Soul-Patrol Newsletter



SPN: Soul/R&B, RIP Ollie Ali Woodson - A Personal Remembrance, Temptations, Norman Connors, Ocean Wave Music Group, TourDe4Force, Analysis and Commentary
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RIP Ollie Woodson

Ali WoodsonFormer Temptations lead singer Ali Woodson passed away over the weekend. News reports say that the cause of death was cancer. No arrangements have been announced.

In Pittsburgh, PA, back in the early 1990's my wife and I attended the Norman Connors show, at the University of Pittsburgh African American Alumini students reunion. We had arrived at the show early, in fact early enough to watch Norman Connors & his group setting up. As we were watching them set up, my wife nudged me and said; "who is that guy standing over there, he looks awfully familiar." I said "he sure does, I guess I better go over and ask him." I walked over and started talking with the brotha and discovered that he was Ollie "Ali" Woodson. Of course I had known of him as the one time lead singer of the Temptations ("Treat Her Like a Lady")and found it surprising to see him at this show. Ali said to me; "I'm with Norman now, that Temps thang is over." We talked for a few more moments and then excused myself. Of course that night he did a great job of singing Jazz with Norman Connors.

That was my first encounter with Ali Woodson, but it was far from my last. I have met Ali Woodson a dozen or more times over the years. However I didn't get to know him very well at all. One memorable time was at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx during the mid 2,000's where her rocked the house of 4,000, with of all things a "track show," doing songs from the Temptations catalog. It was probably the best track show I had ever seen in my life, Ali turned the show out. The last time I met Ali Woodson was at James Brown's "wake" at the Apollo in Harlem.

Beyond that I don't know much more about Ollie "Ali" Woodson, then you do. Thank goodness you don't have to depend on me to give you the scoop on Ollie "Ali" Woodson. Thank goodness that we have our friend Marcia Parks to do that for us.

Marcia Parks is the Executive Producer and CEO of the Ocean Wave Music group (http://www.OceanWaveMusicGroup.com and http://www.TourDe4Force.com). Marcia has been working with Ollie "Ali" Woodson on some new projects. As a result Marcia is in a far better position to give you the "up close & personal" obituary on Ollie "Ali" Woodson, that he deserves, than I can. Please read it below, and ya just might find that you will learn quite a bit about Ollie "Ali" Woodson.

--Bob Davis
609-351-0154
earthjuice@prodigy.net

Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com
Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com


ALI OLLIE WOODSON - A PERSONAL REFLECTION
(by Marcia Parks)


Ali Woodson - Never Give Up GREETINGS,

TODAY I AM HEARTBROKEN over the death of former Temptations lead singer ALI OLLIE WOODSON. At only 58, he truly has left us too soon. Ali was one of the most dynamic singers to ever grace the music industry. But even more than that, Ali was one of the most unforgettable people I've ever met.

Working with Ali on the Tour De 4Force project was one of the singular most memorable highlights of my life. As a life-long Temptations fan and especially an Ali Woodson fan, it was an absolute dream come true to work with him! Watching Ali work his magic in the studio was something I will NEVER forget. I will also miss his playfulness and delightful sense of humor. Ali was an absolute hoot to be around! He loved to joke around and was always blurting out something hilariously funny that would have everybody cracking up with laughter. And yet, no matter how much joking around he did, all the while he was still taking care of business in the studio as only Ali Woodson could do!

As you all know, I Co-produced the "Quiet Moon" CD by TD4F with TC Campbell and Ali recorded 2 fantastic songs for us - "Four Walls" and "Heaven Bound," which were also co-produced by Lorrin "Smokey" Bates. "Four Walls" was written by TD4F member Jim Gilstrap and features Scherrie Payne dueting with Ali. This song has been getting a lot of attention in the Chicago area lately and Ali was well aware of the high hopes we had for it reaching other markets across the US. It is very difficult for mature artists to get radio airplay in this country and, like the rest of us, Ali was excited about the prospect of having a song featuring him to bridge that gap. The second song Ali recorded for me was "Heaven Bound," which was also co-written by Lorrin "Smokey" Bates. "Heaven Bound" has now been on the UK charts for more than 9 weeks straight, which is an unbelievable accomplishment. But I am not surprised because Ali did such an amazing job on that song even though he was very sick at the time we recorded it. Of course, at the time we had no idea how ill he actually was when we were in the studio with him that last and final time.

To give you an idea of just how amazing Ali was, I had emailed "Heaven Bound" to him just 2 days prior to recording it. I sent it along with a message asking if he liked it and wanted to record it with me. He immediately called me and simply said in typical Ali Woodson fashion... "YEP-YEP!" He said the day I was going in the studio he would be flying back from a gig in Detroit but he could come directly to the studio as soon as he got off the plane. So, I scheduled his session based on his flight time and, as promised, he arrived, exhausted but ready to fulfill his commitment to me, and we did the session with Ali learning the song on the fly. I'll never forget him having me sing some of the lines to him so he could hear how it was supposed to go. Ali was a perfectionist and very critical and particular about how he wanted each and every note he sang to sound and he pushed himself to deliver an unbelievable performance that day, even though he was actually ill and suffering during that recording session. I learned just how much he was really suffering when I got word about a week or two later that he had been hospitalized shortly after our session. He was very sick. He remained hospitalized for many weeks and over the course of his hospitalization many people had given up hope of him recovering. But Ali was a fighter and showed everyone that he was not ready to give in to his illness. He fought a valiant fight to the end. I am very proud of what we did together in the studio and the fact that Ali was pleased with what would, ultimately, end up being one of his final new recordings featuring him in the lead.

I next saw Ali when I ran into him when we both were picking up our passes to Michael Jackson's memorial service. We chatted briefly and made plans to talk again by phone. I was happy to see him looking so good and being his old joking self. I was feeling confident that he may have beaten the odds and appeared to be on his way to recovery.

I last saw Ali last month, on April 13 - my birthday - at Herb Alpert's club Vibrato. Corine Duke (George's wife) had arranged a gathering there to see Ali perform and to celebrate my birthday. Scherrie Payne, Freda Payne, Jim Gilstrap and our friends Karole and Clodeth were also with us. What a great time we all had together that night and, of course, especially watching Ali sing his heart out. Ali called me the very next day and we talked about "Heaven Bound" and "Four Walls." After that we talked a few more times to discuss our plans for a joint venture that included his final solo CD, "Never Give Up" that he had released late last year. We had come to an agreement to join forces and work together and after he sent me all his song files and promo and booking info, I had him added to the Ocean Wave Music Group site.

(l-r):  Jim Gilstrap (TD4F), Shaun Hicks (Scherrie Payne's Grandson), TC Campbell (Producer), Scherrie Payne (TD4F), OLLIE ALI WOODSON and Marcia Parks (Producer) - Four Walls recording session
(l-r): Jim Gilstrap (TD4F), Shaun Hicks (Scherrie Payne's Grandson), TC Campbell (Producer), Scherrie Payne (TD4F), OLLIE ALI WOODSON and Marcia Parks (Producer) - Four Walls recording session



I was looking forward to working with Ali on future projects. In fact, only a few weeks ago, I had discussed the possibility of him doing a new gospel song with Della Reese. I am really sad that that will not be possible now because I know it would have been a truly AMAZING collaboration of two amazing talents. We had also planned that he would join TD4F in special guest appearances from time to time.

I last spoke to Ali briefly about 2 weeks ago. He was very pleased when I told him that his songs I had sent to the UK had been added to the playlists on some of the stations there. There were plans to feature more of his songs in upcoming weeks. Our plans appeared to be on-track so far. Ali was also slated to perform at Otis Clay's 50th Anniversary in Show Business celebration on June 18th in Chicago. In fact, TD4F member Theresa Davis (former Emotions member) has been in rehearsals for Ali's show for the past 2 weeks. Theresa was going to sing backgrounds for Ali on his show for Otis and was looking forward to working with him. In fact, it was Theresa who first alerted me about the rumor of Ali's death early in the day yesterday when she called me on behalf of Otis to get verification. They had just returned from a gig down south and were, understandably, knocked for a loop when someone called them with a rumor about Ali's death. After a flurry of calls I was still only able to get conflicting information from many who knew Ollie and we were all still unsure of the validity of the news and were holding out hope that it was just a rumor. But, sadly it was eventually confirmed to be true. Of course, both Theresa and Otis are completely devastated by the news.

As I said in the liner notes on the TD4F "Quiet Moon" CD...

"VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ALI OLLIE WOODSON. As a lifelong Temptations fan it was a sincere dream come true to work with you. You are truly amazing."

And may I now simply add...

THANK YOU, ALI, FOR ALLOWING ME TO BE EVEN JUST A SMALL PART OF YOUR WORLD, BUT A VERY SIGNIFICANT AND DISTINCTIVE PART OF MINE. THANK YOU FOR TEACHING THIS NOVICE WHAT IT REALLY IS LIKE TO WORK WITH SOMEONE OF YOUR CALIBER. THANK YOU FOR ALL THE LAUGHS AND THE FUN WE HAD IN THE STUDIO. THANK YOU FOR TRUSTING ME AND FOR ALLOWING ME THE FREEDOM TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR TALENT AND YOUR REPUTATION WITH THE TOUR DE 4FORCE PROJECT. AND, LASTLY, THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO EVEN DREAM OF WORKING WITH YOU AGAIN ON OTHER PROJECTS. I AM SADDENED TO KNOW THAT NOW WE WILL NEVER HAVE THE CHANCE TO EXPLORE THOSE OPPORTUNITIES AND SEE JUST HOW FAR WE COULD HAVE TAKEN IT TOGETHER. BUT I AM THANKFUL THAT GOD HAS BEEN MERCIFUL TO YOU AND ENDED YOUR SUFFERING. GOD HAS CALLED YOU HOME TO SING WITH THE ANGELS NOW, BUT HE HAS BLESSED US WITH SO MANY RECORDINGS AND VIDEOS OF YOU TO KEEP YOUR LEGACY ALIVE. I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU AND I'M SURE I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN ONE DAY.

REST IN PEACE NOW, ALI.
GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU.
Marcia Parks
Executive Producer and CEO
Ocean Wave Music group

I send my sincere condolences to his lovely wife Juanita and family.


(http://www.OceanWaveMusicGroup.com and http://www.TourDe4Force.com)


--Bob Davis
609-351-0154
earthjuice@prodigy.net


 

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earthjuice@prodigy.net

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