Tyrone Davis – 1970 – Turn Back the Hands of Time
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Review by RDTEN1
Rip, posting & additional info’s by Nikos
There aren’t many albums out there that I’d buy just to hear one single song, but 1970’s “Turn Back the Hands of Time” is one of those rarities. Produced by Willie Henderson, these nine tracks were simply among the cream of the crop in terms of early 1970s Chicago soul. Virtually every one of these songs had commercial potential, or some performance characteristic that kicked them far above the competition. Regardless of whether he was playing the love damaged loser (‘Let Me Back In’), the silky smooth love man (‘Undying Love’), or the gritty R&B guy (‘Love Bones’), the album found Davis turning in some of the best performances of his lengthy recording career. Those performances were so good you even managed to overlook most of the over-the-top arrangements Henderson and Tom Washington had slapped on tracks like ” and ”. In contrast to Davis, I suspect lesser singers would have been drowned by the arrangements.
A1 Turn Back The Hands Of Time 2:36
A2 The Waiting Was Not In Vain 2:27
A3 Let Me Back In 2:37
A4 Love Bones 3:07
A5 I’ll Be Right Here 2:38
B1 Something You Got 2:38
B2 Undying Love 3:26
B3 Just Because Of You 2:58
B4 If It’s Love That You’re After 2:45
B5 I Keep Coming Back 2:37
As mentioned above, the title track stands as a soul classic. Autobiographical in the sense songwriter Jack Daniels based it on personal relationship problems he’d been facing, Davis nailed this one perfectly, giving the song a sense of urgency and longing you simply couldn’t fake. Great melody with a hook that you simply couldn’t shake out of your head (I’ve been trying for years), it was easy to see why it topped the R&B charts and went top ten pop. My only complaint was that the song was too short. Shame there wasn’t an extended album version. (I’m sure someone out there knows the story, but the liner notes carry the wrong writing credits. The song was actually penned by Jack Daniels and Bonnie Thompson. I fact, if you own the single, it carries the correct writing credits.) ‘The Waiting was Not In Vain‘ opened up with one of those jazzy-soul intros that sounded like it had been copped from Ramsey Lewis, or the Young-Holt Trio. Very cool, but the song got even better when Davis steered it in a more conventional soul ballad direction. Silky smooth and sporting another highly commercial hook, this one would have also made a dandy single. A broken heart has seldom sounded as catchy as on ‘Let Me Back In’. Opening up with a nice horn arrangement, ‘Love Bones’ found Davis underscoring his ability to handle tougher R&B-tinged material. It was actually nice to hear him utilizing his tougher, lower vocal registers and the nods to James Brown, Wilson Pickett, and Johnnie Taylor were hysterical.
For some reason, ‘I’ll Be Right There‘ has always registered with me. While the melody wasn’t nearly as memorable as some of the other tracks, Davis turned in one of those heart aching performances that was simply breath taking. Guess that was one of the reasons Dakar tapped it as a single. Propelled by a killer bass line, ‘Something You Got’ was another track that found Davis leaning towards a tougher soul edge. The result was another overlooked album highlight.
Anyone who’s heard Davis earlier work knows he started out as more of an imitator than an originator. Complete with Hammond B3, the slow groove ballad ‘Undying Love‘ found him reverting to that characteristic; this time out sounding like he was trying to channel Solomon Burke. Not bad for a piece of imitation.
– In spite of Tom Washington’s big horn and string arrangement, ‘Just Because of You‘ was one of Davis’ toughest performances. Whereas many other singers would have been overwhelmed by the arrangement, Davis didn’t let it phase him in the least. I’m a sucker for harpsichord and banjo so ‘If It’s Love That You’re After‘ had me from the opening chords. Perhaps the most melodic song on the album this one was a joy to hear. Besides, how many soul performances can you think of that incorporate a Baroque flavor?
Not sure who provided the tasty blues guitar runs that opened the track (and dominated the song), but it set the stage for ‘I Keep Coming Back‘. Easily the best slow groove ballad on the album and Davis’ James Brown screeches was worth the admission price.
Six words – Classic soul album. Buy a copy !!!