Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dude sounds like a lady: Arnold Blair

Arnold Blair was a singer signed to Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Records during the label's most creatively fertile period in the early 1970s--its roster included Linda Clifford, The Natural Four, June Conquest, The Notations, and the great, under-extolled singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Leroy Hutson, who co-wrote with Blair 1975's "Trying To Get Next To You":



Blair contributed background vocals to a bunch of other Curtom records but as far as I know, "Trying To Get Next To You" is his only release under his own name, with the majestic ballad "I Won The Big Deal" on the B side (and yes, he totally sounds like a chick on that cut, too). The 7" has long been one of the most coveted platters on the rare groove circuit, and it easily fetches hundreds of dollars upon its periodical appearances on the collectors market. One of the aspects of this record that soulkids find eternally fascinating is that for a record from 1975, it sounds so darn "modern," almost like something the Mizell Brothers or Roy Ayers could have produced in the late 70s or early 80s.

I sometimes wonder what happened to Arnold Blair after Curtom closed its doors in 1980. The most recent credit I've seen for him was a 1996 gospel album, and his name isn't even on the cover. Neither is his face. I've never seen a picture of him.




For some reason, I always imagine him looking like Randy Watson, though.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you going to share the last album of the Ofege as promised?

Comb & Razor said...

yes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for that, looking forward to the day you post. You have taken me years back through your blogs.

Comb & Razor said...

no problem. just keep checking back... i hope to have that stuff up soon, i've just been very busy lately.

Anonymous said...

if you want to know how arnold blair looks like you should buy feel the spirit album by leroy hutson..there's a group photo on it and I'm not sure but I think he's one of those guys

Comb & Razor said...

oh yeah? i think i have a rip of that album, but i've been trying to cop it on vinyl for a while.

good looking out!

talleygal3 said...

ARNOLD WAS KILLED IN 1996

Comb & Razor said...

oh wow... i had no idea!

that's messed up, yo... any details?

R.I.P.

gerniee said...

I spun at a party and played "Tryin To Get Next To You" and this older couple came up to me and said "is that Arnold Blair???" which already had me trippin, and I said yeah, you know that song?? They replied, "yeah.. he lived next door to us from childhood on up!!"

gerniee said...

They mentioned another song by him that I don't have nor have heard of. Does anybody have any other songs from him??

Comb & Razor said...

that's pretty interesting, gerniee... do you remember the name of the other song they mentioned?

the only other one i know is "I Won The Big Deal"... i know i have a complete Curtom discography somewhere, unless the song you're thinking of was not a Mayfield production...

Anonymous said...

No he did move on to sell real estate and is now deceased. His voice was MUCH MUCH BETTER LIVE!!! and was very handsome man..

Comb & Razor said...

what a terrible loss to the world of soul music!