Hidden on the inside of this CD is the caption "16 great hits." As youíre reading this review youíre probably wondering who this guy is and how could he have 16 great hits. Well, Billy Price is an excellent soul singer but heís not so egocentric as to think these 16 songs are the greatest ever made. As a consummate soul man he has the work of artists who have not made the big time but nonetheless produced some soul good nuggets. He didnít pen a single song in this set. The humble Mr. Price has shown himself to be a capable songwriter as evidenced by his tunes on his "Live" and "Free at Last"(Antennae Records) CDs. On this set he has chosen to record some underrecorded rín b tunes. He has picked tunes from the songbooks of artists like O.V. Wright, Joe Simon, James Carr, and Eddie Hinton. He even enlists the help of his mentor Otis Clay to engage in some soul testifying on the cut" Thatís How It Is." This one cut gives you a good measure to compare his feeling of intensity in Billy Pricesí singingÖand his feeling shows through on every song.
There are some people out there that instantly recognize his talent. The late roadhouse guitar legend, Roy Buchanan, tabbed him for his lead vocalist for 3 years from 1973-1976, His controlled, yet passionate vocals can be heard on Thatís What I Am Here For and Livestock (Polydor). I was in a nightclub in Ď96 catching Jr. Wellsí act and who gets invited up to sing but Billy Price. I recognized the name and voice but was pleasantly surprised how soulful he was on stage. Jr. knew about it!
On the Soul Collection Mr. Price doesnít resort to using crack studio musicians to get a polished, smooth sound. With minor exceptions, he sticks to his guys in the Billy Price Band. The best tracks are " I Didnít Know the Meaning of Pain," "I Canít Stand It," "I Die a Little Each Day," and " Something "Bout ĎCha." On these songs he sings in a manner Iíd describe as "cool fire." The vocals are right in-the-pocket and emotional without being histrionic. Listening to these songs make you want to go back and find the originals. I have the feeling that those original artists would say " Good work, brother."
This review is copyright © 2000 by Putnay Thomas, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.