2 early 70s sessions from Billy
Eckstine – both recorded for Stax Records! First up is Senior Soul – a well-titled set not only given Billy
's age, but also because of the surprisingly soulful undercurrent to the record – an extension into the genre even greater than Eckstine's previous recordings for Motown – and proof that he was really trying to stretch out toward
s new audiences at the time! Artie Butler handled the backings, and he uses a groove that's pretty full, but never overwhelming – more ebullient soul than some of Eckstine's more familiar jazz – with backing vocals and bright horns, yet still plenty of space for Billy
to do his thing. The best numbers have Eckstine coming across with the 70s cool of Grady Tate on his vocal sides – and titles include "Thank You For The Moment", "A Song For You", "A Man Who Sings", "Today Was Tomorrow Yesterday", "I Believe In Music", and "Living Like A Gypsy". If She Walked Into My Life is extremely compelling stuff – and you've really got to give Billy
credit for reinventing himself like this! The album features Billy
's deep deep voice amidst arrangements by Artie Butler, Jimmy Jones, Mike Melvoin, and Billy
Byers – sort of a blend of Grady Tate sophisti-jazz, and Scott Walker baroque, with a moody mellow sound that would make either of them proud. Titles include "The Taste Of My Tears", "I Am Yours", "Maybe This Time", "The Very Thought Of You", and "All In Love Is Fair".