Arthur Prysock – 1976 – All My Life
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This is a must have for all R&B, Disco and Philly Soul fans out there!
Arthur Prysock had a long and varied career as a vocalist of high repute, lending his velvet baritone to jazz, blues, R&B, pop and disco, having been inspired by his musical hero Billy Eckstine. Prysock was discovered by the jump blues band leader Buddy Johnson while living and working in Hartford CT, where he had honed his talents in several groups during his time off. Johnson installed Prysock as his lead male vocalist and they recorded several hits together for Decca in the 40’s before Arthur went solo, touring the chitlin circuit, sometimes accompanied by his brother Red Prysock, (an exhilarating tenor saxophonist) with whom he also recorded. Before long ‘I Didn’t Sleep A Wink Last Night’ gave Arthur his first solo R&B hit on Decca in 1952 charting at a high of #5, and cementing his reputation as a great balladeer. During the late 50’s and early 60’s Arthur recorded several R&B hits for the Old Town label and in 1965 fulfilled a life-long dream recording with Count Basie, which started a fruitful relationship with the Verve label for the remainder of the decade.
The 1976 album ‘All My Life’ (R&B #36, Pop #153) heralded a return to prominence (and to his old label Old Town) for Prysock and exemplified his dexterity in tackling the new contemporary Philly Soul inspired disco style. The lead single ‘When Love Is New’ (R&B #10, Pop #64), a smooth, percussive disco-soul track with Prysock’s perfectly understated laid-back vocal was penned by legendary Philly International producers and song-writers Gamble & Huff, as was follow up single ‘I Wantcha Baby’ (R&B #43) which tells you everything you need to know about the tone of this underappreciated album. Another stand out is the title track ‘All My Life’, Prysock delivers a Barry White-esque impassioned croon over an up-tempo, uplifting solid dancefloor groove provided by this tracks songwriter, and producer of the album John Davis, along with his Monster Orchestra.
A1 I Wantcha Baby 6:49
A2 All My Life 6:45
A3 I Love Makin’ Love to You 4:34
A4 Baby I’m the One 3:45
B1 When Love Is New 7:13
B2 One Broken Heart 4:57
B3 All I Need Is You Tonight 4:07
B4 This Is What You Mean to Me 3:00
Review by Chris B
If you love his supremely rich baritone and you love to dance this is a stand out compilation of sounds from the 80’s. This wonderfully talented man never seems to age, never misses a beat and has lost nothing in his vocalizations, presentation or finding the spirit of any piece of music. Not only do your feet move from the downbeat…your heart flutters continuously while listening to the sexiness in this beautiful voice. I first heard this on the dance floor of a VERY famous Disco in New York City and couldn’t believe my ears. I knew my musical tastes were eclectic…but I actually thought I was hallucinating. Arthur Prysock??? Where was I? No, this wasn’t the Blue Note or Jazz club…this was a Disco! I couldn’t mask the smile on my face and ran out the next day to purchase the vinyl recording…YES…vinyl! I lost all of my vinyl recordings, every 78, 45 and 33 1/3 I ever owned in one fell swoop and am still trying to re-coup the loss. When I found this on CD I knelt down and kissed the ground! If you love Prysock…just do yourself a favor and buy this CD. You will never be sorry and you may very well kiss the dance floor you’ll be headed for…even if it’s only in the kitchen. Yes…there are a couple of ballads here as well so get set to drift into his world as he captivates you anew with “Baby, I’m The One.” He is the one…an original and very real talent that has spanned the ages and continues to thrill.
Review by Rob Fitzpatrick
Just before the end of the second world war, Arthur Prysock was a 20-year-old jazz singer working with bandleader Buddy Johnson. In 1947 they began having hits together, Prysock’s rich baritone lighting up material like Jet My Love and I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone. By Christmas 1948 Billboard was writing about him being like “a male Sarah Vaughan”. With his chiselled good looks and relentless drive, Prysock would go on to record over 40 albums until his death in 1997, but few were as marvellously odd and joyful as this.
In 1976, when All My Life was battling it out in the charts between Wings At The Speed Of Sound and Alice Cooper “Goes To Hell”, Prysock was in his early 40s (no bad place to be, ahem) and had grown into quite the showman. As a parallel to his recording career he was also the singing spokesman for Lowenbrau beer and it was that dual role that drove one of the biggest hits of his career, “When Love Is New“. A proto-disco anthem, it’s a little bit Barry White and a little bit end-of-the-pier and it features a brace of rattling bongos, a swell of strings and a gloriously wailing sax solo. Produced by John Davis (the Sigma Sound man responsible for Massive Attack’s beloved Be Thankful For What You Got by William DeVaughn), it is the sound of actual musicians creating a soundbed that, within a few short years, would be mixed with Moroder’s Germanic throb to take over the world. But Prysock’s disco is a much gentler beast. All over this album percussion instruments loosen their ties and stretch out just enough for Prysock to lay his baby down on top of them and make such sweet, sweet love they both “enter into another world”. A millimetre either way and this album would be ridiculous but, somehow, Prysock holds it together, even when he’s singing, “the fire in your eyes, makes my lovin’ temperature rise …” Yes, there are moments when it sounds like he’s gawping at the words over the top of a pair of half-moon glasses, barely able to believe what he’s reading, but you’ll love him for it. You really will.