From the Vault...


Billy Stewart
"One More Time"

© Chess/MCA Records


track listing
  • Billy's Blues Part Two
  • Fat Boy
  • Reap What You Sow
  • Sugar And Spice
  • Strange Feeling
  • Count Me Out
  • I Do Love You
  • Keep Lovin'
  • Sitting In The Park
  • Love Me
  • Summertime
  • How Nice It Is
  • Because I Love You
  • Every Day
    I Have The Blues
  • Secret Love
  • Cross My Heart
  • One More Time
  • Golly Golly Gee
  • Tell Me The Truth
  • I'm In Love
    (Oh Yes I Am)

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    Billy Stewart
    "One More Time"

    Billy Stewart is one of the unnoticed artists who some have never heard of. We can only imagine if he had accomplish more; he died in a car accident in 1970 at age 32, as his car plunged into the Neuse River in North Carolina, along with three members of his band. His soul-inspired music will raise great interest for many. Having the 1950s sound on some, pure soul on the rest, Billy Stewart was a huge person, nicknamed "Fat Boy" -- his huge appearance and voice created some of the best soulful ballads, that is sure to inspire future singers. His One More Time release is a greatest hits compilation, with songs from 1956 to 1969.

    His most popular hit was "Summertime," yet his soulful ballads are the ones that really stand out: Songs such as "Reap What You Sow", "Strange Feeling." And two songs that are personal favorites of mine are his ballads "I Do Love You" (which can easily, and should be, a great song for weddings), and "Sitting In The Park" Both these songs can easily be merged together as a medley, which is how I discovered these tunes, from a band that featured my former bass player, when he formed a lounge band after our band's breakup.

    Songs in the upbeat soul style such as "Summertime," truly still sounds exceptional as of today. "Sugar And Spice," "Count Me Out" proves that songs written in this style aren't heard today. Even "Keep Lovin'" has the style of late 1950s, and could even pass as an early Motown classic. ("Love Me" and "Because I Love You" could also pass as early Motown hits.) And again, this style of music is not heard in this day and age.

    "Summertime" is a classic in itself. Not only Stewart's scat vocals are incredible, the orchestra providing the music truly showcases the best sound in R&B and Jazz. And what is also interesting, is that this song was originally written by George Gershwin, with an updated approach.

    Continuing in the soulful ballad nature: "How Nice It Is" is another great, as heard in songs as "I Do Love You." And again, what also makes this song entertaining, is the orchestra band providing the music. "Every Day I Have The Blues," recorded in 1966, would shape the mold for the Soul music that would surface in the 1970s, with an exceptional band in sound, as well.

    "Secret Love" was another popular tune, being a remake of the Doris Day song, with an upbeat Soul approach. And having the 45 rpm single when I was a child, it's great to hear this song again in clear CD sound.

    And on songs such as "Cross My Heart," (1967) the early developments of Soul music as we would hear in full force in the 1970s was being heard early in the 1960s from Billy Stewart's music. Even the tunes "Golly Golly Gee," (1967, unreleased) and "Tell Me The Truth" (1968) have the "future" 1970s Soul sound. The album's closing tune, "I'm In Love (Oh Yes I Am)" is another great slow soulful ballad, another song that stands out from this collection.

    Billy Stewart's music is not to be passed up. His music can easily be an influence to some already in the music business, as well as those in the future. As mentioned in the liner notes for this compilation: "Billy Stewart would have dealt with change. By being out there on the road a lot and loving it, he would have been influenced by the audience. He would have exposed to what other acts were doing, because he was on variety shows. If someone else was upstaging his performance, Billy was very aware of it. He always wanted to know what was going on. And he would have kept up with the times. Especially in the '80s; he would have loved sitting down with synthesizers and so forth, doing his own thing." (liner notes by Adam White, © Chess/MCA Records).

    Hearing Billy Stewart's music may have been ahead of his time, at the time when recorded. Soul music would be an upcoming force in the next decade. We can only imagine what Billy would have done through the course of the 1970s decade that would feature so many talents in the category of Soul, and how Billy Stewart would also be a part of it. Listening to his music is truly enjoyable, and surely to be an influence to many future stars.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Chess/MCA Records and is used for reference purposes only.

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