TYRONE DAVIS: How Sweet It Is, The Columbia Singles 1976 – 1981 (Label: Superbird)

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TYRONE DAVIS: How Sweet It Is, The Columbia Singles 1976 - 1981

It’s my contention that Tyrone Davis, who passed in 2005, never quite achieved the status which his mid/late 60’s work with the Atlantic-distributed Dakar label promised. In 1976 he signed to Columbia with that major hoping to break the genial Chicagoan into the lucrative pop market. Tyrone, though, stayed true to his soul roots and, working with producers Leo Graham and James Mack he found his own comfort zone – albeit a very, very comfortable one that yielded a sizeable string of R&B hits. He dented the pop top 40 just once – with the restrained and classy disco tune, ‘Give It Up’ and though he recorded more in the same vein he soon realized that his bread and butter lay with the core soul crowd who continued to give him their own massive support both on record and at his frequent live shows. This new 14 tracker collects the best of Davis’ Columbia’s singles and reveals a consummate soulman – totally at home with what he was asked to deliver. The aforementioned ‘Give It Up’ is an obvious focal point with the ‘Disco Lady’-flavoured ‘Get On Up’ running it close as the LP’s best dance cut. But it’s on the ballads that Davis’ artistry really shines through. ‘In The Mood’ is probably his best known smoocher from this era and it’s easy to hear why it regularly crops up on smooth soul and love compilations. But there’s plenty more here that are every bit as good. ‘I Got Carried Away’ is simply sensational. It’s one of those “story” songs that Davis revelled in and it really is a classic, while the country-tinged ‘Can’t You Tell It’s Me’ shows a surprisingly rougher edge. Elsewhere there’s a jaunty take on Marvin Gaye’s ‘How Sweet It’ and another chance to enjoy ‘Just My Luck’ – long a favourite on the UK modern soul scene. As a bonus, the compliers have found ‘Heart Failure’ – a much in-demand item that was only ever available as a radio DJ promo. The song’s another delightful ballad that the legions of Davis fans will cherish.
(BB) 4/5