George Louis Pride was born May 24, 1950 in Chicago up on the north side of the Windy City. Like countless other soul and blues singers he had gospel roots; he attended First Baptist Church pastored by Reverend E.J. Cole, the father of Nat King Cole. But after watching a BB King performance with his mom, blues singing became a career goal. Nothing much happened until a two year stint singing with The Karls on service shows in Germany; upon returning home he formed a duet with a female singer who went by the initial's JLC; the pair had a Sam & Dave-type act and got along so well they married and settled in El Paso, TX. It was while living in El Paso that Pride cut the classic single "I'm Com'n Home in the Morn'n" b/w "I'm Not Thru With You" on Seumi Records in the early '70s. Other 1970s' singles include: "Look Out on Love," "We're Only Fooling Ourselves," "You've Got to Work for Love," and "Been Such a Long Time". He cut his first album, "Very Special" (reissued as "Gone Bad For A Very Special Reason" in 1988), in 1979 while living in Albuquerque, NM, for Black Gold Records. He was introduced to Curtis Mayfield and cut an album ("Gone Bad Again") for the Curtom label. Ichiban Records released a CD on Pride in 1997 and Ice House Records produced "I Won't Give Up" in 2000. His best work began being released on Severn Records in 2002. Two terrific new studio albums, "Words Of Caution" (2002) & "Keep On Believing" (2005), were released, in addition to a collection of Lou's early 70's material ("The Memphis/El Paso Sessions 1970-1973").
Lou Pride died June 5th 2012. His final studio album will be released in the fall of 2013 by Severn Records.
"Very Special " (Black Gold 1979)
reissued as "Gone Bad For Very Special Reason"
"Gone Bad For Very Special Reason" (Black Gold 1988)
1. Gone Bad Again
*** Soul/funk album contains lots of up-tempo dance numbers including a fast version of Luther Ingram's classic, "If Love You is Wrong (I Don't Want to be Right)." The title song ("Very Special") was also released as a single.
"Gone Bad Again" (Curtom/Ichiban 1990)
1. Gone Bad Again
**1/2 Dated production somewhat dampers this release on Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Records. Disc includes "I Didn't Take Your Woman" & "Gone Bad".
"Love At Last" (WMB 1996)
1. Gone Bad
*** Pride updates some of his old songs like "I'm Comin' Home In The Mornin'", "Very Special" and "Gone Again". Perhaps the best cut is the Memphis soul of the title cut.
"Twisting The Knife" (Ichiban 1997)
1 I Had A Talk With
"I Won't Give Up" (Icehouse 2000)
1. Ace of Spades
*** Another high energy set featuring more very fiery gospel-affected soul blues. A couple great Pride originals stand out (the bottom-heavy thumper "Might Give Out" & lovely slow soul "Blessing From God"). Bob Greenlee contributes more gooduns ("Love From A Stone" & "Deeper Shade Of Blues"). Roy Roberts' thumping "Comin' Thru The Back Door" tests the limits of speakers everywhere. I want to hear it woofers next. The 14-song set also reprises two choice cuts from his last album, "Twisting The Knife" and "I Had A Talk With My Baby".
"Words Of Caution" (Severn 2002)
1. Words of Caution
****1/2 Right from the stunning opener "Words Of Caution", which sounds like a lost Hi Records hit that would have fit nicely on an O.V. Wright album, this excellent disc exudes class on every cut. No corners were cut. You got a 7-piece horn section arranged and conducted by Willie Henderson, whose credits include the Chi-Lites, Tyrone Davis & Jackie Wilson for Brunswick Records. A flawless rhythm section made up of Robb Stupka on drums, Jon Moeller on guitar, Steve Gomes on bass and Benjie Perecki's exemplary Hammond organ playing. Best of all are the A-list songs. "You Were Never Mine", & "You Are My Rainbow" are two beautiful soul ballads, benefited by Pride's smooth soul voice with a gentle vibrato that slides nicely into the blues, gospel or even a touch of jazz.. Two of the best old timey soul songs I've heard in years. There's not a bad song or performance to be found- quality retro-soul all the way. Pride has excellent taste too in covering two Roy (Hammond) classics: "Don't Blame The Man" and "After The Party" (adapted from "After The Disco Is Over"). The overall production by David Earl & Steve Gomes is superb. Few labels put out such rich sounding music these days. Bravo!
"The Memphis/El Paso Sessions 1970-1973" (Severn 2003)
1. Your Love Is Fading
*** Some legendary recordings finally released on CD in 2003. Most notable is the great "I'm Com'n Home in the Morn'n", a dramatic midtempo builder with a chugging beat with inspired horn blasts. It has subsequently become so big on the UK's northern soul scene that Kev Roberts' "Northern Soul Top 500" book places it in the #77 slot with a current value of £1,000 on original 45. There's two versions of another great song, "Your Love Is Fading". Pride tries his hand at some 70s funk on the message songs "A Message For The People" & "Phoney People". He also does an idiosyncratic version of James Brown's "It's A Man, Man's World".
"Keep On Believing" (Severn 2005)
1. Midnight Call
*** Severn Records has been releasing some of the best produced soul, blues & gospel CDs of any label the last 6 years or so. Seems every two years they drop a masterpiece or darn close to it. Especially noteworthy was last year's tour de force "Did You Ever Wonder?" by Tad Robinson. In 2002 it was Lou Pride's excellent "Words Of Caution" and Roy Gaines' "New Frontier Lover" graced the year 2000. So far in 2005 they've already released a fine Sugar Ray & The Bluetones disc so I've been anxious to hear the new one by Lou Pride, one of my personal favorites. "Keep On Believing" is a 13-song collection of Memphis Soul and blues expertly produced by David Earl. Pride is a smooth singer, with a rich, expressive croon. So like the last album you got the right singer and producer plus all the ingredients for greatness- lilting Hammond organ by Benjie Porecki, pulsating bass by Steve Gomes, dry, icy guitar licks courtesy of John Moeller and of course the fabulous horn section (Kenny Rittenhouse, Kevin Burns, Scott Young, Jeff Antoniuk, Scott Silbert, Ron Diehl and John Jensen). So why am I not raving about this album? Hey, it's mighty good. The pumping "Midnight Call" is a classic Memphis mover and "I Can't Hold it" is a funky slice of soulful blues with phat bass and guitar soloing from Moeller. (Moeller really goes off on the slow blues "Sunrise"). Perhaps the best is the instantly classic "Love Will Make It Alright". But overall "Believing" is heavy on groove and light on melody. Despite the on point rhythm section some songs lack hooks you can sink your teeth into. For example the chuggin' "I Wanna Be The Man You Want" preps you for a knockout refrain that just doesn't pay off- it's anti-climactic. I want to love it but it just frustrates. I do like it though. Pride's update of his classic "I'm Com'un Home In The Morn'un" is transformed into a generic bottom-ended booty shaker. It loses that building tension and drama of the original. I had to go back and hear the first version to remember how great it is. As a Pride admirer I'm still glad to have some new music. It's better than most of what's out there and I think I've been spoiled by past glories. Had this been released by someone else I would be raving.
"Ain't No More Love In This House" (Severn 2013)
Ain't No More Love in This House