1973)
25. The Originals – Sweet Rhapsody (1975)
26. Margie Joseph – All Cried Out (1976)
27. Alison Moyet – Invisible (1984)
28. Boy George – To Be Reborn (1987)
29. The Style Council – Hanging On To A Memory (live) (1984)
30. Motörhead – Leaving Here (1978)


More Songbooks:
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 1
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 2
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Rod Temperton
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

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  1. amdwhah
    September 27th, 2022 at 10:57 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Pete Reilly
    September 28th, 2022 at 13:11 | #2

    Superb selection and write up as always, my man. Astonishingly prolific in his songwriting career, both as a member of H-D-H and as a solo writer/producer, many of the Invictus and Hot Wax tracks are such underrated gems (as here) so thank you for raising their profile and sharing with a wider audience.

  3. David
    September 30th, 2022 at 16:04 | #3

    Largely forgotten & rarely played, Freda Payne’s “Bring the Boys Home” really hit home with my friends & I. I was one of the lucky ones, 20 year’s old in 1970, I had a high lottery number.

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