Earl Gaines

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Earl Gaines  

In 1955 Gaines joined up with Louis Brooks & His Hi-Toppers as  lead singer and scored a #2 R & B smash "It's Love Baby (24 Hours a Day)," which has become his signature song since. The outfit didn't score a followup hit and Gaines went solo  for the same label, Excello, in addition to Champion and Poncello resulting a slew of unsuccessful singles. During this time he sang lead for Bill Doggett's band.

In 1966 he finally snagged a hit under his own name with "Best Of Luck To You" (#28 R&B) for the HBR label. He subsequently recorded record for Hollywood, Athens Deluxe/King and Seventy-Seven, including "Hymn Number 5".

Gaines recorded a single for Ace in 1975 ("Drowning On Dry Land") but then embarked on a fourteen year hiatus from the studio and working as a truck driver.

He resurged in 1989 with a new album "House Party" on Meltone Records, and this began his eventual comeback thanks in large part to producer Fred James. James, a Nashville-based producer whose affection for the classic Excello sound also resulted in the resurrection of onetime label staples including Clifford Curry and Roscoe Shelton; for Appaloosa, Gaines issued his 1995 comeback effort, "I Believe in Your Love", and in 1997 he also joined Curry and Shelton for a joint live recording. Since then he's appeared on a host of labels, culminating in his 2008 CD for Memphis-based Ecko Records. Gaines died in 2009 during sessions for his second Ecko outing, "Good To Me"

Album Discography

"The Best Of Luck To You" (HBR 1966)

The Best Of Luck To You 2:48
It's Worth Anything 2:37
Trust In Me 2:38
Too Many Times 2:03
The Door Is Still Open 2:07
Poor Man Gotta Make It 2:34
Don't Take My Kindness For A Weakness 2:30
You Belong To Me 2:27
I Have Loved And I Have Lived 3:04
24 Hours A Day 2:00
Mercy On My Soul 5:19

"Lovin' Blues" (Deluxe 1970)

My Woman 3:05
The Things I Used To Do 3:11
Three Wishes For A Fool 2:40
Fruit From Another Man's Tree 2:35
From Warm, To Cool, To Cold 2:20
24 Hours A Day 2:50
My Pillow Stays Wet 2:24
The Door Is Still Open 2:16
The Meaning Of A Sad Song 3:05
Don't Deceive Me 3:20
Everyday I Have The Blues 5:07

"That's How Strong My Love Is" (Vivid Sound 1979)

1. Turn On Your Love Light
2. Been So Long
3. Soul Children
4. Taking All The Love I Can
5. Since I Lost You
6. Nine Pound Steel
7. That's How Strong My Love Is
8. Hello My Lover
9. Certain Girl
10. Trust In Me
11. It Takes You
12. Lovin' Her Was Easier
(Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)

"Yearning And Burning" (Charly 1986)

1 A Certain Girl
2 I'll Take Care Of You
3 If You Want What I Got
4 Been So Long
5 Taking All The Love I Can
6 Trust In Me
7 Keep Your Mind On Me
8 Turn On Your Lovelight
9 Hymn No. 5
10 Nine Pound Steel
11 It Takes You
12 I Can't Face It
13 That's How Strong My Love Is
14 Since I Lost You
15 Yearning And Burning
16 You're The One

"House Party" (Meltone 1989)

 1. 24 Hours A Day
2. Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey
3. Tell Me Tonight
4. House Party
5. Trust In Me
6. You Don't Know, But I Do
7. Just A "Ennie Wennie" Bit
8. Somebody, Somewhere
9. In A World Like This
10. Every Night Of The Week
11. Olene

"I Believe In Your Love" (Appaloosa 1996)

1. It's Love Baby (24 Hours a Day)
2. Hey Hey I Love You
3. You're Gonna Burn
4. Closer to You
5. Door Is Still Open, The
6. Part Time Love
7. Reap What You Sow
8. Breakdown
9. Drivin' Wheel
10. I Believe in Your Love
11. Take My Love

Roscoe Shelton, Earl Gaines, Clifford Curry "Tennessee R & B Live"  (Appaloosa 1997)

1. Is It Too Late Babe
2. Three Times Seven
3. The Provider
4. Somebody Somewhere
5. Think It Over
6. You Can Make It If You Try
7. Baby Kiss Me Again
8. The Next Time (Excuse Me)
9. She Shops Till She Drops
10. The Door Is Still Open
11. Stagger Lee

"Everything's Gonna Be Alright" (Blacktop 1999)

1. Every Night in the Week
2. Everything's Gonna Be Alright
3. Two Lovers Are Better Than One
4. Sittin' Here Drinkin'
5. Best of Luck Baby
6. Same Thing, The
7. Your Butt's Too Big
8. Brandi and Champagne
9. I'll Carry a Torch
10. You Put a Spell on Me
11. Is It Good to You Baby

"24 Hours A Day" (Black Magic 1999)

1. Best of Luck
2. Now Do You Hear
3. Sittin' Here Drinkin'
4. Love You So
5. If I Could Only Hold Back My Tears
6. Three Times Seven
7. Let Me Down Easy
8. Show Me Something
9. You Are My Sunshine
10. Best of Luck to You, The
11. It's Worth Anything
12. Trust in Me
13. Too Many Times
14. Door Is Still Open, The
15. Poor Man Gotta Make It
16. Don't Take My Kindness for a Weakness
17. You Belong to Me
18. I Have Loved and I Have Lived
19. 24 Hours a Day
20. Mercy on My Soul

"Lovin' Blues: THE STARDAY-KING YEARS 1967-1973" (Westside 1999)

1 My Woman
2 The Things I Used To Do
3 Three Wishes For A Fool
4 Fruit From Another Man's Tree
5 From Warm, To Cool, To Cold
6 24 Hours A Day
7 My Pillow Stays Wet
8 The Door Is Still Open
9 The Meaning Of A Sad Song
10 Don't Deceive Me
11 Everyday I Have The Blues
12 Have Faith (In Me)
13 Tell Me Tonight
14 You Belong To Me
15 Good Good Lovin'
16 Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go (Thrill On The Hill)
17 What In The World Can I Call My Own
18 Don't Deceive Me (Please Don't Go) (Overdubbed Version)
19 I'm The One You Need
20 House Full Of Rooms
21 Sixty Minute Man
22 Little Boy Blue
23 Finger Lickin' (Instrumental)

Roscoe Shelton & Earl Gaines "Let's Work Together" (Cannonball 2000)

1. Let's Work Together
2. Why Do You Worry Me
3. Mercy on My Soul
4. Someday Things Are Gonna Change
5. We've Been Wrong
6. Hello My Lover
7. Rock Me One More Time
8. Blue and Miserably Unhappy
9. I Don't Need You Now
10. Give Me Love
11. Something's Wrong
12. Best of Luck to You
13. Be Good or Be Gone

"The Different Feelings Of Blues & Soul" (Blue Fye 2005)

1. What Is Love
2. Let's Sit Down and Talk Things Over
3. I've Kissed My Last Ass
4. You Don't Love Me
5. Let's Party - Earl Gaines, Varnell, Aaron
6. So Satisfied
7. You're My Baby
8. Mistreated Woman
9. Let Me Live My Life My Way
10. Goodbye My Love
11. I Got to Sit Down and Get a Hold of Myself
12. Slipping Around Must Be Catching

***1/2 Since his mid-90s comeback Gaines has become a bit of a journeyman amongst Blues labels. Blue Fye suits him up with his usual horn-laded Blues. "I've Kissed My Last Ass" & "Let's Sit And Talk This Thing Over" are the standouts. To me Gaines is sounding increasingly like Albert King as a vocalist!

"The Lost Soul Tapes" (Aim 2006)

1. Turn On Your Love Light
2. Been So Long
3. Soul Children
4. Taking All the Love I Can
5. Since I lost you
6. I Can't Face It
7. Hello My Lover
8. A Certain Girl
9. It Take's You
10. I'll Take Care of You
11. You're The One
12. Hymn Number 5
13. Yearning and Hoping
14. Keep Your Mind On Me
15. Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
16. That's How Strong My Love Is
17. If You Want What I Got
18. Nine Pound Steel
19. Trust In Me
20. You're the One

***  Not exactly "lost", just out-of-print and relatively obscure "The Lost Soul Tapes" focuses on material that Gaines recorded for the small, obscure 77 Records label in the early '70s, including singles, B-sides and outtakes. One big plus being his voice was at it's peak.

"Crankshaft Blues" (SPV 2007)

1. Don't Take My Kindness For a Weakness
2. Where Have You Been So Long
3. Crankshaft Blues
4. Someday Things Are Gonna Change
5. Baby Baby What's Wrong
6. You Don't Know But I Do
7. I Believe in Your Love
8. Farther up the Road
9. Good News Real Bad
10. Doctor Lady
11. Hey Hey I Love You
12. It's Love Baby (24 Hours a Day)

*** The black and white photo of Earl Gaines on "Crankshaft Blues" had me thinking this was simply a re-issue of some early recordings but I'm pleased to find it's rather a collection of unreleased and rare cuts recorded during his mid-90s comeback. Gaines was one of several Excello Records giants producer Fred James brought back from retirement (also Al Garner, Roscoe Shelton, Clifford Curry). Prior to his acclaimed 1995 Appaloosa CD "I Believe In Your Love" Gaines had released only one record between 1978-1995 during which he survived as a cross-country trucker. The album in question, 1989's "House Party", barely made a blip on the radar. Then in the early 90s James asked Gaines to be part of "Excello Legends" revue at the Blues Estafette festival in Holland and this ignited a true comeback.

"Crankshaft's" 12 tracks are made up of four unreleased tracks from those '95 Appaloosa sessions ("Don't Take My Kindness For Weakness", "Where Have You Been So Long", "Good News Real Bad" & "Doctor Lady"); five tracks from the out-of-print albums "Tennessee R N B" and "Excello Legends Live" credited to the Excello Legends ("You Don't Know But I Do", "I Believe In Your Love", "Farther Up The Road", "Hey Hey I Love You" & "It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)" and a duet with Roscue Shelton ("Someday Things Are Gonna Change") from "Let's Work Together". Thus, like Shelton's similar "Save Me" (also released this year on SPV), this disc ranks as a surprisingly strong "new" album.

"Nothin' But The Blues" (Ecko 2008) 

1. 24 Hours a Day
2. Let's Call a Truce
3. Meat and Potatoes Man
4. Let the Past Be the Past
5. If I Could Do It All Over
6. You Better Know Your Hole from Mine
7. Everything Sweet Reminds Me of You
8. Good Old Country Boy
9. Nothing But Party Blues
10. Cheat on Schedule

**** Much applause to the indomitable Ecko Records for this 106th cd release on the label. Ecko has some harsh critics in the mainstream Blues world for it's reliance on programming over the years but this loosely-titled "Nothin' But The Blues" manages to appeal to Southern Soul and 12-bar Blues fans alike. It opens with a ripping version of Gaines' signature song "24 Hours A Day". This is followed by the melodic slowie "Let's Call A Truce", containing one of Gaines' best vocals I've heard in years.  Pity about Morris J's shrill background vocals though. Then we're back to some Downhome Blues ("Meat And Potatoes Man"). That's pretty much how it goes- a Blues number ("You Better Know Your Hole From Mine", "Cheat On Schedule") followed by a Soulful ballad ("Everything Sweet Reminds me Of You", "If I Could Do It All Over") and I'll grade them a B or better song wise on each (sans the blatant "Mississippi Boy"-ripoff "Good Old Country Boy").

There's real horns (arranged by Harrison Calloway) and a live rhythm section (no programs) yet John Ward still makes it sound like an Ecko LP. I'm talking the really good kind ala the first couple Bill Coday, Barbara Carr albums for the label. This translates to: Blues slobs won't complain and the chitlin' circuit will dig it as true Soul/Blues. Well done lads.

"Good To Me" (Ecko 2010)

1. I'd Like To Try It One More Time
2. I Don't Wanna Be Here
3. It Ain't Easy To Tell the One You Love Goodbye
4. I Just Don't Know Anymore
5. You've Been Good To Me
6. Good Old Country Boy
7. I'm Throwing In the Towel
8. Let the Past Be the Past
9. If I Could Do It All Over
10. Let's Call a Truce

***1/2 Gaines passed way before sessions for his second Ecko album were wrapped up but label boss John Ward was able to piece a mighty fine album together from the new tracks that were finished ("You've Been Good To Me", "I'm Throwing In The Towel", etc.) some outtakes I'm guessing due to the production procured from Gaines' longtime collaborator Ted Jarrett ("I'd Like To Try It One More Time", "It Ain't Easy To Tell The One You Love Goodbye"), and alternate versions (different mixes) of a few tracks from "Nothin' But The Blues". Both "Let's Call A Truce" and "If I Could Do It All Over" are presented without synthetic horns and come off even more moving.

"You Got The Walk" (Phantom 2010)

1. You Got The Walk
2. A Fool's Advice
3. The Preacher's Daughter

4. Living On Borrowed Time
5. Love And Tenderness
6. Shoulda Been Me
7. Stacked In The Back
8. Mercy On My Soul
9. Part Time Love
10. You're Gonna Burn
11. Somebody Somewhere
12. Breakdown

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