Leroy Burgess Anthology Volume 2 – The Producer
Out of stock
The second volume in our Leroy Burgess Anthology series concentrates more on his songwriting and production abilities rather than his vocals which were contained within volume one -‘The Voice’. Featured within this volume are some of the best known ‘Boogie/Disco’ tracks from the late 70’s/early 80’s, including Black Ivory’s ‘Mainline’, the two Convertion tracks and Fonda Rae’s anthem ‘Over Like a Fat Rat’. Having had the pleasure of escorting our man around a very hectic schedule of interviews in the UK earlier this year, I was able to learn more about Leroy and what makes him tick. For an artist who has been responsible for so much and has achieved cult status, Leroy is almost totally ego-less. His genuine friendships with most of the artists and producers that he has worked with extend over periods of 20 to 30 years. The total joy for music that he exudes whether performing, talking to his many fans, or giving interviews, is very contagious. His almost total recollection of each detail of all the songs that he has been involved in display articulateness rarely found in artists from his or any other era. It was indeed a pleasure to work with Leroy to create these two volumes of the anthology: a series that we hope has introduced to a wider audience surely an otherwise underrated artist, songwriter and producer. I hope that you enjoy, listening to, singing along and dancing to the uplifting music contained on these albums.
A note from LeRoy Burgess I have been asked, throughout my career, what I hoped to accomplish with my music. You know… fame? Fortune? The acceptance and adoration of your peers… your colleagues… the public? All of the above? My answer has always been simply to share my music… and to have it appreciated and enjoyed. Fame, fortune and all the rest of it has its place, I suppose. It can’t compare with the smile you put on somebody’s face after having heard one of your songs. The joy one of your tunes puts in their hearts. The introspection and reflection your lyrics and melodies may suggest which may have a positive influence on that life. I hoped to touch someone else’s life in the special way music has touched mine. The less it’s about me and the more it’s about the music… the better. This installment of the anthology focuses on my work with other artists. Fonda Rae, Stuart and Russell of Black Ivory, Dino and Wade of Intrigue, the great Stan Lucas of Dazzle, Christine of Phreek and Class Action, Yvette, Jackie and Glenn of Caprice. All of who added their own magic to my compositions. And made them all the more special. I want to thank every one of them (and all of my other collaborators) for sharing their gifts with me. You guys make every project a blessing. And while I’m thanking people, let me include: Mom and Dad, as ever, my strength more than you know. Laurence, Malcolm and the staff of Soul Brother. Jason and Amanda for just being brilliant all the time. All the amazing DJs and radio jocks worldwide. Sherril, Patricia, Andrina, Renee, Morgan II, Mellanie, Sean, Maurice, Andrew, Tiffany and Breeanna. DREW CREW: RP, Lyfe, Skeeter, Dre’w, Sonny Davenport-Johnson II, BURGESS ENTERTAINMENT support: Leighman Harris, Protptype Inc. , Next Step Computer Services And Liquid. James C. and Sonny T. D. for all the amazing songs. THIS COLLECTION IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF AARON (SONNY) T. DAVENPORT (1957-2001) YOUR LIFE IS WRITTEN ON MY HEART FOREVER. Thank you for the love. May GOD bless you always. LeROY BURGESS, July 2002.
LB’s LINER NOTES/VOLUME TWO CONVERTION My friendship and partnership with Greg Carmichael began with the formation of this group. Here’s how it went down. James, Sonny and myself were called into Nola Recording Studios to play on one of Greg’s tracks (I don’t remember the title). We finished that so quickly, we ended up with an additional six hours of unused studio time. Greg, graciously, said that we could use the time for whatever we wanted. While James and Sonny went to grab something to eat, I went to the piano and began to bang out something. Upon their return, I had the chorus and verse of what was to become “LET’S DO IT” composed. I let them hear it. The bacon cheeseburgers and fries went uneaten, as they rushed to their instruments to join in. Halfway through the jam, Greg came in dancing.. shouting excitedly, “That’s it! That’s it! Put it down!” After composing a further bridge, we did. After laying down the track, Sonny and James started banging out the lyrics. I get on the phone to my sister Renee and my friend Dorothy Terrell for background vocals. About three and half hours later, the tune was completed. Then, we remembered the food. “SWEET THING”, on the other hand, was quite another story. Years had passed. James was on the road with Evelyn King. Sonny was busy raising his family, as were Renee and Dottie. Both LOGG and CONVERTION (the same group essentially) had stopped performing. Everyone was scattered. The phone rings. It’s Greg. ” Let’s do another Convertion record.” I informed him of the current status of the group and my partners. It didn’t matter… he wanted to do it anyway. So, we did. I’d already composed the music and I wrote the lyrics on the spot. It was really weird working without the team but I think I did all right. The live music feel of “Let’s Do It” was replaced by a more synthetic flavor in “Sweet Thing” but the vocal and melodic work was patterned similarly. Of the two, I personally prefer “Let’s Do It” but both are very close to my heart. BLACK IVORY In 1977, I left the group to pursue a new vibe in music. We parted friends and kept in touch with each other. I composed “MAINLINE” and “HUSTLING” for a new group I was developing which never came to fruition. In 1978, I was contacted by Black Ivory’s manager Leonard Adams, asking if I had any new songs to submit to their forthcoming album on Buddah Records. I submitted these. Russell did the lead to “Mainline”; Stuart sang the lead to “Hustling”. I was called in for rhythm and vocal arrangement, as well as background vocals, bringing the original group back together. James Calloway was called in to play bass (he’d been our bass player since 1971). I think the vibe speaks for itself. These are two of my favorite songs. DAZZLE I can never say too many good things about my friend, Stan Lucas. Sadly, we lost the great guitarist and songwriter last year. I consider my time with him one of my major blessings. A couple of things I’d like to clear up: On “You Dazzle Me”, that’s Stan on lead vocals… not me. I am singing background vocals and playing electric piano. Just thought you’d like to know the truth. DINO TERRELL and INTRIGUE Fred McFarlane (whom we met during his keyboard work on the LOGG album), was looking to develop a new group. In those days, a new group was started by simply having a couple of good producers, a good song and a good singer. Fred called Sonny and I to compose the song (James was on tour again with Evelyn). Just before the session, Fred and his partner Allen George brought the lead singer they had in mind to meet us and learn the song we’d written. (“FLY GIRL”), one Dino Terrell. After hearing him once, we were convinced. The evidence of his talent is clear on these performances. He remains one of our best singers ever. Shortly afterward, while Dino was still a free agent, we got together to do “YOU CAN DO IT (IT’S SO EASY) as an independent project. Sadly, we lost Dino to a brain tumor about a year later. I’m glad I had the opportunity to be touched by his spirit and to share in the joy of his talent, if but for a short while. CAPRICE Back in 1970, one of Black Ivory’s first guitar players was a young man named Jackie Bradley. He and I remained friends even after my departure from the Ivory. In late 1983, Jackie approached Sonny and I to compose and produce a song for a new group he was founding called Caprice. We took on the project. The group was comprised of Jackie (guitar/vocals), Yvette Davis (lead vocals/keyboards), Glenn Norman ( background vocals/keyboards), Mattin and Brian Tuzo (bass and drums). The result was “100%”, which is one of my favorite compositions. Although the group stay together for only one further song, they remain close to my heart. HI-FREQUENCY This is, essentially, the same group as ALEEM featuring LeROY BURGESS and was recorded at the same session as “HOOKED ON YOUR LOVE”. Why the twins decided to create a second artist name is anybody’s guess but it’s all good. Check out the motif on the opening strings, which I gleaned from John Williams’ “Jaws” score. I guess, to some degree, I equate summertime with a day at the beach and…. SHARKS! FONDA RAE James, Sonny and myself were called into Blank Tapes studios to do a few demos. One of them, “OVER LIKE A FAT RAT” came to the attention of Vanguard Records. The vocalist they wanted to try on it was Fonda Rae. After hearing just the first verse, we were hooked on her amazing voice. We completed the track with new background vocals and some additional percussion. The rest is dance floor history. CLASS ACTION Based closely upon the original Atlantic records/Phreek version and remixed by Larry Levan, this version also featured Christine Wiltshire on lead vocals. A dance floor classic.