Tuscaloosa, AL native John Byrd recorded several sessions in Muscle Shoals, the first under that eccentric of the Alabama scene John D Wyker III. Two sides were leased out to Shelby Singleton in 1969 and although the mid tempo “You Can’t Get Away From A Good Thing” doesn’t really show duettist Dorothea Epps to her best advantage, “Just As Long As I Have Your Love” is preferable not just for her vocals but also for the better melody. A very pleasant piece of country soul.
All of Byrd’s following recordings were in the hands of the late Joe Wilson, who’s other productions include Annie Blue and who was heavily involved in John Mihelic’s excellent Statue and related labels which have featured here on several occasions. The album that resulted from the sessions in the early 1970s was “Your Good Thing” on 20th Century with whom Wilson had a contract and it has sadly become one of those forgotten southern soul sets, despite the presence of the cream of Alabama musicians and Byrd’s light, expressive tenor vocals. The funky title track was chosen as the initial 45 but it never took off and the next release was the quality southern soul groover Dibblin’ And Dabblin’ which really ought to be better known.
There were some other fine tracks on the album as well. The Island sound of “Honey I Don’t Mind”, first cut by John Edwards on his excellent “Life Love And Loving” LP for Cotillion, for example, or the brooding deep version of the O’Jays Sunshine. But for me the track I return to most often is I’ll Be Your Everything, that lovely country soul ballad that George Soule wrote for Percy Sledge. The song just drips emotion of course, and it suits Byrd’s tone to a T. Brilliant country soul.
After the release of the LP Byrd had one final 45 on 20th Century. The gentle melodic beat ballad “There’s No Cold In Me” was flipped with the more funky “That Did It” – and sadly that’s the last 45 from Byrd that has reached me. He passed away in 2004.
As JOHN BYRD & DOROTHEA EPPS
Just as long as I have your love / You can’t get away from a good thing ~ SSS INT 758 (1969)
As JOHN BYRD
Your thing and my thing (equals a good thing) / Find yourself somebody else ~ 20th Century 2078 (1974)
Dibblin’ and dabblin’ (in somebody else’s affair) / I can’t stop loving you girl ~ 20th Century 2108 (1974)
There’s no cold in me / That did it ~ 20th Century 2156 (1974)
Your thing and my thing (equals a good thing) ~ 20th Century T436 (1974)
Note ~ The writer credits on a lot of the tracks mentioned are "George Byrd”. This is John's brother, the noted sax player, who also cut for Tangerine and Pay-Tons as a singer.
Special thanks to my great friend Greg Burgess for more superb detective work.