|By john dixon (188.8.131.52) on Tuesday, February 04, 2003 - 07:41 pm:|
I just bought the Billy Stewart Chess compilation, "One More Time", this past weekend and it sure is bringing back alot of memories since I haven't heard some of this material since I had it on 8-track many years ago.
Fall 1969- I had begged, pleaded, and made promises all summer long with my parents and at the 11th hour they finally relented and decided NOT to send me back to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. So, having just turned 15, my focus was on a mission not unlike other normal male teens my age--to be relieved of the cumbersome burdon of my virginity. Even though it would be yet another year before I would be able to drive at night, I felt that I should be ready by having the right mood-setting music. We called them "parking tapes" for obvious reasons. Even though my music purchases at the time were 98% rock and roll, I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere with the girls with my Deep Purple or Cream tapes crankin' in those secluded spots we favored for "parkin'". So I asked some older, more experienced guys for advice in this area and was told that I had to have Billy Stewart's "I Do Love You" and Jerry Butler's "The Iceman Cometh" because, as one of my several friends named Bubba said, "the chicks dig 'em".
Several months later, January '70, my Spanish class was going on a field trip to this great big tourist trap right at the South Carolina/North Carolina line called South Of The Border. Some of the older forum posters might remember it because, before the interstate, if you were coming down the east coast heading to Myrtle Beach or Florida, you had to pass by South Of The Border. The Spanish connection was tenuous at best but it was a field trip and we got to leave the schoolgrounds so we were excited.
Just before we left SOB, as we were ringing up whatever we were buying, I heard the checkout lady ask if any of us had ever heard of the singer Billy Stewart. I was the first to speak up loudly(probably wanting the girls to know I was hip to the slow romantic jams). She got all somber and told the entire bunch of us how Billy and several of his bandmates had stopped in to eat two nights ago and not long after he left, the car he was travelling in ran off the road and plunged into the icy waters of the Nuess River where he and those bandmates riding in the same car all drowned. I was in shock and when I got home that day from school, the first thing I did was play "I Do Love You" and cried. He was only 33 years old.
Listening to his music again these past few days I remember, besides "Sitting In The Park","Fat Boy", "Summertime", and "I Do Love You", some wonderful songs I had forgotten like "Strange Feeling" and "Secret Love". I don't know anybody else that sang quite like him; he was really unique.
|By dvdmike (184.108.40.206) on Tuesday, February 04, 2003 - 08:51 pm:|
A friend of mine, Paul Serrano played trumpet on "Summertime" as did my future high school band teacher, Burgess Gardner. The session, recorded in October 1965 was at Ter-Mar Studios in the Chess Studios building at 2120 S. Michigan Ave, Billy Davis produced the session and Phil Wright was the arranger. I remember Billy from seeing him at the Regal Theatre, once opening for James Brown.
|By Nish (220.127.116.11) on Tuesday, February 04, 2003 - 09:00 pm:|
John, your story was so vivid, I felt like I was right there with you. I have that compilation, and it is a regular on my list. I hope Billy contributed in some small way to your success with the chicks.
|By john dixon (18.104.22.168) on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 05:54 am:|
thanks, Nish, actually Billy didn't speed up my "countdown to exstacy" one iota. What it did was, in retrospect, was much more important; at a time when I was mostly buying rock and roll, Billy Stewart and Jerry Butler added some much needed variety to my palette. Great Chicago soul and early Gamble/Huff Philly Soul have turned out to have much more longevity and relevence than most of the R'n'R I was listening to at the time.
|By KevGo (22.214.171.124) on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 10:33 am:|
My introduction to Billy Stewart's music was through the legendary Murray the K's national radio show "Soundtrack Of The '60s." Years later I would play "I Do Love You," "Sitting In The Park" and "Strange Feeling" on my college radio show along with "Summertime." He also recorded a killer version of the Knight Brothers' "Temptation's 'Bout To Get Me." A great talent sadly missed.
Kevin Goins - KevGo
|By Nish (126.96.36.199) on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 11:05 am:|
I didn't know he covered "Temptations 'BOut To Get Me." Wow! I'm sure that sounds GOOD.
|By Scratcher (188.8.131.52) on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 11:09 am:|
I like Stewart's version of "Temptation 'Bout to Get Me" but to be honest it doesn't touch the Knight Brothers' original.
"Strange Feeling" is Billy Stewart's most underrated recording.
|By Nish (184.108.40.206) on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 11:10 am:|
I love the girls in the background of "Strange Feeling" does anyone know who they are?
|By Randy Russi (220.127.116.11) on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 11:15 am:|
Billy Stewart was a remarkable showman. I saw
him on a package show in the fall of 1966 with
Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Jr. Walker & the
All-Stars, James Carr, the Kelly Bros., Al"TnT"
Braggs & the Al-Tones, TV Mama (Wow!!!) and
maybe a few others. King Coleman was the MC.
What a performer Billy Stewart was! A long
cord on the mic and boy did he know how to
use it. He was great! Sadly, a few years
later, he died in a car crash off a bridge
in somewhere like Mississippi.
|By john dixon (18.104.22.168) on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 11:30 am:|
correction Randy, as mentioned in my opening post, Billy drowned when his car plunged into a river in North Carolina not far from the S.C. line. Man, what a lineup in the show you mentioned! What do you remember about James Carr? What a great southern deep soul voice.
|By R&B (22.214.171.124) on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 11:38 am:|
STRANGE FEELING IS UNDERRATED,WITH IT'S BEAUTIFUL HAUNTING SOUND,HEY NISH,DON'T QUOTE ME ON THIS BUT THE FEMALES MAY BE THE OPALS WHO RECORDED OUT OF CHICAGO.
|By Randy Russi (126.96.36.199) on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 11:49 am:|
Thanks, John! I knew he died in a car crash
somewhere in the South, just couldn't remember
James Carr was good too from what I remember.
His hit at the time, at least in Orlando on
the R&B circuit, was "Love Attack" and he
really performed it well. Can't remember too
much else that he sang.
My brother actually met Billy Stewart and his
wife Juanita. I met her, but not Billy. I
did meet Wilson Pickett.
|By RonS (188.8.131.52) on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 12:44 am:|
Basement party.....one single blue light shining in the middle of the room......pretty girls.....Billy Stewart's "I Do Love You" on the record player......ah, to be 15 again!
|By David Meikle (184.108.40.206) on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 04:14 am:|
Billy's version of "Ole man river" is uptempo and fantastic!
|By RD (220.127.116.11) on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 07:28 am:|
Stewart's homies from D. C. the Jewels ("Opportunity") a.k.a. the Four Jewels performed the feminine backing vocals on some of his recordings but I'm not sure if they're on "Strange Feelings" though it sounds like them. One of the Jewels is related to Stewart.
|By TonyRussi (18.104.22.168) on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 09:06 am:|
I loved Billy Stewarts "Sitting In the Park".I remeber the tingles down my spine when he performed "I Do Love You" and the girls in the audiance would scream.I cried so hard when it came on the radio that he died in that car crash.He was a wonderful person to his fans.His wife, Juanita was very nice too.