I have been a fan of Lou Pride since I first heard his 1990 Curtom/Ichiban CD and enjoyed the other releases he had over the past decade. We reviewed his first Severn release in our February 2003 issue of Blues Bytes and anxiously awaited this reissue, The Memphis El Paso Sessions 1970-73 (Severn Records) of his early 1970s sides he recorded for the Texas-based Suemi label. It includes his first recording, "There's Got To Be Someone For Me," that was actually credited to his band the Groove Merchants.
His second single, "I'm Com'un Home In The Morn'un," was released under his name and has become so big on the Northern soul scene in England that a copy fetches over 1,000 pounds there, or approximately $1,600.00 if my conversion rates are accurate. That price is for a single 45.
Six of the tracks were recorded at Willie Mitchell's Royal Recording Studio in Memphis and have that distinctive Hi Records sound. There's an interesting version of James Brown's "It's A Man's Man's World," done here in an up-tempo treatment, and two versions of the equally fine "You Love Is Fading," one recorded in El Paso and the other in Memphis.
We owe Severn Records a thank you for releasing this. A labor of love to be sure. If you get a chance to see Lou Pride live, you're in for a treat. A real soul singer, sort of a throwback to the '70s/'80s when the likes of Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave and Otis Redding ruled the soul circuit. Even a change of wardrobe is a likely show event.
We are blessed to have a performer of this caliber still making great music, and look forward to his next "new" release.
--- Alan Shutro
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