The Smith Connection
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1972-73)
- Danny Smith -- vocals
- Louis Smith -- vocals
- Michael Smith -- vocals
- Michael Lovesmith (solo efforts)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Under My Wings
Company: Music Merchant
Catalog: MM 105
Country/State: St. Louis, Missouri
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: small cutout hole top right corner; inner label says 'DJ copy"
Catalog ID: 5147
I'd be interested in learning more about these St. Louis siblings - brothers Danny, Louis and Michael Smith. As an example, I'd love to know how they attracted the attention of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland (H-D-H), who ended up signing the group as one of the first acts on their short-lived Music Merchants label.
Once on Music Merchant the brothers enjoyed a surprising R&B hit with their debut single '(I've Been a Winner, I've Been a Loser) I've Been in Love' b/w 'I Can't Hold On Much Longer' (Music Merchant catalog number MS 1012). As was standard mid-1970s marketing, Music Merchant subsequently rushed the trio into the studio to record a supporting LP - 1972's Ronald Dunbar produced "Under My Wings". Largely co-written by Michael and Dunbar, musically the album was a little bit different than your standard H-D-H collection. Material like 'I Can't Hold On Much Longer', 'Wish I Had You' and the title track didn't exactly stray from H-D-H's patented blend of strong melodies and great vocals, but in comparison to other H-D-H acts (think Chairman of the Board, The 8th Day) their sound was distinctively old school. Sporting a ballad heavy repertoire The Smiths recalled Thom Bell's work with The Delfonics, The Stylistics and other classic early-1970s Philly based groups (the lead off track 'The Day You Leave' and 'My World Is Empty Without You' even borrowed Bell's patented sitar-esque sound). While it may not have been the year's most original release, propelled by Michael's nice voice, great harmony vocals, and some highly commercial material, the results were every bit as good as the group's million selling competitors. (Okay, the cover of The Carpenters' 'Rainy Days and Mondays' was unnecessary.) Elsewhere Music Merchant tapped the album for a single in the form of 'The Day You Leave' b/w 'I've Come To Stay' (Music Merchant catalog number MS 1014).
Wings" track listing:
1.) The Day You Leave (Michael Smith - Ronald Dunbar) - 3:54
2.) I've Been In Love (Michael Smith - Ronald Dunbar) - 3:44
3.) I Can't Hold On Much Longer (Michael Smith - Ronald Dunbar) - 3:01
4.) Under My Wings (Michael Smith - Ronald Dunbar) - 3:49
5.) Wish I Had You (Michael Smith - Ronald Dunbar) - 3:05
6.) 'Til There was You (Meredith Wilson) - 3:00
2.) Rainy Days and Mondays (Michael Smith - Ronald Dunbar) (Roger Nichols - Paul Williams) - 3:45
3.) I've Come To Stay (Michael Smith - Ronald Dunbar) - 4:12
4.) Angel Girl (Michael Smith - Ronald Dunbar) - 4:00
5.) You AIn't Livin' Unless You're Lovin' (Ronald Dunbar - E Wayne - D. Dumas)
The trio also recorded one more non-LP 45 for Music Merchant: 'I'm Bugging Your Phone (Parts 1 and 2) (Music Merchant catalog number MS 1015).
Holland-Dozier-Holland subsequently revived their business and musical partnerships with Berry Gordy Jr. and Motown. The Smiths were one of the acts the team brought to Motown, where they recorded an early 1980s album as Lovesmith. Michael went on to enjoy successes as a Motown staff writer, along with releasing a couple of solo efforts.
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