Monday, June 26, 2017

Tyrone Davis - Can I Change Your Mind & Turn Back the Hands of Time

Tyrone Davis (May 4, 1938 – February 9, 2005), born Tyrone Fettson, was a leading American soul singer with a distinctive style, recording a long list of hit records over a period of more than 20 years. He had three no. 1 hits on the Billboard R&B chart: "Can I Change My Mind" (1968), "Turn Back The Hands Of Time" (1970), and "Turning Point" (1975).

Tyrone Fettson was born in a rural community twenty miles outside of Greenville, Mississippi to Willie Branch and Ora Lee Jones. He moved with his father to Saginaw, Michigan, before relocating to Chicago in 1959.

Working as a valet/chauffeur for blues singer Freddie King, he started singing in local clubs where he was discovered by record executive/musician Harold Burrage. His early records for small record labels in the city, billed as "Tyrone the Wonder Boy", failed to register. Successful Chicago record producer Carl Davis signed him in 1968 to a new label, Dakar Records that he was starting as part of a distribution deal with Atlantic, and suggested that he use the stage name Tyrone Davis. His first release, "A Woman Needs To Be Loved" was flipped when the b-side started to get radio attention. The song, "Can I Change My Mind" featured a change of vocal style for Davis with a softer, more pleading approach and tone. The record now shot up the listings and spent three weeks on the top of the Billboard R&B chart while climbing to #5 in the Hot 100. It sold over one million and received gold disc recognition. His biggest hit came in early 1970 when "Turn Back The Hands Of Time" also reached #1 in the R&B chart and went up to #3 in the Hot 100 pop chart. Written by Jack Daniels and Bonnie Thompson, this disc also sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the Recording Industry Association of America in May 1970.

Davis released about 25 singles during his seven years with Dakar, most of them big R&B sellers produced by Willie Henderson. He finally returned to the top spot with "Turning Point" in 1975. Soon afterwards, Davis switched to the major Columbia record label and recorded seven albums over the next five years with producer Leo Graham and arranger James Mack who had collaborated with him for "Turning Point". Major hits with Columbia included "Give It Up" (#2), "This I Swear" (#6), and "In The Mood" (#6).

1982 brought a change of label to the newly-established independent, Highrise and another major hit, "Are You Serious" (#3 R&B, #57 pop), again produced by Leo Graham, and written by L.V. Johnson. When Highrise closed the following year, Davis switched to a tiny Los Angeles label Ocean Front which lacked promotional muscle to get behind arguably one of his best performances, "Let Me Be Your Pacifier". Davis' days as a major chart act were over but he continued to be a popular live attraction and finally signed in 1996 with Malaco Records, the southern-based blues label recording him on a number of albums.

A stroke in September 2004 curtailed his career, and following complications he died in a Chicago hospital in February 2005 at the age of 66. He left a widow, Ann, to whom he had been married for over 40 years, and several children and grandchildren


KingCake said...

Preslives said...

Great post, KC. A beautiful album from a great and influential vocalist.

Feilimid O'Broin said...

Can I Change My Mind is one of my favorite songs. The Jamaican singer Gregory Isaacs recorded a great version as well but Davis' version remains the best. Thanks so much for posting this and all of the other great music during the past three weeks. You've kept it coming so fast and furiously that to listen to it all and write coherently on each selection in response is impossible because so much of it is new to me.

wouter said...

thank you, KC!
i had these albums, but i seem to have lost them in a HD-crash. glad to have 'em back!

poppachubby said...

New to me KC, but I love the album cover for "Can I...". I have the day off tomorrow so gonna check em out for sure.

Feilimid I am with you, I am behind as well. I think you and I are the same because just a listen isn't enough for me with great music. I need to really focus and absorb it in order to have any kind of perspective.

That's why I love the old 50's rock and r&b, it's just fun and simple without too much required from the listener.

But when you're listening to a craftsman like OV Wright, for example, you need to pay attention or you miss all of those amazing nuances he puts into his music.

Alot of you guys had the pleasure of being musically aware when these artists were contemporary. For me, I am discovering new names and grooves which i had never heard of. Can you believe I had never heard OV Wright?!?! My life feels more complete having that great music in it now.

Thanks KC!!!

nick said...

Great stuff. Thanks, kc! "Can I Change My Mind" is also one of my long-time favorites (I fell in love with it through covers before I ever heard the original), but most of Tyrone Davis' work is something I've been sadly taking for granted since I've been old enough to know better. Time to get things right!

Goofy said...

Although I have "Turn back..." vinyl I must have it as well.

Feilimid raised a good point. Good music comes so thick and fast here that it'll take quite a while for it to really sink in.

Poppa, better late than never to discover OV Wright. I'm discovering new artists/ albums here on a weekly basis and I've been listening to this stuff since the late sixties.

GuitarGus said...

Thanks KC
I've got to be honest, other than being semi-familiar with his name I knew nothing or remember hearing anything by this guy before - I've played both albums once ( it doesn't take long - Both less than 30 mins long ) And love them ! It's great to hear 2 soul albums from this period that are both so strong and full of earthy energy - When I first heard 'Knock On Wood' as a slow ballad I thought it was a different song until I realised the words were straight from Eddie's classic - Overall well chuffed

Moe said...

Great Great stuff! Any chance of posting another 2fer of his: I Had It All the Time/Without You in My Life?

KingCake said...

Mike said...

Man, this site is a goldmine! Thanks so much.

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