Arthur Prysock lived in that murky area between jazz and R & B. He had a romantic bass/baritone voice which he applied with distinction to ballads in a manner comparable to Johnny Hartman. Prysock was less smooth than Hartman and had more of a throbbin' hitch in his voice which one also hears in Lou Rawls. At the same time he could go to upbeat R & B without missing a beat, working well with the instruments which characterize that musical genre, the honking, swinging tenor, lowdown guitar and keyboards programmed to replicate an organ.
This "best of" collection compiles tracks from three albums Prysock made for the Milestone label during the years 1985 to 1987. Even though they are among the last Prysock cut before he became ill, they represent some of his best work rivaling the Verve material, including his session with Count Basie. There are all sorts of gems on this compilation. "Baby You've Got What It Takes" with Betty Joplin rivals the 1959 Dinah Washington/Brooks Benton version. Lloyd Wilson's organ sounding keyboards get a healthy R & B workout here. Joplin also joins Prysock on "Everything Must Change", "Bring It on Home to Me", and a tug on the heartstrings renderings of "Teach Me Tonight". Arthur's brother, Red Prysock, does some soulful tenor on this cut making it a highlight of the album. There are few singers who could come close to Prysock when expressing emotional intensity in a ballad. Listen to his interpretation of "I Want to Thank You, Girl" and "It's all in the Game". Up tempo tunes are not ignored with swingers like "Next Time You See Me" and "Good Rockin' Tonight". The latter more than any other cut shows the similarity between Prysock and Rawls.
This compilation reminds us that Prysock was a vocal treasure who didn't get nearly the recognition he deserved during his life (what else is new). Kudos to Fantasy for issuing this compilation to let us get one more chance to hear and pay our respects to this marvelous voice.
Track Listing: All My Lovin' Was in Vain^#; Got to Get You off My Mind*$ Everything Must Change+@; Good Rockin' Tonight@; I Want to Thank You, Girl%~; Next Time You See Me%~; At This Moment*#; Rainy Night in Georgia@; Teach Me Tonight+~; I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone@; Bring It on Home to Me+@; It's all in the Game*#; Baby (You've Got What It Takes)+%~; After the Lovin'^#
Personnel: Arthur Prysock, Betty Joplin+ - Vocals; Red Prysock, Howard Johnson* - Tenor Saxophone; Hank Crawford* - Alto Saxophone; Howard Johnson* - Baritone Saxophone; Lloyd Wilson -Keyboards; Ralph Caldwell, Melvin Sparks* - Guitar; Jimmy Lewis, Ralph Hamperian%, Wilbur Bascomb* - Bass; Leon Lee Dorsey - Bass, Electric Bass^; Don Williams, Bernard Purdie* - Drums; Lew Soloff*, Alan Rubin* - Trumpet;
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.