Donnie Ray

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Donnie Ray

Donnie Ray was born in Texarkana, Texas on July 4, 1959 and began performing with his father's band, the Aldredge Brothers Band, when fifteen. He not only mastered lead and bass guitars, the keyboard, and drums, Donnie Ray branched out and began writing lyrics for recording studios. Inspired by the Motown Sound artists and such musical legends as Bobby "Blue" Bland, Tyrone Davis, and B. B. King, Donnie Ray has worked with such artists as Millie Jackson, Marvin Sease, and numerous others.

Donnie Ray's first CD, "Let's Go Dancing" on the Susie Q label, spawned a Chittlin' Circuit hit called  "Letter To My Baby". After a less successful followup, "Are You Ready For Me", Ray signed with Ecko Records and has been releasing a steady stream of cds since.

Album Discography

"Let's Go Dancing" (Susie Q 2000)

1. Let's Go Dancing
2. Get It While It's Hot
3. A Letter to My Baby
4. Hip Slide
5. Nobody
6. Cry of a Broken Heart
7. I Found It in You
8. Straight up in Your Love
9. Groove Juice
10. Get It While It's Hot
11. A Letter to My Baby
12. Cry of a Broken Heart

"Are You Ready For Me" (Susie Q 2003)

1. Never Meant to Be Alone
2. Come Back
3. One Slip
4. From Now On
5. I'm in the Mood
6. Let's Keep Love Together
7. I've Been Cheating
8. You Put a Spell on Me

"I'll Be Good To You" (Ecko 2005)

1. I'll Be Good to You
2. Bang That Thang
3. I Belong to You
4. I Never Dreamed
5. It's Just a Party Thing
6. Forever This Love
7. I'd Rather Have You Than Memories
8. Bottoms Up Again!
9. Too Close for Comfort
10. Back to the Basics

*** Ray's new one already has a Top 10 hit on the Southern Soul Chart with the title track, an upbeat head-bobber. Ray produced most of this disc himself and he does a fine job but if you're expecting that indomitable Ecko Records sound you will only hear it on "It's Just A Party Thing" & "Bottoms Up Again", both produced by Ecko's John Ward. (Irritatingly, this is the third artist in as many years to cover "Bottoms Up". The first hit version by Quinn Golden was enough). Ray writes most of his own material like the midtempo stepper "I Never Dreamed", which also includes his best vocal, and the slowies "I Belong To You" & "I'd Rather Have You Than Memories".

"Don't Stop My Party" (Ecko 2006)

1. Is It Your Place Or Mine
2. Seven Long Years
3. Something Bout The Music
4. Don't Stop My Party
5. Sweeter To me
6. Back Up And Try It Again
7. Master Of Love
8. Can I Talk To You
9. Sexy Lover
10. Come On Let's Dance
11. Sexified

****1/2 Donnie Ray has arrived. He's had some hits in the past ("Let's Go Dancing", "I'll Be Good To You") but his albums were only flirting with greatness. On "Don't Stop My Party" he pops the question. 11 cuts of pure cream. Right from the drum intro of track 1 ("Is It Your Place Or Is It Mine?") all the way through the closer the quality is relentless! Ray, a decent record producer on his own, wisely gives the job to hit man John Ward who again provides that "big" sound Ecko is known for. Ray & his fellow songwriters must've had their Wheaties n' whiskey when composing these tunes. There's more hooks in here than Bill Dance's tackle box. "Is It Your Place", "Something 'Bout The Music", "Don't Stop My Party", "Back Up And Try It Again" (Curtis Steele, Daryl Wilson) & "Sexified" (Raymond Moore, Ward) may cause a booty-shakin' pandemic. Sometimes things just click in the studio. These tracks create excitement, incessantly tickling the ears into submission. On the slow tip "Sweeter To Me" is the best Tyrone Davis-inspired cut I've heard in a decade (even from Tyrone!). Make sure you play the song with a soft carpet 'cuz the ladies will be swooning. "Seven Long Years" is simply gorgeous (and should been sitting atop the singles chart before the year's end). Ray has a deliciously yearning voice and you just feel he's at his peak on this album. Props must again be given to Morris J. Williams whose rhythm tracks, sequencing and Yamaha provide a kinetic pulse. Yes, the disc is part "live" and part "programming" but the bottom line: This is one of the better "Southern Soul" or "Party Blues" discs you'll find.Get your party on.

"Smooth Operator" (Ecko 2007)

1. Smooth Operator
2. Sensual To Me
3. Hip Slide (Part 2)
4. I Can't Wait
5. If I Could Do It All Over
6. Letter To My Baby (Part 2)
7. Booty Hunt
8. So Close
9. Too Many Irons In The Fire
10. Play It Off
11. She's Already Taken
12. So Anxious

*** Ecko Records has now been in operation for a dozen years and still uses that same radio n' club-friendly production sound- a mix of live and synthesized instruments that irks the purists but is embraced by fans of the unfairly-maligned "Southern Soul" genre. Donnie Ray had perhaps the best release in 2006 for the label ("Don't Stop My Party"), which had an off year overall in terms of quality. It's 2007 and "Smooth Operator" is a good start- a satisfyin' set of Ray originals and new material from the Ecko writing squad (John Ward, Morris J, John Cummings, etc). Two of Ray's early hits ("Hip Slide" & "Letter To My Baby")  appear in so-called "Part 2" incarnations- perhaps superfluous for fans who have the originals...but these new takes are superior and you still get ten more more tracks (twelve tracks is rare for the label). The likely first single is the bumpin' title track, a duet with O.B. Buchana. Not an outstanding track but catchy enough to chart. Other notables include "Booty Hunt", "Too Many Irons In The Fire" (very similar to a Clay Hammond song of the same name) and the sweet ballad "Play It Off".

"You've Got Me" (Ecko 2008)

1. Two Heads Are Better Than One
2. You're My Angel
3. It Was Just My Luck
4. You're Leaving
5. You've Got Me
6. Without You
7. If I Had It My Way
8. I'm Getting Too Close
9. Can You Hoochie Dance?
10. She's Got My Vote
11. Give Me That Lovin'

*** For the third January in a row we are graced with a new Donnie Ray album courtesy of the prodigious Ecko Records.  It offers no surprises but that's a good thing! It's just what you're used to. Above avergae upbeat Southern Soul dancers, ballads and a lil' Blues. Actually, as for the latter style, "You're Leaving" is his first stab at Downhome Blues to my memory. In my opinion his voice is too pretty for Blues and is perfect for sugary slowies like "You're My Angel" and "I'm Getting Too Close" or  energetic bumpers like "Two Heads Are Better Than One".

Lots of hit potential. In addition to the aforementioned "Two Heads" & "You're Angel" ,  Ecko writers Raymond Moore and John Ward mine more gold out of that "Booty Scoot"/"Hoochie Dance" formula with "Can You Hoochie Dance?".  As a wildcard I'd pick "She's Got My Vote" since it's an election year.

"Caught By The Cat" (Ecko 2009)

1. You Keep Snatchin' It Back
2. This Time the Dog Got Caught by the Cat
3. Just Give Me My Blues
4. I'm Your Sucker
5. Just My Woman and Me
6. I'm Gonna Try Again
7. She Used to Be My Girl
8. Are You in or Are You Out?
9. Don't Let Your Pride Overpower Your Love
10. Whatever You Want I Got It

"It's BYOB" (Ecko 2009)

1. It's Byob
2. You've Got It
3. Two Places At the Same Time
4. This Time the Dog Got Caught By the Cat (remix)
5. Your Love Has Got a Hold On Me
6. It's Love Power
7. I Never Had Nobody To Love Me Like You Do
8. Just One Night
9. Two Can Play That Game
10. I'm Unleveled
11. Come On Let's Dance

"Who's Rockin' You?" (Ecko 2011)

1. A Good Woman
2. I'm Gonna Keep My Love At Home
3. Who's Rockin' You?
4. Too Many Mechanics
5. Straighten Up
6. Three Stars For A Lady
7. Truly Love You Baby
8. Love Monkey
9. I Almost Did It
10. Lovers Paradise

"I'm Goin' Back" (Ecko 2012)

1.I'm Looking For A Woman
2.Southern Soul Blues Slide
3.She's A Real Hot Lady
4.I'm Goin' Back
5.A Secret Is So Hard To Keep
6.Bring Back My Blues
7.I Remember Those Good Old Days
8.Let's Swing Out
9.Are You Ready For Me
10.She Was At The Hideaway
11.If We Can't Get It Right
12.Haven't I Been Good To You
13.Southern Soul Blues Slide (live mix)

"The Best Of" (Ecko 2013)

Who's Rockin' You?
Letter To My Baby (Part 2)
Something About The Music
I'm Gonna Try Again (Southern Soul Shag Mix)
Hip Slide (Part 2)
You're Leaving
Don't Stop My Party
I'm Goin' Back
This Time The Dog Got Caught By The Cat
It's Just A Party Thing
Sensual To Me
I'll Be Good To You
I'm Gonna Keep My Love At Home (remix)

"Drowning In My Own Tears" (Ecko 2014)

1. Real Good Lover
2. Let's Get This Party Started
3. It's a Groove Party
4. I'm Drowning in My Own Tears
5. Play Something Pretty on My Radio
6. Same Woman
7. What About Me
8. If You're Woman Enough
9. Shakin' It Up
10. You Keep Taking Your Love Away

"She's My Honey Bee" (Ecko 2015)

1 Can We Start Our Love All Over?
2 I Got to Have It
3 Hold It and Roll It
4 She's My Honey Bee
5 I'm Still Waiting on You
6 Stone Cold Party
7 I Knew It Was You
8 Mr. DJ Don't Slow the Party Down
9 I Never Had Nobody Love Me Like You
10I'm Gonna Try Again
11Shake It Baby
12Carolina Swing
13I Can't Take Your Wife Back

"Two Way Love Affair" (CDS 2016)

1 Dog House
2 Two Way Love Affair
3 Pop It Baby (Pop That Thang)
4 It's Friday
5 It's Time for Love
6 Take Care of Your Business
7 Outside Love Affair
8 I Wanna Be Your Man
9 Who's Loving You?
10 Don't Want to Be Lonely

"My Southern Soul" (CDS 2018)

1 She's Got That Ooh Wee
2 Grown Folks Spot
3 Still Called The Blues
4 You're So Beautiful
5 On That Gin Ad Juice
6 It's Ladies Night
7 Room 115
8 She Got It Like That
9 You're My Lady
10 Dog House (Extended Club Version)
11 She's Got That Ooh Wee (Extended Club Version)

"I'm Just The Man For You" (Music Access 2022)

1 You Can't Have Your Cake
2 I Don't Want To Lose Your Love
3 I Just Want To Be With You
4 I'm Truely Going To Miss You
5 Let Me Ride That Pony
6 She's Just My Girlfriend
7 I Want To Make Love To You
8 Girl You Got The Right Stuff
9 I'm Just The Man For You
10 We've Got Problems
11 Troubles Don't Last Always (Bonus Gospel Track)


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