Johnny Bristol – 1974 – Hang On It There Baby
I am truly touch by this music. This man has a voice that combines the sexy Barry White with soulful Bill Withers and blows my mind.
One of my favourite soul albums ever, included in the best 100 soul albums of all time by Mojo Magazine.
A1 Woman, Woman 5:08
A2 Hang on in There Baby 3:55
A3 Reachin’ Out for Your Love 4:01
A4 You & I 3:41
A5 Take Care of You for Me 3:10
B1 I Got Cha Number 3:19
B2 It Don’t Hurt No More 3:35
B3 Memories Don’t Leave Like People Do 4:08
B4 Love Me for a Reason 3:41
B5 Woman, Woman (Reprise) 0:42
Bristol first came to local fame in the Detroit area as a member of the soul duo “Johnny & Jackey” with Jackey Beavers, an associate Bristol met while in the US Air Force. The pair recorded a number of singles for Harvey Fuqua‘s Tri-Phi record label, none of which were successes beyond the Midwestern United States.
In the mid-1960s, Tri-Phi was absorbed by Motown Records, and Bristol began working with Fuqua as a songwriter and producer. Among Fuqua and Bristol’s successes as producers were hit singles such as Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell‘s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1967), “Your Precious Love” (1967), and “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You” (1968); Edwin Starr‘s “Twenty-Five Miles” (1969); and David Ruffin‘s “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” (1969). On his own, Bristol co-wrote and produced Gladys Knight & the Pips‘ “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong” (1971) and “Daddy Could Swear, I Declare” (1972), and several singles by Jr. Walker & the All-Stars such as “What Does It Take (to Win Your Love)” (1969).
Notably, Bristol was the producer and co-writer of the final singles for both Diana Ross & the Supremes and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, before each group lost its namesake lead singerr. While the Miracles’ “We’ve Come Too Far to End It Now” (1972) was an original, the Supremes’ “ ” (1969) was a cover version of a Johnny & Jackey single from 1961. Bristol is the male voice on the Supremes’ version of “Someday We’ll Be Together,” singing response to Diana Ross‘ lead vocal (Diana Ross actually recorded the song with session singers replacing the other two Supremes).
In 1973, Bristol left Motown to resume his singing career, joining first with CBS Records and almost immediately moving to MGM Records. For MGM, Bristol recorded several successful albums and singles, and had hits in the mid-1970s with “Hang On In There Baby” (1974, number-eight U.S. pop), “You And I” (1974, number 20 U.S. R&B), and “Leave My World” (1975, number 20 U.S. R&B). He also recorded the original version of “Love Me for a Reason”, later a hit for The Osmonds. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Bristol would record for Atlantic Records, Polydor Records, and several other labels. His biggest hit during this period was a medley of the Motown songs “My Guy/My Girl”, recorded as a duet with Amii Stewart in 1980.
Johnny Bristol died in his Brighton Township, Michigan home on 2004, of natural causes, at the age of sixty-five.
The prolific Johnny Bristol made his name at Motown as a writer & producer of tracks like Diana Ross & the Supremes’ ‘Someday We’ll Be Together’, a song he co-wrote years before. In 1974, he did a successful production assignment for Boz Scaggs & made his solo debut for MGM. In short order, Bristol created an intriguing persona with a patented wry vocal delivery. The title track is a sensual masterpiece that all but summed up his lyrical meter. The infinitely playable & smooth ‘You & I’ is just as good. ‘I Got Cha Number’, also on Scaggs’ Slow Dancer, has Scaggs coming on to do some fun harmony vocals, but tracks like ‘Memories Don’t Leave Like People Do’ & ‘Love Me for Reason’ are so-so efforts. This is prime ’70s L.A. R&B/pop with Bristol’s sure production hand & arrangements by H.B. Barnum. Players include David T. Walker & his singular guitar fills.
Under-discovered 70s soul genius from Johnny Bristol — an artist who’s best known for his early work in the Motown studios, but who steps out here as an incredible soul singer in his own right! Johnny’s work here has an undeniably funky quality — a full, rich groove that blends together soaring strings and tighter rhythms — almost taking a cue from the blacksploitation soundtracks of the time, but focusing that groove into some really tight soul tracks — sung with a voice that should have made him huge! There’s a great blend here of the rough and the smooth — and the style’s almost like mixing together Barry White and Sam Dees — with the full funky arrangements of the former, and all the great songwriting and vocal delivery of the latter