Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Paul Davis - A Little Bit Of Paul Davis (1970-71 us, wondrous blue eyed soul, r 'n' b, soft rock, 2009 bonus tracks reissue)

The very title of Paul Davis’ 1971 debut is a nod toward Bert Berns, the founder of Bang records and author of “A Little Bit of Soap,” the 1961 Jarmels single Davis covered and brought within flirting distance of the Top 40 in 1970. Ironically enough, “A Little Bit of Soap” winds up being the song that seems out of step with the rest of the bubblegum pop-soul on A Little Bit of Paul Davis, as Davis recasts it as a bit of a sleepy groover -- nice enough, but not as appealing as the bright, snappy pop of the rest of the record.

Like a lot of Bang’s late-‘60s/early-‘70s output -- think Neil Diamond and Andy Kim -- this walks a curious line between AM bubblegum and adult contemporary soft rock, with the hooks coming from the former and the smoothness coming from the latter. Davis gives this a dash of Georgian soul in his phrasing, but that’s just flavoring on this batch of bubblegum pop. Impressively, most of the record is written by Davis himself -- only three cuts come from other writers -- and he shows a real talent for propulsive, cheerful pop, but even this has a touch of the laid-back delivery that would become his trademark…just enough to make this distinctive from other Bang LPs and other early-’70s AM pop, and just enough to make this something of an undiscovered little gem of its time. 
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Paul Davis was married to Pamela Gayle Jay Davis, who enjoyed a brief career with Bang Records/Web IV Music in Atlanta, where Davis was writing and recording his songs. When their only son Jonathan was born with special needs, Pamela retired from the music world to care for him. She died on March 20, 2017. Paul Davis died of a heart attack at the Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi, on April 22, 2008, a day after his 60th birthday.
1. I Just Wanna Keep It Together - 2:29
2. Supernatural Power - 2:39
3. If I Wuz A Magician - 2:14
4. Pollyanna - 2:36
5. Sally's Sayin Somethin (Harry Moffitt, Howard Boggess) - 2:09
6. A Little Bit Of Soap - 2:33
7. Mississippi River - 3:05
8. Who's Gonna Love Me Tomorrow (George Soule) - 2:33
9. Rainy Sunday Mornin - 2:45
10.Three Little Words - 2:45
11.When My Little Girl Is Smiling (Carole King, Gerry Goffin) - 3:14
12.I Feel Better - 2:49
All songs by Paul Davis except where stated
Bonus Tracks 11-12

*Paul Davis - Vocals