|If I could sum up this show in one word, it would be "wonderful." With Billy Paul accessible to his fans before and after the free outdoor noontime concert, posing for pictures and signing autographs to any and all who asked, there was just a warm vibe in the air throughout the afternoon.
And with the 72 year old vocalist stripped down to his undershirt on this hot day, it felt like you were in someone's backyard at a party.
Only this party had a world class vocalist who hadn't lost a note with a killer band. Stating that he was a humanitarian who "loved people" Paul certainly gave off that vibe throughout the generous hour and a half set as he performed all his classic hits. You could see he loved every minute he was up there. Whether he was scatting, laughing, or giving out sage like advice about raising the kids, this performer who referred to himself as "elderly," gave a performance that was somehow warm and fun yet still intense with his remarkable voice and powerful lyrics.
Few performers could walk that fine line, but Billy Paul did just that. Billy ended the memorable show with "Am I Black Enough For You?" and fan after fan literally stormed to the stage just to shake his hand. It was that moving a performance.
Billy Paul remains a national treasure.
-- By: Evan Ginzburg
|Thanks for your best wishes. The jury was out for less than an hour. They came back with a finding in Billy's favor on EVERY point.
Gamble & Huff will probably appeal the verdict, but the jury was so pissed off at the arrogance of G&H, the "creative bookingkeeping "done by Sony, and at discovering how blatently and systematically Sony and PIR under-reported Billy's earnings. Our lawyers doubt that a higher court will overturn our verdict. The case was heard in Federal District court in L. A. That is another blessing because Federal cases don't drag on for years like they do in State Court.
But for now, I will stay in today and rejoice in the moral victory and in the fact that, our Higher Power was in full effect and said enough is enough and awarded Billy every penny our legal team proved was withheld from him by the record company. (The jury even awarded him a little bonus) Smile
In addition G & H will have to pay us interest on that money going back to '94 (statue of limitations). Oh yes, "the chickens came home to roost." Winning this case opens the door for all of those other artists whose royalties were withheld or under-accounted to go to court and seek justice, and to know that they have a good chance of winning their case.. This is just the beginning of G&H's worst nightmare. The avalanche cometh.
I just wanted to check in with a quick report on the Billy Paul show over at Gloria's Seafood in the Fairmount section of Philly on Sunday afternoon 9/16/2001.
The SOLD OUT show was excellent
I would estimate the crowd to be around 200
BILLY PAUL'S WEBSITE
I was there for the first set, which began at 4pm
The crowd was "Old School Philadelphia", not unlike the crowd that I was a part of last November at Showmans Lounge in Harlem for the Jack McDuff benefit show, just shortly before his passing.
................BRO JACK MCDUFF
BRO JACK MCDUFF
This was the "1950's pinky ring wearing folks" that reminded me of friends of my parents. These are the REAL "old school people", who have not only seen it ALL, they have also "DONE IT ALL"
Billy performed a wonderful 1 hour "classic jazz" set complete with scatting and vocal gymnastics, with a few of his R&B hits from the 70's mixed in.
Those of you who think of him strictly as a "pop singer" are going to be pleasantly surprised
Anyhow, here is a song by song review.
· · WHERE ARE YOU BILLY BOY
Billy strolls out onstage in a BLCK VELVET SUIT AND HAT. The "brim" is just that, it's the type of "brim" that my grandfather used to wear, that 1950's style SERIOUS "brim". The song is autobiographical and seems to be fitting this crowd who is also "old school Philadelphia". Billy is genuinely happy to be on the stage and singing to "his people", PHILLY STYLE! Billy mentions to the audience "I started out as singing jazz, most people don't know that". He also dispenses with his jacket
· · BILLY'S BACK HOME
Another autobiographical song. If you have a copy of Billy's new LIVE CD called "LIVE WORLD TOUR" (which you can order from his website at:BILLY PAUL'S WEBSITE ) then you are quite familiar with it. Billy continues in the same groove, also acknowledging folks in the audience that he knows as well as a few relatives.. Billy cooks right along with the trio that is backing him up. The inclusion of these two songs right at the beginning of the set seem to be designed to establish Bill's comfort level with the audience. The audience claps on each note that Billy sings. He is singing jazz and you can tell that both Billy and the audience are in a groove together. Once that comfort level is established, it is clear that we are all in for a treat.
· · JUST IN TIME
Billy starts the song out by saying that he is hot, and starts rolling up his sleeves. A woman blurts out.."take off the shirt", Billy laughs and proceeds to roll up his sleeves and then, Billy starts a scattin and the audience starts to lose it!
· · OLD FOLKS
Billy announces: This next song is dedicated to Mr. Eddie Green, who was the arranger of Billy's 1970's hit song "This Is My Life" and who also played on the 1972 Grammy winner, "Me and Mrs Jones". I thought that was a nice tribute. Here you could visually see Billy "FEELIN IT" as his body "contorts" in a different direction with each note that he sings
BILLY PAUL'S WEBSITE
· · SLEEPING BEE
Just as all good jazz singers do, Billy Paul turns his voice into an instrument and literally becomes "just another member of the band"! He sings "high" and "low" based on the "swing" of the other instruments in the band. He improvises at the same time as he follows
· · EBONY WOMAN
Billy starts this song out for a moment of silence for the victims of the events of 9/11/2001 and adds "we got to pray together and stay together, no matter what goes down". He also mentions the fat that he will be leaving in a few days to do a series of concerts in Brazil and then on to do more shows in Paris. Then he dedicates this beautiful love song which you all might remember from his 1970's LP entitled "Ebony Woman" to his wife Blanche (who happened to be sitting right next to me). The song itself is an anthem to ALL Black women. Billy sings the HELL out of it!
· · THANKS FOR SAVING MY LIFE
Billy's "Uncle Woody" happens to be sitting in the audience and so he dedicates this song to him. The song as many of you will recall is a mid tempo tune, so "Uncle Woody" gets up and starts dancing near his table. Billy reacts by beginning to take a stroll thru the audience first over to "Uncle Woody" and then later moving with ease throughout the rest of the audience, seemingly "thanking them as well"!
· · LOVE BUDDIES
There is NO WAY I could possibly be objective about this song. At the very beginning of the song Billy starts talking about Soul-Patrol, giving the members BIG PROPS for providing a wealth of information about the past present and future of Black music/culture and preserving it for future generations. He also spoke of it in terms of the "internet family" that has also grown up around it. I suppose the title of the song says it all? Then Billy asks me to stand up and take a bow for the audience and they begin to applaud me! It was a surreal moment for me on a personal level, and one that I will always cherish.
· · APRIL IN PARIS/I LOVE PARIS
Singing STANDARDS is a true test for anyone who calls themselves a "jazz singer". Billy takes these two standards and forms a beautiful medley out of them. His interpretation is soulful and emotional. Personally I'd like to see him do an entire album of this type of music
· · ME AND MRS JONES
Billy starts out this song by saying that people ask me all of the time, if I'm ever going to do a sequel to Mrs Jones and I have told them that Mrs. Jones Stands Alone". One of the things that must be truly frustrating for any artist is to be known as a "one hit wonder". It must be especially frustrating when the artist when you have had a career that actually has consumed over 40 YEARS of time and you have worked with everyone from Gamble and Huff, the whole Philadelphia International crew (Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, O'Jays, Intruders, etc), the "old school" Philadelphia Jazz Tradition (John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Sun Ra,etc), DOO WOP (the Flamingos) and more. How frustrating must it be when you have had such a full and diverse career, to not only be pigeonholed as an "R&B singer", but even worse to be know to most of the public as a "one hit wonder""? Surely there must be a "love/hate" relationship with that one song?
Instead, he sings the HELL out of the song!
He moves about the audience with ease, selecting women in the audience to sing certain parts to individually. With each successive lady that Billy sings to, that lady SWOONS and soon he's got the entire audience of females SWOONING along!
The concert ends on a high note with Billy thanking everyone for coming out!
Billy Paul surely deserves a better treatment in history than he has been given to this point in his career. At this point in time he wants to be known as a "jazz singer" and surely he's got the talent to do exactly that.
If you get a chance to go and see him live, please do so and after the show, you will be more than pleased!
For those of you who are unable to catch Billy perform live, I would highly recommend picking up on his "LIVE WORLD TOUR CD", which is available from his website at the following link:
BILLY PAUL'S WEBSITE
Feel free to drop Billy an email directly from the site and when you do, be sure to tell him that I said hello!
Live World Tour 1999 2000
This is a live album recorded in several venues from Sao Paulo Brazil, Paris France, Bermuda and Philadelphia :)
It marks the return of one of the finest and most popular artists in Classic Soul. This live recording is going to come as a surprise to those of you who think of Billy Paul as a "one hit wonder"!
Pick up on it at Billy's website
BILLY'S BACK HOME
Nice mellow/jazzy slow jam that is a perfect "table setter" for the rest of the album. Written for Billy by FUNK MASTER Dexter Wansel
Billy's voice soars here on this mellow slow jam that is seamless with the previous cut, "Billy's Back Home"
WHEN LOVE IS NEW
I remember this song not necessarily as a big hit song, but as one of them SERIOUS GRINDERS from back in the day, that would often times find the walls, corners and spaces behind hot water heaters at big city blue light basement parties, more crowded than the middle of dance floors.
Performed live this song takes on a slightly different feel, it's a much more "mature" song that the song I remember getting all sweated up to as a teenager and for me it's just perfect
THIS IS YOUR LIFE
Remember the AWESOME version of this song by Phyllis Hyman?
Billy takes the song and makes it his own, using gentle jazz phrasings and improvisation. The female background singers provide just enough of a hint of Phyllis to bring a tear to your eye. I wonder if Billy ever sung this song as a duet with Phyllis? It's done with so much intensity/passion…..just beautiful
Thanks for Saving My Life
This song will bring back some pleasant memories if you are like me, "a child of the 1970's". It's a very nice pop song that would have probably become a standard, had Billy's career gone a little differently. It's a song filled with a positive groove that is characteristic of a lot of 1970's music. Today as we enter a new millennium, it seems to be just the ticket to bring a badly needed smile to our faces as we face the troubled times ahead
LETS GET IT ON/WHAT'S GOING ON
"As you know I was a part of the Flamingos and the ORIGINAL Blue Notes and this person I'm talking about was in the Moonglows. He was my spiritual brotha cause I loved him to death. We ate and cried together…."
Pretty emotional, eh?
After an introduction like that, you BETTA deliver the goods, and Billy Paul doesn't disappoint us at all. If you loved these songs by Marvin Gaye, then you will Love this LIVE tribute to Marvin, done Billy Paul, two "soul brothers" in more ways than one!
WAR OF THE GODS
Now if you hung out with the music of Billy Paul during the 1970's you are likely to think about this "kozmic funk" song on multiple levels…
· A GREAT basement party slow jam
· One of those songs that always seemed to come on when you were sitting around in a "blacklit/incence filled room"
· You will remember it as the title song of an album with perhaps one of the TOP TEN BEST LP COVERS OF ALL TIME
However you remember the song, Billy Paul TEARS UP this live version of it, accompanied by some beautiful background singers!
I BELIEVE I CAN FLY
Billy does a nice job on this modern day classic song, originally done by R. Kelly. I suppose that this song is destined to become a 'pop standard", if someone like Billy Paul is covering it.
Remake of the Elton John classic. This rendition by Billy Paul is a good demonstration of his versatility. So far on this album he has sung jazz, soul, funk and now pop. Therefore he can fit into most radio formats. Near the end of the song he even does a gospel twist on the song!
The big question is why we aren't hearing his music being played on the radio?
I have never liked this song regardless of who sings it (sorry Billy)
ME & MRS. JONES
You all know the song
A few of you have even lived it :)
The real point here is that this "one hit wonder", really is a masterpiece.
It's sweet, sexy and jazzy
It's "uptown" and it's "downtown" at the same time
The music is great
The story is timeless
You loved it then…
You will love this version of it more
Just like fine wine, some things ONLY get better with time!
Overall this is a fine album.
It's a LIVE document of one of the most underrated performers of the Classic Soul era. Thank goodness he is still here with us so that we can continue to enjoy his musical talents!
Billy Paul and his music are well worth checking out again.
Chances are that you missed out on the BEST parts of him, the first time around.
Best of all, this is an excellent album to throw on the stack at 3am and you won't mind pressing the repeat button :)
You can get more information and even cop the album at Billy's website
Take a look and check it out & if you pick up this album, be sure and let me know what you think?