Ronnie Dyson – 1973 – One Man Band

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Ronnie Dyson front

The finest album of Ronnie’s career, Philly stalwart Thom Bell’s productions dominate the LP and are the best thing that ever happened to the New York-raised actor/singer. Ronnie’s full-throated, youthful tenor and Bell’s lush arrangements are quite compatible. The worthy repeat plays include the following nuggets: “I Think I’ll Tell Her“, “Point of No Return“, “I Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” and Barry Mann’s “When You Get Right Down to It“. Columbia placed a good chunk of promo money on “One Man Band (Plays All Alone)“, an adventurous song, but it lacked the directness and earthiness of the aforementioned songs. Bill Jackson and Stan Vincent also contributed their producing skills.

A1 One Man Band (Plays All Alone) 3:38
A2 I Think I’ll Tell Her 4:04
A3 Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely 3:11
A4 Give in to Love 4:51
A5 When You Get Right Down to It 2:47
B1 A Wednesday in Your Garden 3:17
B2 Something 2:49
B3 Girl Don’t Come 2:45
B4 Point of No Return 2:08
B5 The Love of a Woman 2:41

Ronnie Dyson back

Soul crooner Ronnie Dyson became of his generation’s most iconic vocalists before he joined one of soul music’s most important record labels. In 1968, the 18-year old Dyson earned the lead in the musical Hair, singing the tune’s opening line “When the moon is in the seventh house/And Jupiter aligns with Mars.”  Dyson continued pursuing an acting career, appearing in the filmPutney Swope, a funny and before its time political satire of the way of the advertising world.

Dyson also landed a role in the Off-Broadway production of the rock musical Salvation, a play that well received by critics and had limited commercial success.  Salvation’s musical score had more success, thanks in large part to Dyson, who scored a Top 10 hit with (“If You Let Me Make Love to You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You” in 1970. A year later, Dyson reached the charts with his cover of the Delfonics’ “When You Get Right Down to It”.

Soon Columbia came calling, signing Dyson to a deal and immediately dispatching the vocalist to Philadelphia to work with that label’s highly regarded producers, such as Thom Bell.  This came at a time when Columbia was pursuing a strategy of building a roster of R&B and soul stars, in part by buying independent labels, such as PIR, that specialized in working with black artists.

It is at this time that Dyson worked with Bell on the album One Man Band, a 1973 album that is now the subject of a limited press reissue (in enhanced format) by Purpose Vaults. The reissue includes the 10 tracks that appeared on One Man Band, such as the title track, “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely”, a soulful version of The Beatles classic “Something” and “A Wednesday in Your Garden”. The reissue also includes six tracks that were not previously available in CD format. The enhanced version of One Man Band also features new interviews with a variety of artists, including Melba Moore.

Dyson, due to his youth singing in the church, as well as his experience singing in musicals, arrived at Columbia with a well-developed and distinctive singing voice. And he was fortunate that the executives at Columbia sent him to PIR because the major label had a reputation of not getting the most out of R&B artists. Bell certainly got the most out of Dyson on One Man Band.The album includes tracks that made the most of Dyson’s musical theater background, such as the aforementioned “A Wednesday in Your Garden,” and the Latin tinged “The Girl Don’t Come,” a tune that brings to mind the 1960s early R&B made by groups such as The Drifters.

Dyson’s versatility is showcased on One Man Band. His talents as a balladeer come through on tracks such as “Give In To Love”, a number that has a Bacharach/David feel, as well as up-tempo tracks like the “The Love Of a Woman”, which is another track that find the PIR producers taking full advantage of Dyson’s roots in musical theater.  And if the original 10 tracks make this reissue a worthwhile pick up, the six extra tracks are a revelation.  They include the disco influenced “We Can Make It Last Forever” and the absolutely lovely “Life and Breath”.

Ronnie Dyson had a solid career that PIR – though he never received the acclaim that went to the label’s bigger stars such as the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes and Billy Paul. And since his voice was sadly silenced far too soon – he died in 1990 at 40 – he has unfortunately been forgotten by many classic soul fans.  So kudos to Purpose Vaults for the public service of bringing the music of this distinct and underrated singer back to our collective memories.  With One Man Band, music fans can again remember just how special this young singer was four decades ago, and can experience that joy again in 2012. Highly Recommended.

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Conversation for album: Ronnie Dyson – 1973 – One Man Band

  • FUNKey
    Posted at 01:41h, 31 May 2016 Reply

    Thanks for sharing such a superb album.

  • Sean
    Posted at 08:29h, 31 May 2016 Reply

    Timeless beautiful music…

  • Grumpy
    Posted at 08:41h, 31 May 2016 Reply

    Thank you!

  • Kim
    Posted at 09:55h, 31 May 2016 Reply

    One billion thumbs up!

  • Lord
    Posted at 10:30h, 01 June 2016 Reply


  • rich
    Posted at 20:35h, 01 June 2016 Reply

    thank you nikos

  • Donovan
    Posted at 21:34h, 01 June 2016 Reply

    Great one. Thanx.

  • Mika
    Posted at 12:17h, 02 June 2016 Reply

    thanks fellas for another gem!

  • Jeremy
    Posted at 17:27h, 02 June 2016 Reply

    Terrific post! I sure am diggin’ this rip! Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Rocket
    Posted at 08:45h, 03 June 2016 Reply

    Thanks. Much appreciated.

  • Mr.G
    Posted at 09:20h, 03 June 2016 Reply

    A very fine treasure to listen to. Million thanks.

  • Jose
    Posted at 12:07h, 03 June 2016 Reply

    Gracias , muy buenos

  • Kendrix
    Posted at 17:37h, 03 June 2016 Reply

    Thanks for this one! I know I’ve seen it before. It sounds great from the preview. Thanks again!

  • Barton
    Posted at 18:17h, 03 June 2016 Reply

    Killer soul

  • Curtis
    Posted at 10:13h, 04 June 2016 Reply

    quality my friend..

  • Iza
    Posted at 10:32h, 04 June 2016 Reply

    Love it!!!!!!
    Great music amazing voice.

  • Mr.Cool
    Posted at 19:03h, 04 June 2016 Reply

    Not familiar with this album. Can’t wait to hear it…thank you!!!

  • Eliana
    Posted at 20:50h, 04 June 2016 Reply

    Que musica linda.

  • Dale
    Posted at 10:27h, 05 June 2016 Reply

    Good memories

  • wkc
    Posted at 13:46h, 05 June 2016 Reply

    came a little late it looks like for this one. link is dead. Would love to listen to this one, if a new link is possible. thank you

  • Nikos
    Posted at 15:51h, 05 June 2016 Reply

    New link added. I always replace dead links.

  • david wilson
    Posted at 08:32h, 06 June 2016 Reply

    A fantastic singer who deserved wider recognition and greater success. Ronnie had one of the smoothest voices of any genre.

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