Count Willie Smith was a latecomer to Finley Duncan’s Playground Studio in Valparaiso, FL cutting tracks in the mid 70s at the time commercial southern soul was just about being strangled by the ubiquitous disco beat. So it isn’t surprising to find tracks like “Disco Nights” among his recordings. Rather better was the obvious “The Funky Muscle” and “No Way To Stop It” but his cream cut has to be the lovely deep soul of I’ve Got To Tell You. This song was based pretty strongly on Al Green’s evergreen “God Bless Our Love” but the Count brings his own Otis Redding flavoured vocal to the mix. His tone is tough enough to satisfy the soul purists like me, and the backing is classic southern soul. The track was leased out to Brown Dog from Minaret for a national distribution deal.
I’ve got to tell you / Double funk ~ MINARET NO# / BROWN DOG 9010 (1975) (Flip is by LRL & THE DUKES)
Note ~ You can find the unissued “Disco Nights” and “The Funky Muscle” on the SouthernAmerican CD “Soul Resurrection Vol 1”, and a longer version of the brilliant “I’ve Got To Tell You” and the funky unissued “No Way To Stop It” are on Vol 2 of the same series which is a download only set.
Special thanks to Bass Ace Jim Lancaster whose tireless work to document and restore the tracks cut at Playground Studios is a constant source of admiration.