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11 Sep 2016

Joe Simon “Drowning In The Sea” Of Love 1972 US Soul






Joe Simon  “Drowning In The Sea” Of Love 1972 US Soul
This 1972 Spring album produced by Gamble & Huff, includes one of Joe Simon’s biggest hits “Drowning In The Sea Of Love”, which reached number 3 in the R&B charts during 1971. Not a lot of people know this…. In the Billboard Book of R&B Hits, Joel Whitburn lists the 200 most successful artistes. James Brown comes out on top, no surprises there, but Joe Simon clocks in at number 24, beating such luminaries as Otis Redding (50), Al Green (47), Michael Jackson (40!!),and Chic (200)‘How Do You Feel The Morning After’ asks Millie Jackson on the opening track of her 3rd album cut for Spring records and first issued in 1974-.-in Millie’s case you’re almost afraid to ask. The tracks for this album were cut at Muscle Shoals studio, with the house rhythm section of Roger Hawkin and David Hood, alongside keyboard legend Barry Beckett and it sure shows y'all. The sassy Miss Jackson and some home cooked southern funk combined to produce a superb soul record, with 2 U.S. R&B hits thrown in for good measure…. 

In his impressive career, Simon began by crooning honey-touched ballads, went on to help establish the genre of country-soul (and remains one of the few true, great country-soul singers), segued over into R&B, and then saw his career descend too quickly after a groundbreaking (but ill-fated) movement to disco. 
“Drowning in the Sea of Love” was Simon’s most cohesive album, though still very eclectic in presentation. The title track was pure Philly sound, an early Gamble-Huff production that paid off with a #3 spot on the Billboard R&B charts. 

“I Found My Dad” is an interesting deaprture from the rest of the album, and it remains catchy and rousing. “Pool of Bad Luck” continues the quintessential funky groove, and on “If“, Simon’s plaintive baritone soars. However, my personal favorite track is Simon’s cover of the Stylistics’ (smash from the year before) “You Are Everything“. Simon’s version features a dramatically different arrangement, and what you are left with is the song stripped bare, and Simon’s voice, low and contained early on, building to an eruption of longing and passion. The song is imbued with such feeling that I cannot listen to it without getting caught up. And let’s just say I’ve listened to it many, many times… 
if you want to hear an solid album by one of the best (and sadly overlooked) R&B singers while at his peak, pick up “Drowning in the Sea of Love”. …. 

There’s an old saying “You can take a person out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the person.” Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff surrounded Joe Simon with M.F.S.B., hot songs, and Bobby Martin’s arrangements, and Simon still comes off sounding country, but in a positive vein. “Drowning in the Sea of Love” shot up the charts, settling at number three R&B and number 11 pop, and was a certified million-seller. This album is the most successful of Simon’s career. “Pool of Bad Luck” nearly duplicated the success of “Drowning”; both songs were similar to productions Gamble & Huff were doing with Jerry Butler. Simon’s thick Southern drawl didn’t discourage record buyers at all; “I Found My Dad” is the most country-based song on the album, with the same flavor as his past R&B number one hit “The Choking Kind.” The ballads are as effective as the up-tempo numbers; “If” and a remake of the Stylistics’ “You Are Everything” demonstrate Simon’s versatility. Though an unusual marriage at first glance (similar to when Holland-Dozier-Holland announced they were going to produce Junior Walker), it worked extremely well, producing some of the best songs of Simon’s career….by allmusic… 

Joe Simon is one of those enigmatic soul artists who, unlike so many great artists of the 60s and 70s, has never had his revivalist comeuppance. In his impressive career, Simon began by crooning honey-touched ballads, went on to help establish the genre of country-soul (and remains one of the few true, great country-soul singers), segued over into R&B, and then saw his career descend too quickly after a groundbreaking (but ill-fated) movement to disco. 
“Drowning in the Sea of Love” was Simon’s most cohesive album, though still very eclectic in presentation. The title track was pure Philly sound, an early Gamble-Huff production that paid off with a #3 spot on the Billboard R&B charts. “I Found My Dad” is an interesting deaprture from the rest of the album, and it remains catchy and rousing (even if a bit cheesy). “Pool of Bad Luck” continues the quintessential funky groove, and on “If”, Simon’s plaintive baritone soars. However, my personal favorite track is Simon’s cover of the Stylistics’ (smash from the year before) “You Are Everything”. Simon’s version features a dramatically different arrangement, and what you are left with is the song stripped bare, and Simon’s voice, low and contained early on, building to an eruption of longing and passion. The song is imbued with such feeling that I cannot listen to it without getting caught up. And let’s just say I’ve listened to it many, many times… 
If you want to experience a broader cross-section of Simon’s catalogue, I would suggest Rhino’s very well compiled “Music In My Bones: The Best of Joe Simon”. But if you want to hear an solid album by one of the best (and sadly overlooked) R&B singers while at his peak, pick up “Drowning in the Sea of Love”. …. 

Joe Simon’s Drowning in the Sea of Love is still a classic to me. I still love that title song and its lazy feel in the groove. Some of the songs sound similar like You Are Everything, I Found My Dad, Pool of Bad Luck, and the message song If. If would be another candidate song to recall the events of 9/11 of 2001, about being a better world for all of us. Some other surprises I love are the dramatic, bluesy, The Mirror Don’t Lie, the funky Ole Night Owl and the gorgeous Something You Can Do Today. This is really Joe Simon’s best album to me and could rival any of Otis Redding’s albums for the male soul singer title. It is addictive, catchy, musical, and wonderfully performed. Simon sings like he’s lived it in these songs, as if he wrote the songs himself! One of my all-time favorite albums! ……. 

1972’s “Drowning In the Sea Of Love” marked Joe Simon’s seventh studio set in six years. Quite an impressive track record. Produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the album was recorded in Philadelphia’s Sigma Studios with what would become the cream of Philly International’s sessions players. Musically this set wasn’t a major change in Simon’s career, but surrounded by strong material, including five Gamble and Huff originals, the end result was one of Simon’s most impressive and enjoyable releases. One thing that’s always left me a bit confused were reviews that pointed to the album’s country edge. Frankly, I don’t hear it. To my ears the set showcased a mixture of love man ballads ('Glad To Be Your Lover’), old school soul ('Ole Night Owl’) and Philly International-styled social commentary ('I Found My Dad’). Country and country-soul ? Yes, that was the case of many of the early albums, but this time around … beats me. Anyhow, the good news was that Simon was in prime form, keeping his occasional nasally twangs at bay throughout the set. Surrounded by sympathetic producers and first rate material there simply wasn’t a bad song on the album. Even his glacial paced remake of The Stylistics 'You Are Everything’ was worth hearing. By my count, seven out of ten tunes were “best of” material. Impressive batting average for anyone. … 


I discovered this album after reading a review on here a few weeks ago. That review appears to have been deleted so I don’t know who to thank ……. but whoever it was, thank you. 

My attention was drawn to it because of the title. A little known UK rock band from the early seventies called Snafu, featuring Micky Moody who would go on to be in Whitesnake and former Procul Harum drummer and Freedom vocalist Bobby Harrison, recorded the title track of this album and I have always thought it was a great song. What I wasn’t expecting though was the rest of the album to be so good. There is not a bad song on here and although Simon’s voice gets a little nasal at times it is good and works well with the material. 

Picking out highlights seems wrong when the whole album is so good but if forced I would cite the title track, 'Glad To Be Your Lover’, 'Something You Can Do Today’, 'Let Me Be The One’ and 'Pool Of Bad Luck’ but I wouldn’t skip the other tracks for quids. 

If you like a bit of soul and a good vocal give this a go if you can lay your hands on a copy. I will certainly be on the lookout for more Joe Simon albums and if they are half as good as this I’ll be more than happy. ….. 

A1 Drowning In The Sea Of Love 3:22 
A2 Glad To Be Your Lover 2:56 
A3 Something You Can Do Today 4:16 
A4 I Found My Dad 2:48 
A5 The Mirror Don’t Lie 4:31 
B1 O'le Night Owl 2:37 
B2 You Are Everything 
Written-By – Linda Creed, Thom Bell 
4:13 
B3 If 3:21 
B4 Let Me Be The One (The One Who Loves You) 3:00 
B5 Pool Of Bad Luck 

Arranged By – Robert Martin* (tracks: A3, B2, B4), Leonard Pakula* (tracks: A2, A4), Norman Harris (tracks: A5), Ronald Baker* (tracks: B3, B5), Thom Bell (tracks: A1, B1) 
Bass – Ron Baker 
Congas, Bongos – Larry Washington 
Drums – Earl Young 
Guitar – Norman Harris, Roland Chambers, T.J. Tindal* 
Organ – Lenny Pakula 
Piano, Electric Piano – Leon Huff 
Producer – Gamble & Huff 
Vibraphone – Vincent Montana, Jr. 
Written-By – Bunny Sigler (tracks: A2, A4, A5, B3), Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff* (tracks: A1, A3, B1, B4, B5), Phil Hurtt (tracks: A2, A4, A5, B3)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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