Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1973)
- Terry Adams -- drums, percussion
- Raymond Gann -- bass
- Louis Paul (RIP 2015) -- vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums
- The Guilloteens (Louis Paul)
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: Reflections of the Way It Really Is
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: small cut out hole top left corner; gatefold sleeve
Catalog ID: 5079
Singer/multi-instrumentalist Louis Paul is probably best known as the front man for Memphis' The Guilloteens. He actually recorded his solo debut while still a a member of the band. 1965 found Paul recording a series of six songs with Mac Rebennack. Though the demos were never intended for public release, producer Charles Underwood went ahead and released two of the tracks on his small California-based Intro label. Quite rare, but the Dr. John penned 'A' side 'The Change Will Do You Good' was a killer slice of Northern soul with a slinky and slightly ominous vibe. The Blossoms provided the excellent backing vocals::
- 1965's 'The Change Will Do You Good' b/w I'll Never Have You' (Intro catalog number 101)
Following the The Guilloteens' collapse, Paul stayed in Los Angeles, paying his bills working as a sessions player supporting the likes of Blues Image, Bobby Hebb and Three Dog Night. He also found time to record another instantly obscure solo 45 for Atlantic Cotillion subsidiary:
- 1969's 'Railroad Man' b/w 'Annie Mae' (Cotillion catalog number 45-44064)
After two years Paul decided to head back to Memphis. Though credited to 'Elmo' (his middle name), a third single for John Phillips' small Memphis-based Son label (John was the son of the legendary Sam Phillips), proved equally unsuccessful:
- 1972's 'I Like Rock and Roll' b/w 'He Whistles Good' (Son catalog number 191)
That said, the 45 caught the attention of Stax producer/writer Al Bell who wasted no time signing him to a contract with the Stax-affiliated Enterprise label. Under contract, Paul quickly recorded a pair of quikcly forgotten singles:
- 1972's 'With a Little Bit of Love' b/w 'Gotta Get Away' (Enterprise catalog number ENA-9056)
- 1972's 'Christmas Time' b/w 'Santa Is On His Way' (Enterprise catalog number ENA-9060)
While neither single did much commercially (the first was apparently withdrawn from circulation prior to being nationally released), Enterprise management was supportive enough to finance an LP. Recorded at Sam Phillips studios with John Phillips again producing, 1973's "Reflections of the Way It Really Is" was a marginally interesting, if uneven debut. With Paul credited with penning all 12 songs, musically the set was quite eclectic. The leadoff instrumental showcased a surprisingly funky sound and may have been the album's standout effort. 'Hey Mr. Moon' and 'I'll Be Leaving When the Morning Comes' sported a pleasant country-rock feel, while 'Knight In Armour' and 'My Dream' were rather MOR-ish ballads. Paul certainly had a nice soulful voice (his falsetto was less impressive with 'Misty Crystal' recalling Lou Christie), but the lack of focus and some hackneyed arrangements (blame Phillips) didn't exactly help the proceedings. To my ears and tastes this was a good example of an album that managed to totally ignore an artist's strengths. Exemplified by tracks like 'Killed In Action' and 'There's a Light, There's a Moon, The Sun Above' Paul had a fantastic, blue-eyed soul voice that was simply wasted throughout most of the set.
Speculation on my part, but in their efforts to obscure Paul's racial background (white guy on a label oriented to a black audience), Enterprise marketing executives overlooked the fact that clowns don't sell ... The combination of the label's lack of interest in promoting the set, combined with Stax/Enterprise's growing business problems saw the collection quickly disappear into cutout bins.
of the Way It Really Is" track listing:
1.) Leave the Door Where You Found It (instrumental) (Louis Paul) - 4:06 rating: **** stars
For a guy known for his soulful voice, opening the album with an instrumental came as a surprise. The first half of 'Leave the Door Where You Found It' was a nice enough slice of Stax flavored soul, with an exceptional Paul performance on lead guitar. The hard rock oriented second half was an even bigger surprise. Who would've expected a killer hard rock opener ?
2.) Hey Mr. Moon (Louis Paul) - 2:00 rating; *** stars
Sweet country-rock ballad with some nice backing vocals from Terry Adams and Raymond Gann.
3.) Knight In Armour (Louis Paul) - 2:29 rating; *** stars
'Knight In Armor' was a nice, kind of CCR-esque, country-tinged rocker. Quite a bit of commercial potential on this one.
4.) The Stars Belong To You (Louis Paul) - 5:05 rating; ** stars
A keyboard powered big ballad, it took awhile for 'The Stars Belong To You' to kick into gear and when it did, the song suffered from a lounge act, MOR lyric and feel. I will admit to liking Paul's twangy guitar solo.
5.) I Cross My Heart (I Love You) (Louis Paul) - 3:08 rating; ** stars
Another big ballad that started out slow and improved at the midway point when Paul cut loose with a crushing guitar solo. To be honest, he didn't sound very comfortable singing this one.
6.) My Dream (Louis Paul) - 3:08 rating; *** stars
Another ballad that left me torn. The song was pretty good when it showcased Paul sang in a lower register and showcased his acoustic and electric guitar chops. The falsetto segments ... not so much.
- 1972's 'My Dream' b/w 'I Like Rock and Roll' (Enterprise catalog number ENA-9094)
Previously released as a 1972 single, 'I Like Rock and Roll' was a dreadful example of Elvis-itis. The combination of Paul straining to turn in his best Elvis impersonation and a dreadful '50s flavored tune made this one simply terrible.
2.) Killed In Action (Louis Paul) - 3:30 rating; **** stars
Strictly my opinion, but the taunt, soulful 'Killed In Action' is the kind of stuff Paul should have concentrated on. Anyone who admired Alex Chilton's blue-eyed soul voice should find this one to be a keeper. Kudos to Raymond Gann for a near-perfect bass line.
3.) Misty Crystal (Louis Paul) - 3:28 rating: *** stars
It reminded me of a Lou Christie song (not necessarily a bad thing), but 'Misty Crystal was one of the album's most conventional and commercial tunes.
4.) Merry-Go-Round (Louis Paul) - 2:25 rating; ** stars
The fact it was the album's dullest song didn't stop Enterprise from tapping 'merry Go Round' as a single
- 1973's 'Merry Go Round' b/w 'Misty Crystal' (Enterprise catalog number ENA-9077)
5.) I'll Be Leaving When the Morning Comes (Louis Paul) - 3:52 rating; **** stars
Southern-rock-styled ballad that wouldn't have sounded out of place of a Marshall Tucker album. Nice guitar solo on this one.
6.) There's a Light, There's a Moon, The Sun Above (Louis Paul) - 3:38 rating; **** stars
'There's a Light, There's a Moon, The Sun Above' closed the album with another example of how good Paul's voice was. Showcasing his lower range and rugged delivery, this one could easily have gone toe-to-toe with anything out of Tony Joe White's catalog. Add in a subtle anti-war lyric, and this was another album highight.
With Stax and Enterprise subsequently collapsing into bankruptcy Paul struggled to pick up the pieces, continuing to record and release 45s on a series of large and small labels. First out the door was a seat-of-the-pants release in partnership with John Phillips on his Cookin' Memphis label:
- 1975's 'Love Someone (And Make 'em Happy)' b/w 'There Ain't Been No Rockin' (Since Rock and Roll Left Town)' (Cookin' Memphis 711 A/B)
While the single went nowhere, Leon Russell signed Paul to the Shelter label which promptly re-issued 'Love Someone (And Make 'em Happy)' as a single:
- 1976's 'Love Someone and Make 'em Happy' b/w 'Crystal Blue' (Shelter catalog number SR-40430)
Sadly, only 67, Paul died in an August 2015 car accident.
I've never found any Paul live material on-line, but YouTube has a 2009 clip with Paul appearing on George Klein's Memphis Sounds television program, discussing The Guilloteens and briefly mentioning this album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlOr5KmzoAo
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