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Second to None

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Album Review

Prior to Sam Dees writing hit songs for Atlantic Starr, Larry Graham ("One in a Million You"), Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and others, he toiled first in a group, then solo, recording on many southern labels during the '60s and '70s. He never had any significant hits but kept extremely busy writing and producing songs for the likes of C.L. Blast, Denise LaSalle, Frederick Knight, and others. His name was a fixture on Billboard and Cashbox R&B surveys as a writer, and you thought he lived well, not rich by any means, but eking out a decent living as a songwriter. Not! During the height of the Northern soul explosion in England, a writer for Black Music and Jazz Review did the best interview on Dees to date. Garnering more popularity in northern England than his homeland, Dees flew there to do some shows at Northern soul clubs, take pictures, do interviews, and — for once — get the star treatment. The BMJR writer came armed with more facts about him than even Dees remembered, so the soul singer/writer/producer — knowing he couldn't BS the guy — was brutally straight when asked about his songwriting income, poignantly stating, "I've never made a dime from a song." Second to None features many of those early — "I've never made a dime" — songs. Many are demos that were dropped as finished products on other artists, and some were originally released by Dees. Three are from his 1975 Atlantic album, The Show Must Go On. Instrumentation is light but Dees' heart is heavy as he sings his words as only he can: from the guts. Included are his versions of "Cry to Me" and "Worn Out Broken Heart" (which are more known by Loleatta Holloway), "Vanishing Love," "Homewreckers," "Your Love Is Like a Boomerang," and "You've Been Doing Wrong for So Long."

Biography

Born: 1945 in Birmingham, AL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Sam Dees is a prolific songwriter, producer, and recording artist who wrote or co-wrote hit songs for Atlantic Starr (their radio-aired LP track "Am I Dreaming," "Send for Me"), Larry Graham's million-selling number one R&B single "One in a Million You," Gladys Knight and the Pips' number one R&B hit "Save the Overtime (For Me)," and Whitney Houston's "Lover for Life," among others. After the classic soul era, Gerald Alston of the Manhattans...
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Second to None, Sam Dees
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