Brenton Wood

Band members                              Related acts

- Brenton Wood (aka Alfred Jesse Smith) - vocals, keyboards


  supporting musicians (1977)

- George Doering -- lead guitar

- Wilton Felder -- bass

- Mark Gibbons -- keyboards

- Jack Lee - harmonica

- Ken Park -- drums

- David T. Walker -- lead guitar


  supporting musicians (1986)

- Gerald Albright -- guitar

- Rhonda Bennin -- backing vocals

- Pat Burnett - sax

- Rugenia People -- backing vocals

- Hense Powell -- synthesizers, keyboards

- Josh Sklar -- bass

- Angie Whitney -- backing vocals




- Little Freddie and the Rockets 

- Shirley and Alfred (Shirley Goodman)



Genre: soul

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

Title:  Oogum Boogum

Company: Double Shot

Catalog: DSS 5002

Year: 1967

Country/State: Shreveport, Louisiana

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear; name in pen on back cover

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID:  5948

Price: SOLD $40.00


When he first hit the charts with the singles 'Oogum Boogum' and 'Gimme Little Sign' many critics compared Brenton Wood to the late Sam Cooke. In fact, on the cover of his debut album, Wood himself acknowledged Cooke as an inspiration, saying "One of my dreams is to try to be as good as Sam Cooke or Jesse Belvin - both were my idols." Judging by his recording catalog, Wood certainly had the voice and the talent.

Alfred Jesse Smith was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. As a child Smith's family relocated to San Pedro, California.  In his teens, inspired by Belvin and Cooke, Smith formed a series of local bands, culminating in the release of a 1958 single as Little Freddie and the Rockets:


- 1958's 'All My Love' b/w 'Too Fat' (Chief catalog number 33)


Attending Compton College, Smith continued his musical sideline, playing in a number of bands, including The Dootones and The Quotations. He also found the time to formally change his name to Brenton Wood (reportedly named after the Louisiana county he was born in). 

Initially signed to Wand Records, Wood's debuted with a little heard 1963 single 'Hide-A-Way' b/w 'Mr. Schemer' (Wand catalog number 145-A/B). While the single vanished without a trace, he was quickly picked up by the Brent label which over the next two years released a series of three equally overlooked and highly collectable singles. 


- 1966's 'Good Lovin'' b/w 'I Want Love' (Brent catalog number 7052)

- 1966's 'I Want Love' b/w 'Sweet Molly Malone' (Brent catalog number 7068)

- 1967's 'Cross the Bridge' b/w 'Sweet Molly Malone' (Brent catalog number 7057)


In 1966 Wood was signed by the L.A-based Double Shot label as a songwriter.  A year later he was given an opportunity to record on his own; teamed with songwriters/producers Joe Hooven and Hal Winn, resulting in the released of 1967's 'The Oogum Boogum Song' b/w 'I Like the Way You Love Me' (Double Shot catalog number 111).  A charming piece of soul fluff, the single became a fluke hit, leading Double Shot to rush Wood back into the studio to record album's worth of material in support of the single.  Released as "Oogum Boogum" the album contained a surprisingly impressive collection of pop-soul. Propelled by the title track and the follow-up hit 'Gimme Little Sign', the album effectively highlighted Wood's attractive voice and knack for laidback, but commercial covers. The album also includes a strange cover of the Count Five's 'Psychotic Reaction' (apparently chosen since the band was also signed to Double Shot).  Buoyed by his unexpected success, Wood suddenly found himself a major star, complete with television appearances, including Dick Clark's American Bandstand, and sold out concert dates.


As mentioned earlier, Double Shot enjoyed two massive hits off the album:


- 1967's 'The Oogum Boogum Song' b/w 'I Like The Way You Love Me' (Double Shot catalog number 111) 
- 1967's 'Gimme Little Sign' b/w 'I Think You've Got Your Fools Mixed Up

' (Double Shot catalog number 116) 

Simply a great soul album that's been sadly overlooked in most places.  Well worth discovering since you can still find it on the cheap.


"Oogum Boogum" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I Think You've Got Your Fools Mixed Up   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn)) - 1:59
2.) A Little Bit of Love   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 1:57
3.) Best Thing I Ever Had   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen  - Hal Winn) - 2:20
4.) Runnin' Wild   (A. Mathis) - 2:30
5.) Take a Chance   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:20
6.) The Oogum Boogum Song   (Alfred Smith) - 2:25

(side 2)

1.) Gimme Little Sign   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:19
2.) Psychotic Reaction
3.) I'm the One Who Knows   (Alfred Smith) - 2:25
4.) Come Here Girl   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn)  - 2:27
5.) Birdman   (Alfred Smith) - 2:25
6.) I Like the Way You Love Me   (Alfred Smith) - 2:25



Worth checking out, YouTube has a decent black and white television performance of 'Gimme Some Kind of Sign':



For anyone interested, Wood has a small website at:




Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Baby You Got It

Company: Double Shot

Catalog: DSS 5003

Year: 1968

Country/State: Shreveport, Louisiana

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 5949

Price: SOLD $40.00


In the wake of Brenton Wood's significant chart successes with the singles 'The Oogum Boogum Song' and 'Gimme Little Sign' it was only natural that record label management would push for a rapid follow-up.  Wood's second release within the last twelve months, "Baby You Got It" did little to tamper with the basic formula that made his earlier release such a pleasure.  Unfortunately, even though the album continued Wood's collaboration with producers/writers Joe Hoveen and Hal Winn (with writing partner Alfred Smith), the short turn-around and pressure for more material was apparent across the album's dozen tracks.  At least to my ears, a couple of the songs sounded like unfinished demos ('Ooh-La-Da-De'), while other performances sounded dated as if they'd been pulled out of the tape archives ('Me and You').  That wasn't to imply the album was a waste. Much of the collection underscored Wood's artistic strengths, including a playful voice that was instantly identifiable and a sense of enthusiasm that you seldom came across.  Exemplified by material like '' Baby You Got It', 'Give It Up', and 'Little Happy-Go-Lucky Girl' the set offered up another attractive collection of Southern California-influenced pop-soul.  Unless you've heard it, the hybrid's hard to accurate describe - too pop to be consider true soul, and too soul to be considered true pop - you'll frequently see it referred to as 'brown eyed soul'.  Elsewhere, featuring an autoharp solo (not your everyday soul instrumentation), 'Catch You On The Rebound' and the surprisingly bluesy 'Trouble' stood as personal favorites.  


- Blessed with a great pop-soul melody and an instantly infectious chorus,  'Baby You Got It' was the album's standout performance.  As good as anything on the debut album, it was easy to see why Double shot tapped it as the collection's debut single.  Shame it wasn't longer.   rating: **** stars

- Apparently meant as a tribute to his 1950s musical roots, 'Me and You' was a period piece ballad.  While it was interesting to hear Wood employ a crystal clear falsetto and a spoken word segment, the song was simply too old fashioned for pop-soul fans.   rating: ** stars

- Featuring a double tracked vocal, one channel showcasing Wood in an uncomfortable falsetto, 'Ooh-La-Da-De' could have been another classic, but instead sounded stark, somewhat clumsy and incomplete.  To my ears it's always sounded like an early demo.   Not nearly as smooth as some of the other tracks, but still worth hearing.   rating: ** stars

- Another 'retro' sounding, 'Darlin'' has a more distinctive late 1950s' soul feel.  Kicked along by some Farfisa organ and a nice bass pattern, imagine a younger Solomon Burke with a Southern California background.   rating: ** stars

- Offering up one of Wood's trademarked, breezy pop-soul performances, 'Give It Up' was clearly a throwaway track.  Musically there simply wasn't a great deal to the song, the band finding a small groove and locking into it for two minutes while Wood vamped over the top, but his upbeat performance made it a winner.   rating: *** stars

- There was no denying that 'Catch You On The Rebound' was little more than a reworked version of some of his earlier efforts.  That said, the harpsichord and flamenco guitar backing gave the song enough flavor to make it enjoyable.   Would have made a strong single.   rating: **** stars

- While there was no doubt it was a great song, the decision to include 'Gimme Little Sign' was kind of a mystery since it was featured on the debut album.  Guess they needed to pad the album's running time.   rating: **** stars

- Unlike anything else on the album and one of two tracks that wasn't written by Hoveen and Winn, 'Trouble' was a dark and disturbing blues number.  Featuring Farfisa organ and acoustic guitar, the initial impact was jarring (where was happy face Brenton Wood?), but the end result was one of the album's most impressive performances.  Double shot came back to it as a single in 1968.   rating: ***** stars

- The other 'outside' composition, 'Little Happy-Go-Lucky Girl ' provided another performance highlight.  In spite of the title, this one offered up a somber, mid-tempo ballad with Wood using his best pleading voice to try to woe a reluctant woman.  Nice !!!    rating: **** stars

- For some reason the combination of Wood's voice and acoustic guitar has always struck me as being very attractive.  In this case 'Need You Girl' was a sweet, low-keyed ballad with a great and totally unexpected spacey organ break .    rating: *** stars

- 'Reaching back for the same creative ingredients, 'Two Time Loser' was another heartfelt, acoustic guitar powered ballad.  Even better than the earlier 'Need You Girl'.    rating: **** stars

- Closing the album, 'Goodnight Baby' was another song that sounded like an unfinished demo to my ears.  The song was nice enough with the lyric about a sleep walking girlfriend putting on a robe to come see him bringing a smile to my face, but would have been even better with a bit more production support.    rating: *** stars



Double Shot released a single off the album:

- 1967's 'Baby You Got It' b/w 'Catch You On The Rebound' (Double Shot catalog number 121) 


Admittedly not as consistent or enjoyable as the debut LP, but still worth tracking down.  Unfortunately, Double Shot's miniscule marketing muscle did little to support sales and  the set vanishing with little impact.  It was also his last album release for what was almost a decade.


"Baby You Got It" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Baby You Got It   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:00
2.) Me And You   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:40
3.) Ooh-La-Da-De   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:00
4.) Darlin'   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:32
5.) Give It Up   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:10
6.) Catch You On The Rebound   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:12

(side 1)

1.) Gimme Little Sign   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:19
2.) Trouble   (Brace - Sprague - Rodgers) - 2:28
3.) Little Happy-Go-Lucky Girl    (Sprague - Douglas) - 2:38
4.) Need You Girl   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:30
5.) Two Time Loser   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:00
6.) Goodnight Baby   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 2:17

Over the next three years Wood released a string of non-LP singles:


- 1968's 'Lovey Dovey Kinda Lovin'' b/w 'Two-Time Loser' (Double Shot catalog number 126) 
- 1968's 'Some Got It, Some Don't ' b/w 'Me And You' (Double Shot catalog number 130) 

- 1968's 'Trouble' b/w 'It's Just A Game Love' (Double Shot catalog number 135) 
- 1969's 'Where Are You' b/w 'A Change Is Gonna Come' (Double Shot catalog number 137) 
- 1969's 'Whoop It On Me' b/w 'Take A Chance' (Double Shot catalog number 142 
- 1970's 'Can You Dig It ' b/w 'Great Big Bundle Of Love' Double Shot catalog number 147) 
- 1970's 'Bogaloosa, Louisiana' ' b/w 'Need Your Love So Bad' (Double Shot catalog number 150)

- 1971's 'Sad Little Song' b/w 'Who But A Fool' (Double Shot catalog number 156)


Following Double Shot's 1971 collapse, Wood returned to the Southern California club circuit and resumed his corporate wanderings. Over the next seven years he recorded a series of sporadic singles for a variety of big and small labels including Prophesy, Midget, his own Mr. Wood imprint, and Warner Brothers.


- 1972's 'Sticky Boom Boom Too Cold (Part 1)' b/w 'Sticky Boom Boom Too Cold (Part 2)' (Mr. Wood catalog number 009) 

- 1973's 'Sticky Boom Boom Too Cold (Part 1)' b/w 'Sticky Boom Boom Too Cold (Part 2)' (Prophesy catalog number ZS7 3002)

- 1973's 'Another Saturday Night' b/w 'Attempted Love' (Prophesy catalog number ZS7 3003)
- 1975's 'All That Jazz' b/w 'Rainin' Love (You Gotta Feel It)' (Midget catalog number M-101)

- 1975's 'All That Jazz' b/w 'Rainin' Love (You Gotta Feel It)' (Warner Brothers catalog number WBS 8079)
- 1975's 'Better Believe It' b/w 'It Only Makes Me Want It More' (Warner Brothers catalog number WBS 8144) 


There are also a couple of interesting odds and ends in his discography.  Credited to Shirley and Alfred, there's a hard-to-find duet with Shirley Goodman:
























- '1968's 'Kid Games And Nursery Rhymes' b/w 'Too Much, Too Soon' (Whiz Masters catalog number 605) 


As part of it's aborted Hip Pocket Record lineup, the Philco-Ford label released Wood's two biggest hits as a 'best of' set:


- 1969's 'Gimme Little Sign' b/w 'Oogum Boogum' (Philco-Ford catalog number HP-38)




Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Come Softly

Company: Cream

Catalog: CR 1006

Year: 1977

Country/State: Shreveport, Louisiana

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: white promo label

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 5949

Price: $15.00



The mid-1970s saw a slew of 1960s soul artists attempt to resurrect their careers.  Unfortunately, many chose to build their comebacks on the backs of  ill advised attempts to latch on to the public's inexplicable embrace of disco.  Among those acts was Brenton Wood.  Signed by the California based Cream label, he made his label debut with a reissue of  a single that had already been released by the Midget label and by Warner Brothers - 'All That Jazz' b/w 'Bless Your Little Heart' (Cream catalog number CR-7602)


While the single didn't do much commercially, Cream agreed to finance Wood's first studio album in nearly a decade. Co-produced by Wood and Hal Winn, about half of 1977's "Come Softly" was an aural disaster.  Exemplified by material such as 'Number One', 'Come Softly To Me' and 'You're Everything I Need' half of the album showcased a haphazard attempt to modernize Wood's classic soul stance in order to appeal to the thriving disco scene. Overlooking the fact the dance oriented tracks were instantly forgettable, the marketing strategy also managed to overlook the fact Wood wasn't exactly the most overwhelming singer.  As a result he was frequently all but lost amidst mark Gibbons' production line dance arrangements.  In contrast Wood shined whenever he was given a chance to showcase his trademarked pop-soul moves.  Pop-soul efforts like 'Just Like the First Time', the sweet ballad 'I Couldn't Stop Loving You', 'I Couldn't Stop Loving You', and 'Rock You To Your Socks'  provided the standout efforts.  


- The opening number 'Number One' exemplified many of the flaws on this album.  While Wood's voice remained likeable, he was all but drown amidst the song's throwaway disco arrangement.  Even worse, the song actually featured a flute solo ...  blame Earth, wind and Fire's Al McKay.  Yech.   rating: ** stars

- The title track made it equally clear that surrounding Wood with groaning female backing vocals and a disco-tinged ballad wasn't a better artistic decision.  Thoroughly bad and if you want to hear the song, look for The Fleetwoods' original.   rating: * star

- Perhaps because it harkened back to his earlier soul-oriented sound (complete with harpsichord backing), 'Just Like the First Time' came off as a breath of fresh air.  The result was a breezy, easy-going, old school ballad that served to showcase Wood's wonderful voice with a melody that had one of those instantly likeable hooks.  Easily one of the album's isolated highlights.   rating: **** stars

- 'Love Is Free' was an old-school ballad.  Wood didn't sound entirely comfortable in the higher register and the song was a little MOR, lacking an in-your-face hook, but it was still a step in the right direction.   rating: *** stars

- Side two started with the album's best effort.  With its retro sound, 'Rock You To Your Socks' could have come off one of his first two albums.  A wonderful slice of 1960s pop-soul, it would have made a dandy single, though disco fans would have run for the doors.   rating: **** stars

- 'You're Everything I Need' attempted to bridge generations and musical genres with a weird hybrid of 1960s soul moves and a 1970s dance arrangement.  Not entirely successful, but not the complete mess some of the other dance numbers were.   rating: *** stars

- With another breezy melody and a great chorus, 'I Couldn't Stop Loving You' was my favorite mid-tempo ballad.  The song went a long way to capturing that weird catch that made Wood's voice so attractive to my ears.  The song also sported the album's best guitar solo (actually, the album's only guitar solo).   rating: **** stars

- A country-tinged mid-tempo number, 'Rainin' Love (I Gotta Feel It); was at best mildly entertaining.   rating: ** stars

- 'In for the Night' was another song that attempted to blend old school soul and 1970s AOR.  While the Ed Sanford and John Townsend composition was okay, Wood sounded distinctly uncomfortable trying to handle the track in a falsetto.   rating: ** stars


Elsewhere, Cream tapped the album for a pair of singles.  The title track was released in both standard 7" and 12" formats.  I've only seen the follow-up as a promo, though in Germany it was released with 'Rock You To Your Socks' as the 'B' side.



- 1977's 'Come Softly' b/w 'You're Everything I Need' (Cream catalog number CR-7716)

- 1977's 'Come Softly To Me' b/w 'Come Softly To Me (Disco Version)' (Cream catalog number CR-7118) 12" single

- 1977's 'Number One' b/w ' You're Everything I Need' (Cream catalog number CR-7720)


Admittedly a disappointment when compared to his two earlier, releases but with enough winners to at least hear ...


"Come Softly" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Number One   (Frederick Knight) - 3:31
2.) Come Softly To Me   (G. Troxel - B. Ellis - G. Christopher) - 4:10
3.) Just Like the First Time   (Alfred Smith - G. Michaels) - 3:50
4.) Love Is Free   (Frederick Knight - Bettye Crutcher) - 4:30

(side 1)

1.) Rock You To Your Socks   (J. Carbone - L. Lambert) - 3:08
2.) You're Everything I Need   (Frederick Knight) - 3:12
3.) I Couldn't Stop Loving You   (B. Raleigh - S. Fox - P. Brown) - 3:27
4.) Rainin' Love (I Gotta Feel It)   (J. Winn - R. Glasser - A. Smith - D. Graham 
- B. Todd) - 2:43
5.) In for the Night   (Ed Sanford - J. Townsend) - 3:32



There was also one follow-on, non-LP single for Cream:




1979's 'Let's Get Crazy Together' b/w 'Love Is Free' (Cream catalog number CR- 7833) 7" single
-1978's 'Let's Get Crazy Together' b/w 'Love Is Free' (Cream catalog number Cream CR-7834) 12" single





Genre: soul

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Out of the Woodwork

Company: Golden Oldies

Catalog: GO 1001

Year: 1986

Country/State: Shreveport, Louisiana

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 295

Price: $70.00


I guess you couldn't blame Brenton Wood for trying to update his sound in search of an audience - and that's exactly what 1986's "Out of the Woodwork" attempted to do ...   Produced by Wood, the album featured a  mixture of re-recorded earlier hits ('Gimme Little Sign', 'Oogum Boogyn' and 'Baby You Got It'), a couple of lesser known tracks from the two classic albums ('Catch You On the Rebound' and 'I Like the Way You Love Me', rounded out by several new tunes.   Normally an artist deciding to re-visit earlier successes is not a good thing and that was underscored on this release.   Wood's voice remained likeable, but he seemed to be uncomfortable with it, frequently multi-tracking it, or using shrill female backing singers to shadow his voice.  The updated arrangements added nothing to those classic soul tunes.   As for the new tunes; to be honest, they were totally forgettable with Wood succumbing to the lowest common denominator in terms of '80s soul and funk.  


1.) Sneaky Peeky   (Alfred Smith) - 

In spite of some dreadful '80s synthesizers, 'Sneaky Peeky' was probably the track that came the closest to capturing Wood's original sound.  Dropping the brittle female backing singers and the synthesizers would have made the song even better.  rating: *** stars

2.) Gimme Little Sign   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 

Sadly, Wood's update to the classic 'Gimme Little Sign' added nothing to the original.  The changes were minor, giving the track some needless '80s production effects.  Stick with the original.   rating: ** stars

3.) Oogum Boogum   (Alfred Smith) -

Maybe due to the fact the original was so good, Wood  didn't stray too far with his remake of 'Oogum Boogum'.   Course that begged the question of why he bothered to remake the song.  rating: *** stars

4.) This Love Is For Real   (Alfred Smith) - 

A smooth 'love man' ballad that recalled something out of Luther Vandross' catalog,  'This Love Is For Real' certainly had some radio potential and was probably the best of the new tracks.  rating: *** stars

5.) Young, Bold and Daring   (Alfred Smith - Powell) - 

Hum, probably the best way to describe 'Young, Bold and Daring' was as bad Isley Brothers ....    Honestly Wood's voice simply wasn't cut out for hardcore funk numbers like this one.   rating: ** stars

6.) Baby You Got It   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 

Another song I've always loved (I can remember heading it on the radio as a child), the remake didn't stray far from the original but once again added nothing to the original.  Syndrums ?  Give me a break.    rating: *** stars


1.) Soothe Me   (Alfred Smith) -  

A smooth, mildly Caribbean-flavored dance track, 'Soothe Me" wasn't bad, but to my ears sounded like something you'd hear at a pick up lounge on the Cayman Islands.  rating: ** stars

2.) Cold Cash   (Simon - Gasden) - 

'Cold Cash' found Wood diving headlong into '80s-styled funk.  Propelled by a bunch of synthesizers and some nice Ernie Isley-styled lead guitar, think along the lines of Cameo and you'd have a feel for this one.  It wasn't really good, but I'll give it an extra star for the funny lyrics and highly dated sound.   rating: *** stars

3.) Me and You   (Alfred Smith) - 

A nice, slightly doowop-tinged ballad, 'Me and You' sound a touch like Aaron Neville and could have been quite good, except for the horrible spoken word segments  that seemed to go on forever.   rating: ** stars

4.) You're the Girl In My Dream   (Alfred Smith) - 

A throwaway mid-tempo number, 'You're the Girl In My Dream' was clearly written with radio play in mind, but the track lacked a single original note or concept.   Totally forgettable.  rating: ** stars

5.) Catch You On the Rebound   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 

Maybe because it was always one of my favorite Wood tunes, the remake of 'Catch You On the Rebound' came off as nothing short of a travesty.   Wood didn't lose the original's breezy melody, but smothering it with female backing singers and an updated '80s arrangement didn't do the song any favors.  rating: *** stars

6.) I Like the Way You Love Me   (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 

Of all of the remakes, Wood's cover of 'I Like the Way You Love Me ' was probably the one that faired the best.  No, it wasn't as good as the version on the debut LP, but it was saved from the horrendous synthesizers and '80s arrangement.   Not great, but at least listen able.  rating: *** stars


Wish I could be more supportive of this one, but the bottom line is it simply wasn't very good.  Unless you're a hardcore fan, I'd suggest you pull out the first two albums.