Clayton, Merry

Band members               Related acts

- Merry Clayton -- vocals

- Sisters Love





Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Keep Your Eye On the Sparrow

Company: Ode

Catalog: 77030

Year: 1975

Country/State: New Orleans, Louisiana

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4849

Price: $18.00



Wow, does this lady have a voice !!!  If you don't recognize the name, you'll probably recognize her contributions to The Rolling Stones' 'Gimme Shelter'.  She literally kicked the crap out of Mick Jagger on the track.  Aretha and Whitney may be better known, but voice-to-voice they'd be pushed to compete with Merry Clayton.  Over the length of a career that stretches back to the early 1960s Merry Clayton's voice has graced more records than most of us can even count.  I probably own 40,000 records and wouldn't be surprised to discover that she's sung background vocals on a gigantic percentage of them.


Produced by Gene McDaniels, I'll admit that I wasn't sure what to expect from 1975's "Keep Your Eye On the Sparrow".  The fact that McDaniels had a jazz background and the Vegas-styled album packaging left me with an expectation this set might be a little too MOR for my tastes.  The title track was certainly a mixed blessing.  Almost a disco track, the only real redeeming feature was Clayton's amazing voice.  Luckily with the exception of a couple of lame side two ballads, the album starts to kick butt after the opener.  McDaniel's roots may have been in jazz, but on self-penned tracks like 'Gets Hard Sometimes', 'Sink or Swim' and 'Gold Fever' he gave the album a razor sharp rock edge that's enough to put many metal heads to shame.  Even slower numbers such as 'How'd I Know' and '' benefited from Clayton's dynamite voice and the killer backing band McDaniels had assembled (including guitarists Hugh McCrackin and David Spinozza).  Personal favorite is her funk cover of Dylan's 'Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35'.


Ode pulled two singles from the LP:

- 1975's 'Keep Your Eye On the Sparrow' b/w 'Loving Grows' (Ode catalog number ODE-66110)

- 1975's 'One More Ride' b/w 'One More Ride' (Ode catalog number ODE-66116)


"Keep Your Eye On the Sparrow" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Keep Your Eye On the Sparrow   (Morgan Ames - Dave Grusin) - 

2.) Gets Hard Sometimes   (Eugene McDaniels) - 

3.) Sink or Swim   (Eugene McDaniels) - 

4.) How'd I Know   (June Williams - Lanie Groves - Clarence McDonald) - 

5.) Gold Fever   (Eugene McDaniels) - 


(side 2)
1.) One More Ride   (John Mayer - Marcia Hoillman) - 

2.) Room 205   (Bill Hayes) - 

3.) Loving Grows Up Slow   (Morgan Ames) - 

4.) Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35   (Bob Dylan) - 

5.) If I Lose   (Eugene McDaniels) - 

6.) Do What You Know   (Eugene McDaniels - Morgan Ames - Roland Batista) -