One of my favorite activities is hanging out with resident funky drummer and GED Soul Records engineer, Nick DeVan combining record collections, online resources and good ole fashioned taste to come up with some DYNO-MITE Podcasts of Soul Music. He’s the specialist on Mr. Barry White, but I was able to add some tasty vinyl to the mix and learn a lot about a production genius. Here’s the Set List with Album Info:
- “I Love to Sing the Songs I Sing” (Title track- 1979)
- “Bring it on Up” – Love Unlimited Orchestra (Music Maestro Please-1975)
- “Never Gonna Give You Up” (Stone Gon’ 1973)
- “Well We Finally Made it” (LU-Under the Influence-1973) (BW-Can’t Get Enough-1974)
- “Falling in Love is a No No”- Westwing (Produced by BW-1973)
- “Harlem Shuffle”- Bob and Earl (Co-arranged by BW and Gene Page-1963)
- “Theme From Banana Splits” (Written by BW- 1968?)
- “Where Can I Turn To” (No Limit On Love-1974)
- “Theme From Together Brothers” (TB Soundtrack- 1974))
- “Get Away” (Together Brothers Soundtrack- 1974)
- “You’re the One I Need” (The Message is Love-1979)
- “I Don’t Know Where Love Has Gone” (Let the Music Play-1976)
- “Now I’m Gonna Make Love to You” (Is This Whatcha Want?- 1976)
- “I’ll Do For You Anything You Want Me To” (Just Another Way- 1975)
- “Playing Your Game, Baby” (BW Sings for Someone You Love- 1977)
The studio musicians involved in the Barry White recordings, much like the Motown catalog, are steeped in mystery. He gives no credit to the individuals who really made his work come alive, and from all of our research, much of the online community is still doing a tremendous amount of speculating. There are the incredible arrangements by Gene Page who is tied into the productions with Barry and gets his due. But who is that big time hi-hat? Who’s behind that perfectly synced bass line and kick drum so unique to Mr. White’s writing? Part of the mystery has been unlocked with the wonderful discovery of the great LA studio drummer Ed Greene living right here in Middle Tennessee. And long story short, Nicky D. found out pretty quick that he was getting a drum lesson from the drummer on all the Barry White recordings! Once you spot his style from all of his credited studio work, he’s unmistakable, and hopefully one more hidden name will get his full credit.
“Mean” Mr. Greene believes that on most of the Barry sessions, he was accompanied by Wilton Felder on bass (prominently from the Jazz Crusaders). This makes perfect sense as Wilton was being used by Motown as well. (Jackson 5 immediately comes to mind; there’s no doubt that he’s thumping on “I Want You Back”). He also confirmed what is a pretty logical conclusion. Wah Wah Watson and David T. Walker killing it on guitars throughout many of the greatest records. I spotted a writing credit for Ray Parker Jr. on one tune, meaning he probably got in on the guitar chair with Mr. Watson and Mr. Walker too. Wah Wah and Ray Parker were Herbie Hancocks’ guitarists on the albums “Man-Child “and “Secrets.” These are more examples of the depth of music that was made in LA during the 1970’s by a fabulous crew of tight musicians.
This is only Volume 1 of our exploration into the vast collection by the maestro. Hope you enjoy digging deep.