West Coast artist McKinley Travis’ discs are not that rare but he doesn’t seem to have had any recognition at all. I’m pleased to rectify that omission here as he was a beautifully flexible vocalist with an acute sense of dynamics – and the fact that he isn’t better appreciated is yet another proof of how blessed the soul scene was in the Golden Age.
He cut for producer/label owner Bobby Sanders who contributed some fine material for him in the early 70s and released 45s on his own Soultown logo as well as placing them on other West Coast labels. The doo-wop flavoured Baby Is There Something On Your Mind is particularly melodic – love those falsetto touches too. Why Do You Have To Go features another expert vocal from Travis with some more high pitched phrases beautifully rendered.
But the pick of his tracks is I Need Your Love not only because of the lovely melody and chord structure but also because of the passion Travis gets into his voice as he glides through the song. A less cluttered arrangement allows us to hear just what a talent he had. Pity he didn’t cut more records.
You've got it and I want it / Baby is there something on your mind ~ SOULTOWN 109 / PRIDE 2 (1970)
Why do you have to go / Get yourself together ~ SOULTOWN 11 (1970)
I need your love / Bobby's theme ~ SOULTOWN 13 (1971)
Get yourself together / Need your love ~ MARINA 602 (1971?)