We thank Heikki Suosalo from soulexpress.net and Willie Clayton for allowing Jefferson to publish the article.
Read Part 1 (1956-1992) and Part 3 (2002-2022)
Part 2 (1993-2002)
Willie: “The late Johnny Vincent had a label called Ace Records in the United States. Johnny Vincent was probably the best person I’ve ever met in the music record business. I always say he was my daddy. I loved Johnny, and Johnny loved me like a son.”
Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1927, John Vincent Imbragulio founded Ace Records in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1955 and scored in the 50s with Earl King’s Those Lonely, Lonely Night (1955), Huey Smith and the Clowns’ Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu (’57) and Don’t you just Know It (’58), Jimmy Clanton’s Just a Dream (’58) and Go, Jimmy, Go (’59) and Frankie Ford’s Sea Cruise (’59).
Southern soul fans took heed of John’s third revival of Ace Records in the 1990s, when he produced and released exciting records by such significant artists as Frank-O Johnson, Robert Tillman, Lee Fields, Pat Brown, Cicero Blake, Chuck Strong, Ronnie Lovejoy, Bobby Jonz and of course... one Willie Clayton.
LET’S GET TOGETHER
Willie’s debut album on Ace Records in 1993 was titled Let’s Get Together (Ace 2052), and this exciting and truly soulful CD was the highlight of Willie’s career up to that point. Recorded at Taylor Made Studios in Jackson, Mississippi, Willie and Harrison Calloway arranged the music and Harrison also played the keys, while Forrest Gordon was on drums, Willie James Hatten on bass and Mike Russell on guitar.
Willie: “When I first got with Johnny Vincent out of Pearl, Mississippi, I just wanted to do a couple of tracks for him to put on a compilation. For that compilation I wrote one song and the other song was a remake of Tyrone Davis’ Can I Change My Mind. Later I came back again.”
Besides four reworks of his former recordings - Walk away, How Do You Love 2, Let Me Love you and Feels like Love - Willie does fine covers of some of the earlier hits by other artists. Z.Z. Hill had released the bluesy Don’t Make Me Pay in 1971 and Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers’ Does Your Mama Know came out in ’68, and - no matter how impassioned Willie’s version is, - for me, however, Walter Jackson’s ’65 reading of Welcome Home is unbeatable.
In terms of writing memorable story-telling songs, Frank-O Johnson is one of the true heroes among soul music fans. Also his own albums on Traction, Ace, Phat Sound and CDS – ten altogether – are highly valued. Frank: “I first saw Willie, when I and my girlfriend went to see a show in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, about 23 miles outside of Jackson, MS. Then when I and Johnny Vincent started Ace together, I produced the first album on Ace for Robert ‘Duke” Tillman” (Thinking of You, Ace 2048 in 1992).
THREE PEOPLE (SLEEPING IN MY BED)
Back Streets is the title of Frank-O’s first Ace album (Ace 2049 in 1992). Willie renders his own interpretation of the lead tune, a soul ballad called Back Street Love Affair by using the same backing track. Frank’s I Love Stealing It is a mid-tempo floater with stunningly soulful vocal performance by Willie, and Frank’s third contribution, Three People (Sleeping in My Bed), is a very catchy opener for this set and one of Willie’s most popular songs still today.
Frank: “I was in the studio cutting the Back Streets album, and I was almost finishing it. Johnny Vincent heard the song I did, which had Harrison Calloway’s arrangement on it, and said ‘you ought to let Willie Clayton have that song.’ ‘What song?’ ‘Three People Sleeping in My Bed.’ I told him ‘I’m not gonna give him my song’, and he said ‘he can really sell that song. He has a great voice.’ My thing has always been that a songwriter can go a longer distance than an artist. I know where the money was at for the long haul. So I said ‘okay, I agree. So he used my track. They went in and put some horns on it, and the record did good.” (My recent interview with Frank-o Johnson will soon appear on the site (soulexpress.net)).
Willie: “With Frank-O we worked quite a bit together for the label, but I was closer to Johnny Vincent than I was to anyone. Frank lived in Mississippi and I lived in Chicago. They actually had written the Three People song for a young artist they had. He didn’t want to do it. I said ‘that’s a hit record. If you don’t want to do it, I’ll do it’, and the rest is history.”
Willie wrote the mid-tempo title tune, Let’s Get Together, which again is inspired by Tyrone Davis’ music, and together with Paul Richmond he co-wrote the slow and bluesy Party Down. “We’ve been doing a lot of writing together with Paul Richmond and we’ve been producing together also. Let’s Get Together was a very successful CD.”
Willie points out that he owns his masters, but not one hundred per cent. “There are songs like Three People, and here I don’t own the masters. They were written and produced by others that were signed to Ace. For the most of the songs that were written by me and what I brought to the table, those masters are still with me.”
In 1994 Willie moved permanently to Georgia to be closer to his key audiences. His second Ace album called Simply Beautiful was released the same year and now the main producers are Willie and Paul Richmond. Paul also co-wrote with Willie two Tyrone-influenced floaters, Crazy for You and Once upon a Time, as well as Do to You from the past Kirstee catalogue. The third “Tyrone” toe-tapper is the catchy opener titled Lose What You Got, not to mention the cover of a genuine Tyrone Davis hit from 1973, lightly re-titled Oops, There It Is.
Among down-tempo songs there are intense covers of Aretha Franklin’s Ain’t No Way, written by her sister Carolyn in 1968, and Al Green’s restrained and meditative Simply Beautiful from 1972. From the same year comes another Al Green song, So Glad You’re Mine. “When he sang the song, I was ‘wow, I like this song!’” Stay is an over 6-minute long slowie penned by Willie and Jim Sims.
Frank Johnson’s name appears here again in writers credits. A soul ballad called Love Stealing Ain’t worth Stealing was first released on Frank’s Back Streets album and here Willie revives it quite energetically and to the same backing track. Frank’s other song on this set, Dancing with My Baby, is a captivating ditty, and now he also produced the track. Willie: “Simply Beautiful became a major hit record for me. It was a great seller.”
NO GETTING OVER ME
Willie’s first Ichiban album in 1992 was called Feels like Love and it was compiled mostly from Willie’s Kirstee material of the day (see part 1 of this story). Three years later he returned to Ichiban, where they released the 12-track No Getting over Me with two songs lifted from that first album, That’s the Way I Feel about You and Missing You.
When listening to the CD, first and foremost your attention is drawn to rich orchestration with mostly real instruments. Three background vocalists – Thomisene Anderson, Jewel Bass and Jules Bass – and strong horn section still add to the full sound. Horns were arranged by Harrison Calloway and Paul Adams. Forest Gordon is again on drums as well as Hense Powell, Willie James Hatten and Tony Crump on bass, Bernard Jenkins on guitar and Norman Williams on keyboards. Willie Clayton and Paul Richmond produced. “It was recorded in different places. Some was cut in Chicago and some in Jackson, Mississippi. As I recall, none was recorded in Atlanta.”
The title tune, No Getting over Me, is Ronnie Milsap’s # 5 pop hit from 1981, and this beautiful song is souled to the max by Willie, as well as Lee Fields’ Meet Me Tonite, first released by Lee himself in 1991. “I picked Meet Me Tonite, because I always wanted to redo it. I produced Lee Fields in the 90s.” Lee’s Ace albums included Enough Is Enough (1993), Coming to Tear the Roof Down (1995) and Dreaming Big Time (1996).
Willie’s own Never Knew Love is a light dancer with a “Tyrone” leaning, and the same goes to the pounding Somebody, too. We Did It was one of Syl Johnson’s most memorable hits on Hi Records in 1972, and Willie doesn’t miss a beat here.
Willie’s Soap Opera Love Affair is a mid-tempo, melodic toe-tapper, whereas his and Bob Jones’ Midnite Dr. is a busy blues number. “It was a great song, but it wasn’t a hit.” Weak 4 U is a routine dancer, while Love 4 Tonite is an emotion-laden beat-ballad.
“My manager, before he got sick and passed, did a deal with Ichiban, but they were just the distributor. It was never the masters. We still had our label. Even some company that wound up buying Ichiban after its bankruptcy reached out to me trying to get it, but they couldn’t get it, because I own it.”
AT HIS BEST
The third Ichiban album was somewhat ironically called At His Best, but with the exception of two tracks all songs had been released earlier on Open the Door on About Time Records (8 tracks), on Feels like Love on Kirstee Records and on Forever on Timeless Records. Those two previously unreleased songs are Willie’s quite intensive rendition of I’ve Been Loving You too Long to Stop Now and Shining Star, which can’t touch the beauty of the Manhattans’ haunting gold hit in 1980. “That album was a compiled product.”
John Abbey was the head of Ichiban Records those days. John: “I remember Willie very well. In fact, he lives near me and I used to see him often in the supermarket but I haven’t actually seen or heard from him in several years.”
“Willie was very typical of Chicago! Very brash, outwardly confident but a very nice man. I liked him. Honestly, I don’t really remember how he came to Ichiban but he used to come by the office and everyone liked him. He was that kind of guy – outwardly happy, very likable. He never actually recorded at our studio and with our guys. Musically I always liked him and his style so he was welcome at Ichiban.”
Willie also has good enough memories of his Ichiban stint: “It was okay. It never panned out as it should have, but I never had any problems with John Abbey. We still run into each other time and time again in Georgia. He has always been very courteous.”
Next Willie continued on Ace Records, and on a compilation called Please Come Home for Christmas in 1995 he sings two songs, A Lonely Christmas and Christmas Finds Me Oh, So Sad. “I redid A Lonely Christmas again (in 2020). Christmas Finds Me Oh, So Sad is an old Charles Brown song (in 1963). He’s the same guy that did Please Come Home for Christmas.”
Pat "Miss Equal Opportunity" Brown 2011. Photo: Tommy Löfgren
After returning to Ace, Willie’s very first single was called Equal Opportunity. It’s a first-rate soul ballad about democracy in cheating. Willie’s duet partner on this southern soul anthem is Pat Brown. “Pat Brown was my backup singer, and I tried to give her a shot. The label wanted to use a big name, but I said ‘no, let’s try her.’”
Patricia Ann Rush Brown was born in Meridian, Mississippi, to the family of four sisters and four brothers. After the obvious church period she started singing semi-professionally at nineteen with a local r&b band called Soul Explosion. When she gave up teaching in ’83, she started singing professionally and cut her first records for Senator Jones and his Hep’ Me Records (The Thrill Is Gone and Tell Mama). In my 1996 interview Pat remembers that “Willie Clayton is on (John Vincent’s) label. I’ve worked directly with him, and it’s been more than a pleasure, because he’s a very talented man. By him being on Ace Records already and us working together, we just hooked up like that a couple of years ago.”
Equal Opportunity was written by B. Thomas and Bob Jones. Willie: “Bob Jones was my godfather. He was a strong mentor. B. Thomas is Britney Thomas. That’s his granddaughter and at that time he would put her down as a writer, but she never wrote a song. Bob Jones writes different types of stuff. He also wrote Midnight Doctor and Bartender Blues, which is on the Ace in the Hole album. We wrote quite a bit together.”
Equal Opportunity became also the title of Pat’s debut album on Ace in 1996, produced for the most part by Willie Clayton. The song generated Equal Opportunity clubs in many cities. Pat: “Wherever we go there’s always a group of ladies that consider themselves of being part of EO fan club - - There’s not really a main mission. It’s just getting women to unite and stick together. They always say that somebody is needed to speak up for the ladies.” Pat released altogether six albums on Ace, Avanti and her own Tapna (An-Pat backwards). She passed in September 2019.
Pat Brown is not the only fellow artist that Willie has produced. Willie: “I produced Ronnie Lovejoy (on My Baby’s Cheating on Me) and I even had the pleasure of producing Lee Fields” (on Enough Is Enough). Add to the list still Cicero Blake, Robert Tillman, Calvin Richardson, Sir Charles Jones and Charles Wilson.
“On the R&B side I had an artist on my label called Methrone. He’s a contemporary R&B artist.” Recorded at CD 2000 Studios in Atlanta, Methrone released My Life on Clatown Records in 2000 (# 129 on Billboard’s Top 200) and Picture Me on Claytown Records in 2001 (# 169). His music is for the most part slow, romantic and “sexy”, by the standards of those days. The two hit songs were Loving Each Other for Life (# 49 – r&b) and Your Body (# 110).
ACE IN THE HOLE
On the follow-up album titled Ace in the Hole we are re-acquainted with five old Kirstee songs – Rocking Chair, Happy, Running in (and out of My) Life, (We’re Getting) Careless (with Our Love) and Stone Good Lover – as well as I Love Stealing It and Three People (Sleeping in My Bed) from the first Ace CD, but this time on the latter track they’ve added Lynn White’s vocals. Because of those duplicates, many of the same musicians and background vocalists that appeared on Let’s Get Together and No Getting over Me are listed also here.
Willie covers tastefully and soulfully some songs that his fellow label artists had written and recorded, such as Hurt by Love, co-written by Robert “Duke” Tillman, and Ronnie Lovejoy’s My Baby’s Cheating on Me and In Need of a Good Woman and using the same backing track. “Ronnie wrote My Baby’s Cheating on Me, and I first produced it on Ronnie Lovejoy. I play drums on it. Then later I did it myself.” In case of Robert Anthony (Bob) Jones’ Bartender Blues, the title really says it all – authentic blues.
“Ace in the Hole is a strong album and a major seller, because Equal Opportunity was a major hit record, not just regional.”
Willie’s next album, Chapter One, appeared on Gamma Records out of Dothan, Alabama. Willie had planned to release altogether four chapters, but this CD remained the only one. “The label went out of business. I really didn’t know those people. I just knew of them. I came there through a mutual friend of mine, who used to work for Polygram.” Four tracks were recorded at Taylor Made in Jackson, MS, and nine at Trax Studios in Chicago, with Paul Richmond in charge of instrumentation. “Trax no longer exists. We were just buying studio time there.”
Those four older tracks with a lot of real instruments were all produced by Willie and they were recorded in Jackson, MS. There are nice beat-ballads like Sweet Thang and Arms of another Man – and a joyous inspirational mover called Prove It and one emotional down-tempo song called Living with Me. “Bob Jones and I wrote Arms of another Man together. Prove It was done by some gospel singers and they wrote that.”
Most of the Chicago songs were produced and written by Willie and Paul Richmond, either together or separately. Rock and Hold Ya, Our Love and The Blues are light and hooky dancers, while Bust My Bubble is a rather gloomy testimony. Last Rendevous is a touching ballad and a genuinely soulful performance from Willie, as is his cover of the ’73 Tower of Power hit, So Very Hard to Go. The lilting Once Upon a Time appeared first on the Simply Beautiful album three years earlier. “The album probably should come back again. I own it.”
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
After the unfortunate Gamma episode Willie decided to establish another label of his own and called it this time Clatown. On some records it is spelled also Clawtown or Claytown. Meanwhile Johnny Vincent had sold his Ace Records to an U.K. company called Music Collection International in 1997, but almost simultaneously had set up a new record imprint named Avanti. Willie was named the vice president of Avanti. “Johnny was my godfather. We were close like that.”
Willie leased his first Clatown album, Something to Talk about, to Avanti and it peaked at # 14 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums in 1998. The album was later re-released on Malaco in 2005. The opening track is a duet with Tyrone Davis, a smooth mid-tempo swayer called Mine All Mine, written by Paul Richmond and Willie. It had been released already earlier on the Avanti Hall of Fame compilation (Avanti 1003). Another Tyrone connection is Willie’s cover of the slow and melancholic Ain’t Nothing I Can Do, a Paul Richmond & Leo Graham song, which Tyrone had recorded in 1979.
The second duet on the set is with Pat Brown on the slow I’m Going to Your Wife, a song that Willie co-wrote with Henderson Thigpen. Born in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi, in 1948, Henderson was one of the co-writers of Shirley Brown’s Woman to Woman and lately he’s been an active writer with Ecko Records. “Henderson had an idea and I had an idea, and we put it together. He also wrote, I think, hit records for the Bar-Kays.” Other songs that Henderson co-wrote with Willie on this CD include two mid-tempo floaters titled Let Me Be (Your Spare Time) and Are You Married – on this track Willie plays drums, too - and a more uptempo loper called Help You Pay Him Back.
Willie’s inspirational moment on this set is called God Has a Plan, and he also covers Bobby Bland’s ’74 top-ten hit, (Ain’t No Love in the) Heart of the City. For ballad lovers the two cream cuts are the deep and poignant One Last Kiss and especially I Love you (but I Can’t Feel a Thing). “I wrote One Last Kiss and with a friend of mine, Frank Dixon, we wrote I Love You.” The music on this album is quite richly orchestrated, and on many tracks Ezra Brown shines with saxophone solos.
As the first concrete result of the deal between Johnny Vincent and the U.K. company, Westside Records out of the U.K. released in 1998 a 17-track compilation titled Willie Clayton’s Greatest Hits – Midnight Doctor with three previously unreleased uptempo tracks. Main Squeeze is the most dynamic of them, and again Willie plays drums on all three of them. The other two are Young Man Blues and Looking for a Good Woman, and Harrison Calloway arranged all three.
“I don’t know anything about that company and I don’t know about anything they’ve done. There were some tracks that Ace may have had, but I didn’t care for anything they tried to do. If you don’t have anything good to say, say nothing... and I have nothing to say.”
GOD HAS A PLAN
“I’ve always wanted to do a gospel CD, and I promised my mother that I would do it. It was really great, and, as a matter of fact, I own all the masters.” One of the tracks on Willie’s preceding CD, Patricia Thomas’ God Has a Plan, is now the title song of his new Avanti album. To give you an idea of the volume and number of people involved, on Victor Allen’s uptempo song called Put God First (in Your Life) Willie is backed by a thirty-plus Anderson United Methodist Church Choir featuring Harvey Watkins, Jr. of the Canton Spirituals.
Walter Witherspoon III wrote six songs out of the eleven on display, and on most of those tracks The Antioch Full Gospel Baptist Church Choir delivers background vocals, so Willie has succeeded in surrounding himself by masses of inspirational sounds. “It was easy, because my background is gospel, so I was in.” Walter is also one of the co-producers and plays guitar and keyboards on the set. Dwight Gordon is another key figure behind the project. “I met them along the way, and I knew they had strong background and strong experience in the gospel field. They liked to produce a gospel project on me. We agreed, and the rest is history.”
Three of the songs we know from the secular side: Lionel Richie’s Jesus Is Love (by the Commodores in 1980), Sam Cooke’s That’s Heaven to Me and Gamble & Huff’s Stairway to Heaven. Although Willie’s interpretations are as magnificent as always, however for me the O’Jays’ original delivery on the last one is unsurpassable.
Both dynamic “holy ghost partying” and soul-stirring slow readings, I’m sure that with God Has a Plan Willie surprised a lot of audiences with his inspiring gospel set. “The CD is still selling very well.”
IT’S ABOUT LOVE
To convince a person of Willie Clayton’s soulful style and vocal abilities, just play that person Everytime you go away. It is the opener on Willie’s next CD called It’s about Love and at least I haven’t heard a better version of this familiar Daryl Hall song yet. With equal intensity Willie handles both the bluesy Caught up and Cheatin’ on Me, as well as the three rolling mid-tempo numbers - You May Need This Road, Talk to Me (not the Joe Seneca song) and That Woman Ain’t Havin’ It.
With the exception of that opener, Willie has written or co-written all the rest twelve songs, and among them there are numerous down-tempo winners: Let’s Stay Together (not the Al Green song), This Broken Heart, I Gotta Good Woman, Stop Running from Love, I Got Beat out and the inspirational Jesus Will Make a Way. For me, however, the ultimate song on this set is the almost achingly beautiful You Don’t Know It, which just calls for repeated plays. It really touches your heart... or at least it should.
Produced by Willie and Terry Kimble, also this CD was later re-released on Malaco six year later. In terms of soul music It’s about Love is a great album, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle. Originally it was released on the Sumthing Else label. “That was Nile Rodgers’ label out of New York, but nothing was recorded in New York. We did a partnership, but I got those masters returned back to me as well. Terry is Terence Kimble and he was a keyboard player of mine.” Born in 1964, Terence later became known as T.K. Soul, who released his debut solo set in 2002.
THE LOST TRACKS
Willie’s last Avanti album in 2000 is called The Lost Tracks, and it consists of ten old songs, which have been remixed – partially by using that horrible vocoder – and to an extent rerecorded. There are, however, four new self-written tunes: a routine dancer called Close the “P” Store and a Tyrone-type of a mid-tempo number titled Cup Cake. The two cream cuts are the pleading and soulful Take Me to Heaven and a beautiful country-soul tune named I Miss You Babe.
“The CD was distributed by Avanti, and then Johnny (Vincent) got sick and passed, so I pulled it right back in.” Johnny passed in February 2000. On an Avanti compilation called Beauty & The Beast Willie still sang two songs: Later I’ll Pay and We’ve Got to Stop Meeting.
CALL ME MR. C
On Willie’s next Clatown CD titled Call Me Mr. C in 2000, Terry Kimble and Paul Richmond are the ones to blame for bringing the machines to the fore in their arrangements, while Harrison Calloway has used some real instruments on the three Willie-written songs that he arranged – the uptempo Same Thang Made You Laugh, the mid-tempo He Don’t Love You Like I Do and the downtempo Good Enough to Keep Me.
Among new covers there are Teddy Pendergrass’ ’81 lively hit I Can’t Leave Your Love Alone and Tyrone’s ’73 Without You in My Life. The drawing card, however, is a mellow beat ballad and a duet with Betty Wright called Heart Have a Change of Mind. “Betty has been a friend of mine for many years. We were like a brother and a sister. She and Angelo Morris wrote a song, Terence told me about the song, and the rest is history.” That song and a couple of others aside, I’m afraid that this isn’t one of the most exciting Willie Clayton CDs mostly because of machine domination. However, on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart it climbed as high as # 14.
THE LITTLE GIANT OF SOUL
What an apt title, not only for Willie’s next CD but for the very singer himself. The CD was released on Claytown in 2001. “It’s a lot of uptempo.” What Willie says is true. Based on Terry Kimble’s producing and programming, we are treated to such steppers and dancers as Wiggle, Shake it and Cheatin’ Game. Among the five slow songs there’s the old Z.Z. Hill hit, Love Is So Good When You’re Stealing It, written by Frank-O Johnson and Jimmy Lewis, but no new killer ballads this time. I think the only live player on this CD is D.D. Jackson on guitar. It’s a pity that the title of the CD didn’t match with the music for my taste in this case, but who I am to judge – witness Billboard placing: # 7 on Top Blues Albums.
In May 2002 there’s one interesting release titled Essential Love Songs on Al Bell’s Bellmark label, a 12-track compilation of Willie’s more romantic recordings from yesteryears. It’s a good selection – see the discography at the end of the article – but how did it come about? “I don’t recall that. I and Al know each other pretty well, but I never did business with him like that, so I don’t know how that could have taken place. Maybe he acquired old songs from a company that I was with, but he and I have never been in record business.”
Coming up in the third part of the feature: Willie’s very strong releases on his own EndZone label and Malaco Records!
Read Part 1 (1956-1992) and Part 3 (2002-2022)
LET’S GET TOGETHER (Ace 2052) 1993
Three People (Sleeping In My Bed) / Don’t Make Me Pay / Back Street Love Affair / Let’s Get Together / Does Your Mama Know / Walk Away / Party Down / I Love Stealing It / How Do You Love 2 / Let Me Love You / Feels Like Love
SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL (Ace 2054) 1994
Lose What You Got / Dancing With My Baby / Love Stealing Ain’t Worth Stealing / Crazy For You / Ain’t No Way / Oops, There It Is / Tell Me / So Glad You’re Mine / Simply Beautiful / Once Upon A Time / Stay / Do To You
NO GETTING OVER ME (Ichiban, ICH 1182-2) 1995
No Getting Over Me / Never Knew Love / We Did It / Meet Me Tonite / Soap Opera Love Affair / Tell Me / Somebody / Love 4 Tonite / Midnite Dr. / That’s The Way I Feel About You / Weak 4 U / Missing You
AT HIS BEST (Ichiban, ICH 1503-2) 1995
Open The Door To Your Heart / Love Pains / What A Way To Put It / One Night Stand / So Tied Up / Best Years Of My Life / Leaving Me / I’ve Been Loving You Too Long To Stop Now / Shining Star / I’ll Take Care Of You / In The Mood / Show Me
ACE IN THE HOLE (Ace 2066) 1996
Equal Opportunity (& Pat Brown) / Three People (Sleeping In My Bed) (& Lynn White) / Hurt By Love / In Need Of A Good Woman / My Baby’s Cheating On Me / Rocking Chair / Careless / Bartender Blues / I Love Stealing It / Happy / Running In Life / Stone Good Lover / Equal Opportunity (solo)
CHAPTER ONE (Gamma 7001-2) 1997
Bust My Bubble / Rock And Hold Ya / So Very Hard To Go / Last Rendevous / Once Upon A Time / Sweet Thang / Our Love / She’s Your Woman / The Blues / Arms Of Another Man / Prove It / Living With Me / Bust My Bubble (feat. P. Smooth)
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT (Avanti 1007) 1998 -> Malaco 7528 in 2005
Mine All Mine (feat. Tyrone Davis) / Heart Of The City / Let Me Be (Your Spare Time) / Love Is Something Beautiful / Are You Married / One Last Kiss / Hot Stuff / Ain’t Nothing I Can Do / Something To Talk About / Help You Pay Him Back / God Has A Plan / I Love You (But I Can’t Feel A Thing) / I’m Going To Your Wife (feat. Pat Brown) / Unconditional Love
WILLIE CLAYTON’S GREATEST HITS – MIDNIGHT DOCTOR (U.K.; Westside, WESF 101) 1998
Three People (Sleeping In My Bed) / Walk Away From Love / In Need Of A Good Woman / Dancing With My Baby / Equal Opportunity / Young Blues Man / Meet Me Tonight / My Baby’s Cheating On Me / Let’s Get Together / Looking For A Good Woman / Lose What You Got / Love Stealing Ain’t Worth Stealing / I Love Stealing It / Once Upon A Time / Don’t Make Me Pay For His Mistakes / Main Squeeze / Midnight Doctor
GOD HAS A PLAN (Avanti 4005) 1998
God Has A Plan / Put God First (In Your Life) / Jesus Is Love / Holy Ghost Party / You Did / Satisfied / Free My Soul / That’s Heaven To Me / Jesus I Love You / Stairway To Heaven / Been Good To Me
IT’S ABOUT LOVE (Sumthing Else, SE-1005) 1999 -> Malaco 7527 in 2005
Everytime You Go Away / Caught Up / This Broken Heart / I Gotta Good Woman / You May Need This Road / Stop Running From Love / Cheatin’ On Me / Let’s Stay Together / Talk To Me / I Got Beat Out / That Woman Ain’t Havin’ It / You Don’t Know It / Jesus Will Make A Way
THE LOST TRACKS (Avanti 1026) 2000
Three People Sleeping In My Bed / Cup Cake / Take Me To Heaven / Feels Like Love / Let’s Get Together / Show Me / Close The “P” Store / Dear Lover / Equal Opportunity / Suspended Animation / Walk Away From Love / Do To You / I Miss You Babe / Show And Tell
CALL ME MR. C (Clawton, BCC-2004) 2000
Scandalous / Party Like We Used To / Simply Beautiful / I Can’t Leave Your Love Alone / Heart Have A Change Of Mind / He Don’t Love You Like I Do / Good Enough To Keep Me / Same Thang That Make You Laugh / Talk To Me / A Woman Needs To Be Loved / Without You In My Life / My Heart Can’t Let You Go
THE LITTLE GIANT OF SOUL (Claytown, CR-2015) 2001
Wiggle / Love For Sure / I’m Coming Home / Shake It / The Blues / Stuck On You / Baby I’m Ready / Is This Love / Love Is So Good When You’re Stealing It / Cheatin’ Game / Tongue Bath
ESSENTIAL LOVE SONGS (Bellmark, BLK-51020) 2002
Love Pains / What A Way To Put It / So Tied Up / Best Years Of My Life / In The Mood / Show Me / No Getting Over Me / Meet Me Tonite / Soap Opera Love Affair / That’s The Way I Feel About You / Missing U / Special Lady
(Additional interviews with Messrs Willie Clayton, Frank-O Johnson and John Abbey conducted between December 9 and 17 in 2021)
© Heikki Suosalo