David Oliver – 1977 – Jamerican Man

Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations set the mode in the early 60′s for the falsetto tenor in contemporary R&B.  Every outstanding falsetto-voiced singer would be compared to Eddie.  In my book, such a comparison is a high compliment. 

David Oliver ranked extremely high on that list but, unfortunately, he didn’t stay with us long enough in the music business and in life, to overcome this comparison.

Tracks
A1 What Kinda Woman 4:59
A2 Love So Strong 3:31
A3 Ms.5:20
A4 Friends & Strangers 4:59
B1 Let’s Make Happiness 4:37
B2 Munchies 5:08
B3 You And I 5:00
B4 Playin’ At Bein’ A Winner 4:35

 By wewillgetitback

Most known for his R&B hit, Ms.”, David Oliver came into my existence in 1977 with his first album, Jamerican Man.  Ms. was a solid R&B hit for this virtual unknown.   His glass tenor voice had everybody scrambling to figure out who this was if it wasn’t Eddie Kendricks or Phillip Bailey of Earth Wind & Fire; whom he sounded more like to me.  Confusing us a bit, this LP was also released under the self-title, David Oliver.  Jamerican, meaning Jamaican-American, is a reflection of David’s American citizenship and Jamaican parents; that’s why he wanted this title to stand but Mercury Records begged to differ.  He grew up in Florida and began singing in earnest in high school.  After college and a stint in the Air Force, David sang with a racially-mixed group, Five Days & Three Nights.  Hmmm!  I wonder if the Five Days was in reference to the White members and the Three Nights in reference to the Black members?  That would be my retro-thinking guess.  The group put in a bid with Motown but when they didn’t get the coveted contract, they disbanded.  David beat around for a while until landing Wayne Henderson of the Jazz Crusaders as the producer of his first album.  Not a bad hookup.  Jamerican Man was David’s most notable out of four releases from ’77 to ’80.  The other album titles are Mind Magic, Rain Fire and Here’s To You.

Not only is the Jamerican Man album confused because of the two titles released for the same album, the fact that David Oliver released Friends And Strangersbefore Ronnie Laws did, is also a misunderstood fact.  When most folk think of the song, we think of Ronnie Laws’ rendition.  It’s rare when the more famous interpretation of a song is the instrumental one; Dave Grusin also recorded and popularized the song to jazz fans.  The fact is, David Oliver wrote the song with Ruth Robinson and William Jeffreys, and it appeared on his debut album before Ronnie Laws or Dave Grusin.  The problem is, David Oliver’s version was barely played.  So when Ronnie Laws released Friends And Strangers in that same year, his version was a hit; even on R&B radio stations.  Since Ronnie’s version got more airplay, it overshadowed the fact that David Oliver released it first.  I always assumed Ronnie Laws wrote it and David Oliver covered his song.  I’m sure many of you made the same assumption.

David Oliver’s passing went almost unnoticed.  He was still struggling to make his mark when his life came to an abrupt and unexpected end.  It’s been said he died in his sleep of a seizure.  It’s just so sad that such a talented young man with a potentially blinding future was taken so early in his life and career; just five years as a solo recording artist  releasing four albums in three years.  Even sadder is how David Oliver is one of those truly gifted performers that many wonder, “What ever happened to him,” only to find out that he passed away; and that’s why the music stopped.  With Black media outlets in greater abundance today, we get better pronouncements of entertainers’ deaths but back in 1982, either you caught the radio deejay mentioning it the day of or you might have never known unless you sought out the information.

David Oliver left us with three songs that should keep him in our hearts forever;Ms.”,Friends & Strangers,” and the one I’m going to end this article with.  On his second album, Mind Magic, he recorded a beautiful ballad that reminds me an awful lot of Earth Wind & Fire’s Phillip Bailey.  This song was missed by many but the true, died-in-the-wool David Oliver fans caught it.  It’s the only song I remembered from this LP.  Though it wasn’t his last recording, it’s very appropriate that David Oliver’s last song to receive any attention is a song that sounds like it’s dedicated to all his loyal fans? 

Enjoy, “I Wanna Write You A Love Song”.

 As a bonus here is his 2nd album Mind Magic including the gemI Wanna Write You A Love Song”.

Download link

Buy the Album

Download the Album

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21 Comments
  • Ron Mcgrath
    Posted at 09:29h, 09 July 2017 Reply

    New to me. Thank you for both albums.

  • T.G.A.
    Posted at 09:31h, 09 July 2017 Reply

    This is so classy!
    Love this singer and his voice is amazing!!!

  • Tony
    Posted at 16:12h, 09 July 2017 Reply

    Beautiful album. Thanks for the post.

  • Leroy
    Posted at 17:13h, 09 July 2017 Reply

    Fantastic records. Great work you do.

  • Paolo
    Posted at 18:07h, 09 July 2017 Reply

    Music from botom heart .

  • peteygreene
    Posted at 20:10h, 09 July 2017 Reply

    thank you guys as always for this incredible music! i can’t seem to find the link for “Jamerican Man” am i being stupid and just not seeing it? all i see is the link for “Mind Magic”

  • Nikos
    Posted at 20:26h, 09 July 2017 Reply

    At the end of the post. Click on the blue letters “Uploaded”

  • Fábio Garcia
    Posted at 12:05h, 10 July 2017 Reply

    Μuch appreciated as ever! Looking forward to checking this out.

  • George
    Posted at 15:38h, 10 July 2017 Reply

    Great albums. Thank u.

  • JiaMaBi
    Posted at 23:16h, 10 July 2017 Reply

    Τruly underrated, I hate that I just discovered him.

  • Salino
    Posted at 11:45h, 11 July 2017 Reply

    Brilliant contribution. Thank you so very much.

  • Julian
    Posted at 18:55h, 11 July 2017 Reply

    Havn’t heard this for more years than I care to remember.
    Back to my youth club days. Absolutely BRILL.

  • Edgar
    Posted at 09:24h, 12 July 2017 Reply

    Thanks for introducing such a lost treasure. Amazing work.

  • S. James
    Posted at 13:03h, 12 July 2017 Reply

    thanks dude….anotha killa soul gem….much respect..

  • Vanilla
    Posted at 18:24h, 13 July 2017 Reply

    Brilliant music choice as ever and cheers for the diggin’ and uploading. Excellent stuff

  • Manolo
    Posted at 19:42h, 13 July 2017 Reply

    Another quality post – you spoil us.

  • Donny
    Posted at 09:12h, 14 July 2017 Reply

    So grateful for another discovery of yours.

  • King R
    Posted at 19:28h, 14 July 2017 Reply

    Great to listen to this gem coming to the light.Thanks!

  • Iris
    Posted at 13:25h, 15 July 2017 Reply

    Thank you for this unforgettable memory.

  • ray
    Posted at 17:37h, 15 July 2017 Reply

    Great one..Thanks!…hadn’t heard this in years. David was everything …definitely Eddie influenced…knew he recorded LOVE TKO first(1980)..Teddy released his later that year…didn’t know about Friends & Strangers.

  • Keith
    Posted at 10:39h, 19 July 2017 Reply

    Beautiful from start to finish, and that ending! See, one need not be loud to be strong and compelling!

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