11/16/2007

Donnie Elbert





We Got A Good Thing Going

Donnie Elbert Stop In The Name Of Love (DJM DJSLM 2014) 1975 (Trip US in 1973)

Introduction (medley); Stop In The Name Of Love; Never Can Say Goodbye; I Wanna Be Where You Are; My Cherie Amour; I Can't Help Myself; I Heard It Through The Grapevine; We've Got A Good Thing Going; The Way You Do The Things You Do; If You Were My Woman.

Produced by: Donnie Elbert

Donnie did a tribute album to Motown in 1975 and We've Got A Good Thing is my favorite track from it. Donnie was more popular in the UK than his home land and recorded some of his best tracks over here. DJM records stands for Dick James Music and wasn't the most popular UK label for some reason.

Legend Wigan/Torch DJ Dave Evison was the West Midlands traveling sales rep for the company and I always looked forward to his visit at our local record shop to see what he brought with him. I remember Johnny 'Guitar' Watson albums would come out on this label. I must say side one of this album is piss-poor but side two opens with Donnie's superb version of Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, showing the Four Tops his version was one to watch out for. Right from the start he congers up his own clip-clop groove that takes the song to another place.

I was present at an interview with Donnie as a sound engineer in 1972 and I remember him saying that he had gone through record labels like a dose of salts. He was singing professionally by 1954 but it was in 1957 when he recorded his first record for Deluxe Records in Linton, New Jersey with a ballad What Can I Do and it was a national hit by June. I have included the original interview from 1972 and its about 14 minutes long, compleat with music as it went out.


(Listen to a full interview)

Some years later he recorded it again in Jamaica as The Wedding. He also recorded The Sensational Donnie Elbert album for Deluxe and a total of seven singles. Will You Ever Be Mine was his next hit for Chicago's Vee Jay label and soon after he was drafted into the US Army. After he came out of the Army in 1961, singles for Parkway and Checker followed and a 3 year break from music. He then turned down an offer from his friend & Motown producer Harvey Fuqua to join the company and instead in 1963 set his own label in New York Gateway/Upstate. There he wrote and recorded three hit records Run Little Girl, A Little Piece Of Leather & You Can Push It Or Pull It.


Little Piece Of Leather was not great success in the States but when Chris Blackwell licenced it in the UK for Island Records it became a big hit, he now moved to the UK permanently.
Work for New Wave and Deram followed and he says he was planning an album on New Wave to include the original Open The Door To Your Heart that he had wrote and later was a hit for Darrell Banks. He spent years in legal battles and only got half credit in the end.

In 1970 he returned to the states with two numbers he had recorded in the UK to Rare Bullet records and was a hit for him in November, Get Myself Together. The All Platinum picked up one of his Motown songs he had recorded in the UK and Where Did Our Love Go was another US hit. Then with Avco Records and Hugo & Luigi I Can't Help Myself was yet another Motown cover hit.

After his dismissal from Avco, Elbert reluctantly returned to All-Platinum, resurfacing in 1973 with This Feeling of Losing You; the follow-up was another cover, this time a 1974 reading of the Mickey & Sylvia classic Love Is Strange. He left All-Platinum in the wake of another songwriting controversy, claiming authorship of labelmates Shirley & Co's R&B chart-topper Shame, Shame, Shame, which was instead credited to label owner Sylvia Robinson, unlike his claim against Banks, the squabble was not resolved in Elbert's favor, and although Robinson remains the sole writer credited, "Shame, Shame, Shame"'s arrangement does sound like his style.

For 1975's You Keep Me Crying (With Your Lying), Elbert finally formed his own label, the short-lived ALO, a subsequent release, I Got to Get Myself Together, appeared on an imprint bearing his surname, and was among his final recordings. During the mid-1980s he finally retired from performing, signing on as director of A&R for Polygram's Canadian division; on January 31, 1989, Elbert suffered a massive stroke and died at the age of just 53.

Donnie Elbert Discography:

Deluxe
6125 What Can I Do/Here My Plea April 1957
6143 Believe it Or Not/Tell Me So July 1957
6148 I Have Sinned/Leona Sept 1957
6156 Let's Do The Strool/Wild Child Jan 1958
6161 My Confession Of Love/Peek-a-boo Feb 1958
6164 I Want To Be Loved../Someone Made You For me May 1958
6168 I Want To Be Near To You/Come On Sugar July 1958
6175 Just A Little Bit Of Lovin'/When Your Near Me Sep 1958

Red Top
6602 Sentimental Reasons/Someday
122 Someday/Help Me
130 Will You Ever Be Mine/Hey Baby

Vee-Jay
336 Will You Ever Be Mine/Hey Baby Jan 1960
353 Half As Old/Baby Let Me Love You Tonight July 1960
370 I've Loved You Baby/I Beg Of Yo Jan 1961

Jot
122 Hey Baby/

Jalynne
107 Mommie's Gone/For Sentimental Reasons June 1961
110 Lucille/What You're Doing To Me Dec 1961
P&L
316 Nobody Knows
Parkway
844 Baby Cakes/Set My Heart At Ease Aug 1962
Cub
9125 Love Stew/Don't Cry My Love June 1963
Checker
1062 Just A Cotton Pickin' Minute/Everything To Me Nov 1963

Gateway
731 Run Little Girl/Who's It Gonna Be April 1964
748 Lily Lou/Do What'cha Wanna Sept 1964
757 A Little Piece Of Leather/Do What'cha Wanna April 1965
761 Your Red Wagon/Never Again

Atco
6550 In Between The Heartaches/Too Far Gone Jan 1968
Deram
7256 Without You/Baby Please Come Home 1969
Rare Bullet
101 I Can't Get Over Losing You/I Got To Get Myself Together Oct1970
All Platinum
2330 Where Did Our Love Go/That's If You Love Me Sep 1971
2333 Sweet Baby/I Can't Get Over Losing You Jan 1972
Avco
4587 I Can't Help Myself/Love is Here And Now Your Gone Jan 1972
All Platinum
2336 If I Can't have You/Will You Ever Be Mine
2337 A Liitle Piece Of leather/Sweet baby May 1972
2338 I Can't Get Over Losing You/That's If You Love Me
Avco
4598 Ooh Baby Baby/Tell Her For Me Oct 1972
4635 I'm Fallin' In Love/
All Platinum
2346 This Feeling Of Losing You/Can't Stand These Lonely Nights Non 1973
2351 Love Is Strange/Inst Aug 1974
2367 What Do You Do/Will You Love Me Tomorrow Jan 1977
2374 You Should Be Dancing/What Do You Do
Trip
3011 Stop In The Name Of Love/If You Were My Woman
A/O
1000 You Keep Me Crying (With Your Lying)/Inst

UK Only Releases:
CBS
2087 Get Ready/Along Came Pride 1967
Polydor
56265 This Old Heart Of Mine/Run Little Girl June 1968
RCA
2271 Time Hangs On My Mind/Along Came Pride Feb 1972
Bradley's
7501 You're Gonna Cry When I'm Gone/Another Tear.. Feb 1975
Echo
7001 Are You Ready (Willing And Able)/You Keep Me Crying 1979

Albums:
The Sensational Donnie Elbert Sings (King 629) 1959
Tribute To A King (Poydor 236 560) 1969
Where Did Our Love Go (All Platinum 3007) 1971
Stop In The Name Of Love (Trip 9524) 1972
Have I Sinned (Deluxe 12003) 1971
The Real Me (Ala 1973) 1973
Dancing The Night Away (All Platinum 3019) 1977
(Discog info: Richard Pack - Soul Survivor 1987)

1 comment:

  1. I was lucky enough to be in his backing band when he toured the UK with two hits in the charts at the same time - great guy to work with and a real musician.

    Jon Bates

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