Lee Dorsey

Band members                             Related acts

- Lee Dorsey (RIP 1986) -- vocals


  supporting musicians (1978)

- David Barard -- bass

- James C. Booker -- organ

- AmandeeCastenall -- sax

- Herman Earnest III - drums, percussion

- Steve Hughes -- guitar

- Daryyl Johnson -- guitar

- Kim Jospeh -- perussion 

- Dwight Richards -- drums, percussion

- Marcel Richardson -- keyboards

- Joe "Fox" Smith -- trumpet

- Eugene Synegal -- guitar

- Allen Toussaint -- piano

- Afro Williams -- percussion



- none known





Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  The New Lee Dorsey

Company: Amy

Catalog: 8011

Year: 1965

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+


Comments: mono pressing; cut out hole lower left corner

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 4856

Price: $50.00


Reflecting standard marketing procedure that placed an emphasis on hit singles (particularly when it came to soul artists), Amy Records was reluctant to invest money in a Lee Dorsey LP.  That reluctance lasted for over a year and only collapsed after Dorsey turned in four massive hits via 'Ride Your Pony', 'Get Out of My Life Woman', 'Working In a Coal Mine' and 'Holy Cow'.  When Dorsey was finally allowed to record an LP, Amy executives apparently envisioned it as an effort to squeeze some additional cash out of the earlier singles since all four were incorporated in the track listing.  Luckily Dorsey was teamed with producers/arrangers Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn for the remaining new material.  The collaboration was magical.  Unlike most "quickie" supporting LPs, 1965's "The New Lee Dorsey" was a sterling effort.  Blessed with what is to my ears is one of soul's most likeable voices, in addition to the four classic singles, the album featured a wonderful set of mid-1960s' soul.  With all twelve track credited to Toussaint, highlights included 'Can You Hear Me', 'A Mellow Good Time' and 'Confusion'. One of those LPs that sound like it was fun to actually record, among the few missteps was the throwaway 'Mexico'.  Released without much support, the album actually proved a respectable seller, peaking at # 123 on the pop charts.


"The New Lee Dorsey" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Working In a Coal Mine   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:47

2.) Can You Hear Me   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:12

3.) The Greatest Love   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:16

4.) A Mellow Good Time   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:15

5.) Mexico   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:07

6.) Get Out of My Life, Woman   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:26


(side 2)

1.) Ride Your Pony   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:51

2.) Confusion    (Allen Toussaint)- 2:30

3.) Holy Cow   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:35

4.) Don't You Ever (Leave Me)   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:07

5.) Neighbor's Daughter   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:38

6.) A Little Dab a Do Ya   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:39




Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Night People

Company: ABC


Year: 1978

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Country/State: New Orleans, Louisiana

Comments: cut lower right corner

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 2821

Price: $10.00


Speculation on my part, but I'm guessing Allen Toussaint's mid-'70s successes gave the singer/writer/producer a bit of leverage with record labels.  I'm also guessing that helped Toussaint get longtime friend Dorsey finally signed to a major label.   


Hard as it may be to believe, 1978's "Night People" marked Lee Dorsey's first studio album in years.   With Toussaint serving as producer and songwriter (he was credited with all ten compositions), the album was a grab bag of different styles and genres; all clearly intended to reintroduce Dorsey to an audience that had little memory of his mid-'60s triumphs.  That eclectic approach meant the album was pretty much a hit-or-miss affair. Whenever Toussaint attempted to get too clever, or too contemporary things tended to go downhill - clearly hoping to tap into middle American audiences, the sentiments may have been worthwhile, but otherwise 'God Must Have Blessed America' was horrible.  His nod to past hits 'Soul Mine' was simply dull.   That's not to say the album was a complete disaster.  Dorsey's instantly recognizable voice remained in surprisingly good shape,  Sinewy and slinky, tracks like the funky 'Keep On Doing It To Me', his blazing version of 'Night People', and 'Babe' were all killer performances.   Even better was the sweet, doo-wop-tinged ballad 'Thank You'.  Far from perfect, but one of those albums that steadily grows on you.  


Shame it proved Dorsey's final studio album.  Only 60, Dorsey died of emphysema in December 1986. 


"Night People" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Say It Again   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:56  rating; *** stars

'Say It Again' was a swanky, slinky, slightly lounge-act tinged ballad.  Not sure why ABC tapped it as a single since there were a couple of better choices on the album.

- 1978's 'Say It Again' b/w 'God Must Have Blessed America' (ABC catalog number AB-12361)

2.) God Must Have Blessed America   (Allen Toussaint) - 3:37   rating: ** stars

With a take-no-prisoners Gospel arrangement (the backing singers frequently threatened to drown Dorsey out), 'God Must Have Blessed America' sounded like Randy Newman playing it straight.  In fact, Dorsey's clipped vocal reminded me a bit of Newman.  You had to admire his sense of patriotism, but today it sounds a bit over-the-top and mindless.

3,) Soul Mine    (Allen Toussaint) - 3:59  rating; *** stars

An obvious nod to his 'Working In a Coal Mine' hit (there's also a nod to 'Ya Ya'), it took awhile for 'Soul Mine' to kick in to gear, but once it got going it was pretty good.  Nowhere near the earlier classic, but not a total wipeout either.

4.) Keep On Doing It To Me   (Allen Toussaint) - 3:07  rating: **** stars

And just when you were about to throw in the towel on this collection, along comes the slinky and surprisingly funky 'Keep On Doing It To Me'.  By my calculations Dorsey was already 52 when he cut the track (a hard life must have added a decade to that figure).  Regardless, on this song those years just faded away.   This was the tune ABC should have tapped as a single ...

5.) Thank You   (Allen Toussaint) - 3:24  rating: **** stars

Dorsey's nasally delivery proved perfectly suited to this stark ballad.  The strumming acoustic guitar and doo-wop backing vocals made it magical.  One of the best love songs the man ever recorded.


(side 2)

1.) Night People   (Allen Toussaint) - 4:20  rating: **** stars

The late Robert Palmer had a massive hit with his cover of the song.  While Palmer's version was good, it didn't even come close to Dorsey's blazing version.  The only thing wrong with this one was it was too short.   You had to wonder why ABC wasn't able to turn this into a massive comeback hit for Dorsey ... David Barard's slap bass work on this one was STUNNING !!!

- 1978's 'Night People' b/w 'Can I Be the One' (ABC catalog number AB-12326)

2.) Can I Be the One   (Allen Toussaint) - 4:33   rating: *** stars

Opening up with some beautiful Toussaint piano, 'Can I Be the One' was certainly old school and a bit too MOR-ish for Dorsey's own good.  This is just waiting to be used on a film soundtrack ...  Extra star for Toussaint's keyboards.  

3.) Babe   (Allen Toussaint) - 3:48   rating; **** stars

One of two songs that sounded like they'd been recorded separate from the rest of the album, 'Babe' had a rawer, slinkier sound.   Not to critique the ABC sides, but the tougher, sparser sound benefited Dorsey.   The result was one of the album's standout performances.  In 1980 Toussaint re-issued the song as a single on his Sansu label.  For some reason he modified the title:

- 1980's 'Hey Babe' b/w 'Say It Again' (Sansu catalog number 1012)

4.) Draining   (Allen Toussaint) - 4:24  rating: *** stars

'Draining' ended the album with a bluesy ballad. Like the earlier ballad 'Babe', the tune didn't sound like it had been cut at the same time as the rest of the album.  The overarching sound was way rawer than the rest of the collection.   In 1982 Toussaint re-issued the tune as a single on Sansu label.

- 'Draining' b/w 'Soul Mine' (Sansu catalog number S-1017)