Today's post is going to highlight one of my favourite southern soul singers: O.V. Wright. O.V. was an exceptional soul singer. He was one of the very few that would really make you feel how he was feeling. His piercing voice let you know what it felt like to be a troubled man in pain and sorrow. He epitomized the blues in R&B. If you like artists like Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, and Al Green you will surely like the work of O.V. Wright.
O.V. began his career as a gospel singer. This is no surprise as many southern soul artists began their careers in the church. In the 1960's he began his journey into secular music lured by all the trappings and vices that it afforded. His first label was a small southern soul label called Black Beat. Since the label was so small, O.V.'s early recording were only played regionally on small R&B stations. In the 1970's he began his career at Hi Records. His records were produced by the legendary Willie Mitchell, and here O.V. also helped Al Green develop his sound. Producer Willie Mitchell knowing how talented and gifted O.V. was tried desperately to try and give him the same success that Al Green had. However, O.V. never did reach those heights. He did make some great music in his career. Upon listening to his works you will definitely hear a sound and style that is very much in sync with Al Green's music. But O.V.'s music is much more deeper, heartfelt, and searing at times. This is mostly due just to the nature of his singing voice alone.
You can hear O.V.'s influence on Hip Hop mostly through the art of sampling. His voice was sampled for Ghostface's track "Motherless Child" from the brilliant Ironman LP. His grooves and rhythms were also sampled as well. If you want to hear some REAL soul music, defintely pick up his albums if you see them. There is a few compilations that I have seen, and his earlier works on Black Beat have been re-issued as well.
I have included 3 MP3's of my favourite O.V. Wright Tracks below. If you haven't done so already join The Low End Theory Forums for more free stuff and great contributions.
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