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At His Best: Willie Clayton

Willie Clayton

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Album Review

You can pick any one of the sensational Willie Clayton's CDs at random and come up with a winner every time. At His Best is not a greatest-hits compilation; the title signifies Clayton at his best, or in his best voice. His golden tenor is like a Porsche engine: well-tuned, powerful, and smooth as Jack Daniels. You forget the originals when Clayton remakes a song, and he does many here, excelling on timeless deep soul classics like "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "Open the Door to Your Heart," "Shining Star," "In the Mood," and the Independents' "Leaving Me." There are also two choking compositions by Sam Dees: "What a Way to Put It" and "So Tied Up."

Biography

Born: 29 March 1955 in Indianola, MS

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A gifted Southern soul singer who has never had a breakout vehicle, Willie Clayton has been performing since the late '60s. One of 11 brothers and sisters, the Mississippi vocalist debuted with "That's the Way Daddy Did" on Duplex. He moved to Chicago in the early '70s and became a club and city favorite. Clayton was introduced to Al Green's producer, Willie Mitchell, after appearing with Green, and Mitchell signed him to a deal with Pawn, a subsidiary of Hi. Mitchell produced some fine Clayton efforts,...
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Contemporaries