Roosevelt ( Rosey) Grier's "Soul City " was produced by Bobby Darin in two sessions (May 21 and May 22, 1964) at the RCA Victor Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA.
Bobby Darin is an original -- both as an artist and a record producer. He has an infallible instinct for finding and nurturing musical talent in the most unexpected places and personalities. That's why RIC Records gave him carte blanche to produce some of the label's first releases (via his TM Productions firm ).
We'll admit the RIC Board of Directors was slightly startled when Bobby said Ram football star Roosevelt Grier was the most exciting singer he'd heard since Ray Charles. But -- as usual -- Bobby's built-in talent antenna was receiving loud and clear. The results sing out for themselves with passionate conviction and feeling on this album.
Before Bobby found Rosey, the Ram star had been singing and playing guitar for some time with only moderate success. He even had a few singles out a few years ago, but - as a singer Rosey heretofore lacked the mysterious "star" quality that made him an all star football tackle.
However -- with Bobby as his coach -- Roosevelt Grier has finally emerged as a powerful vocal performer, exhibiting the same sock showmanship and drive on stage today as he always had on the field. Here's what Bobby himself has to say about Rosey and the story behind this album.
JOE CSIDA President-Recording Industries Corp.
"SOUL CITY IS AN ALBUM FOR EVERYONE WHO EVER FELT OPPRESSED!"
A Falstaff Beer commercial, of all things, was the catalyst for this album. My press agent, David Gershenson, heard Roosevelt Grier singing it and was immediately impressed with his potential as a pop singer.
Rosey auditioned for me "live," and as soon as he opened his mouth I knew that -- as great as he is playing football - he'd rather sing. Rosey is a natural singer, with a rich Roy Hamilton-type sound on big notes and the pulsating rhythm sense of B. B. King.
I knew right away I wanted to record him. The only question in my mind was "how?" Rosey finally answered that himself. We played all kinds of material, and the only time his eyes lit up with all-out enthusiasm was on "message" songs -- not dogmatic "down in the cotton fields" messages, but vital, citified expressions of longing and need.
Naturally the songs in this album have a deep, soul-searching impact on Rosey, but I am equally moved by them. Their message isn't only applicable to the plight of the minorities. This is an album for everyone who ever felt oppressed! It's about a hunger of soul -- a plea for understanding and self respect. It's about the inequities of being poor and the sweet, compensatory power of love to enrich even the most miserable existence.
Most of all, it's a universal identifiable expression of hope and compassion for anyone who was ever down and needed desperately to get up.
NOTE: Rosie sang 2 songs on this LP composed by Bobby
Thanks to Donna Carter for these liner notes and picture
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