Ricky Lewis started his recording career in New Jersey with the obscure Cindy 45s both sides of which have a funky little beat with the easier paced “Stop Think & Listen” being the better cut. But it was only after he went to the Big Apple to join the great Bobby Robinson that his true vocal abilities were realised.
Robinson leased a couple of tunes from his first session out to Mercury, and the stop – go “Someone To Love Tonight” is a fine piece of music. Lewis shows off his high baritone voice to very good effect, with the hard edged phrases being especially tasty. His other singles both came out on Robinson’s own imprints and they represent the artistic high point of his career for sure.
Although his version of “Cupid” doesn’t really add anything to Sam Cooke’s original it does point out quite clearly the source of his vocal inspiration. Welcome Home is a super deep ballad on which he delivers a really well judged performance with a heartfelt tone and some terrific delay timing. I just love those guitar fills and the way the organ holds it all together as well. Even better was Somebody’s Gonna Want Me features some more superb guitar figures (Eric Gale? Cornell Dupree?) and an even more demonstrative vocal from Lewis with more than a hinto of Cooke in his intonation. Those hoarse almost falsetto passages are just tremendous. Deep soul heaven for sure. No wonder Robinson issued it twice.
I’m lonely too / Stop look & listen ~ CINDY 100 (mid 60s)
Dance all night long / Someone to love tonight ~ MERCURY 72640 (1966)
Cupid / Somebody’s gonna want me ~ FURY 5051 (1968)
Welcome home / Somebody’s gonna want me ~ ENJOY 5001 (1968)