Sunday, January 22, 2006

Louis Paul - Reflections of the way it really is

One of the fascinating things about hunting for old vinyl records is that every now and then you pick up something obscure that extends your knowledge just a little bit. Today I picked a few LPs at a market stall including this one by Louis Paul on Enterprise, a subsidiary of Stax. Unknown to me, he's actually a well known Memphis musician having been a close friend of Elvis and having played with virtually anyone who's anyone in Memphis. This LP has never been reissued as a CD and although I wouldn't claim that it's a classic it's worth a listen. Here's what the Stax website had to say about it:
(issued in 1973, stereo, no CD re-issue)
Leave The Door Where You Found It/Hey Mr. Moon/Knight In Armor/The Stars Belong To You/I Cross My Heart (I Love You)/My Dream//I Like Rock And Roll/Killed In Action/Misty Crystal/Merry-Go-Round/I'll Be Leaving When The Morning Comes/There's A Light There's A Moon The Sun Above.
A mystery LP as you cannot guess neither at first glance nor at first listening that the singer is not black. It was Al Bell's idea to hide Louis Paul's colour of skin to kind of hoax the usual Stax / Enterprise record buyer. All the photos on the double LP cover are overexposed on purpose and Louis Paul is in a clown disguise, so you can't see his real face. The official Stax ads of the time just said that Louis plays all the instruments. In fact we can hear on some tracks Raymond Gann (bass guitar), Tony Adams (drums) and Jimmy Nolen (background vocals).
The LP is very pleasant to hear with some Beatles like sounds and melodies here and there. The long instrumental opening track is very soulful and the record is overall a very good crossover between 70's Soul, Pop and Rock & Roll.
Strangely too, this LP was not recorded at Stax, Ardent or Muscle Shoals as it was usual at the time, but at Sam Phillips' Recording Studios in Memphis (produced by Jerry Phillips).
Louis Paul is still well and living in Memphis. He hopes to be able to get again on the local music scene.
You can get more details about Louis Paul on his own site at


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