EDDIE HOLMAN-A NIGHT TO REMEMBER.

EDDIE HOLMAN-A NIGHT TO REMEMBER.

Eddie Holman’s career began when in 1956, he was just ten years old, when he auditioned for the Amateur night at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theatre. Soon, Eddie was hooked. Music came easy to him, he’d been playing piano and guitar from his early years. Following that night at the Apollo, Eddie was soon singing on Broadway, and even at the Carnegie Hall. His mother realizing Eddie was an extremely talented and gifted singer and musician, enrolled Eddie in Harlem’s Victoria School of Music. Little did she realize, that by the time Eddie was sixteen in 1962, he’d have released his debut single. Fifteen years later, much had happened to Eddie Holman. He’d just singed to Salsoul Records, and would release his second album, A Night To Remember, seven years after his 1970 debut album I Love You. Before I tell you about A Night To Remember, I’ll tell you about Eddie’s career up until then.

When Eddie was a teenager, the Holman family moved to Philadelphia. This was their second move. Eddie had been born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1946, but the Holman family had moved to New York when Eddie was young. The move to Philly was where Eddie career took off.

By the time Eddie Holman’s career was fifteen, his career began, 1961 saw Eddie recorded his debut single Baby Don’t You Stop for Leopard Records. Then when Eddie signed to Cameo Parkway, he released Somewhere Waits A Lonely Girl in 1962. Between 1962 and 1966, Eddie released a series of singles on the Cameo Parkway label. Return To Me and Don’t Sop Now followed in 1962. This Can’t Be True released in 1965, gave Eddie his first hit single. He was just nineteen, and still at college studying for a degree in music. A year later, Am I A Loser (From the Start) in 1966 was released. From his earliest singles, Eddie was writing songs, often penning the B-sides to his singles. Soon, Eddie become a fixture of Philly’s quickly burgeoning musical scene.

Later in sixties, Eddie was working with The Delfonics and The Stylistics. By 1969, Eddie was signed to ABC Records. He was enjoying further hit singles, with 1969s I Love You, then Cathy Called and Since I Don’t Have You in 1970. Then Eddie Holman hit the musical jackpot with a song that became synonymous with him, Hey There Lonely Girl. It reached number four in the US Billboard 100 and number two in the US R&B Charts in 1970, resulting in the single being certified gold. This was a track from Eddie’s 1970 debut album I Love You, which reached number seventy-five in the US and number ten in the US R&B Charts. Following the success of Hey There Lonely Girl, great things were forecast for Eddie Holman. Sadly that wasn’t to the case.

Following Eddie’s departure from ABC Records, he released singles on a variety of labels. MCA Records, Silver Blue Records, Polydor and ABC Records all released singles by Eddie. No further Eddie Holman albums were released. Then in 1977, just as Eddie’s career seemed to be stalling, he signed for a label whose reputation was soaring, Salsoul Records.

Now signed to Salsoul Records, Baker, Harris, Young Productions would produce Eddie’s long awaited sophomore album A Night To Remember. Salsoul was filled with Philadelphia songwriters, arrangers, producers and musicians. Eddie was among friends, Philly friends who’d not just work on A Night To Remember, but rejuvenating Eddie’s career.

For Eddie Holman’s sophomore album A Night To Remember, Baker, Harris, Young got to work. Ron Baker wrote I’ve Been Singing Love Songs and All My Life. He also cowrote You Make My Life Complete, Time Will Tell and This Will Be A Night To Remember with ex-Temptation Ron Tyson. Norman Harris cowrote Immune To Love with Allan Felder and Ron Tyson. Bruce Gray and T.G. Conway cowrote Somehow You Make Me Feel, while Ron “Have Mercy” Kersey and Stephanie Andrews cowrote  It’s Over. These eight tracks became A Night To Remember and were recorded at Philly’s SIgma Sound Studios.

Joining Eddie Holman for the recording of A Night To Remember were The Salsoul Orchestra. This was the classic lineup of The Salsoul Orchestra, featuring undeniably some of the greatest musicians of the seventies. All the Philly greats played on the album. The Baker, Harris, Young rhythm section were joined by guitarists Bobby “Electronic” Eli and T.J. Tindall. Larry Washington added congas, Vince Montana Jr, played bells and vibes and Ron “Have Mercy” Kersey, Bruce Gray and Carlton “Cotton” Kent played keyboards. Jack Faith played flute and violinist Don Renaldo was part of the full string section and horn section that was key to the Salsoul sound. Adding backing vocals were the legendary Sweethearts of Sigma, Carla Benson, Barbara Ingram and Evette Benton, along with Ron Baker, Ron Tyson,  Bruce Gray, Phil Hurtt and Carl Helms. Various arrangers and producers, including Ron Baker, Norman Harris, Bruce Gray, T.G. Conway and Ron “Have Mercy” Kersey all worked on A Night To Remember.

On the release of Eddie Holman’s sophomore album A Night To Remember in 1977, it failed to chart. Two singles were released during 1977. You Make My Life Complete reached just ninety-six in the US R&B Charts. Then This Will Be A Night To Remember fared better. It reached number ninety in the US Billboard 100, number twenty-five in the US R&B Charts and number twenty in the US Dance Music/Club Play Charts. This must have been a huge blow not just for Eddie Holman, but everyone involved in A Night To Remember. However, is A Night To Remember something of a hidden gem in Salsoul Records’ back-catalogue?

A Night To Remember opens with You Make My Life Complete which is arranged and produced by Ron Baker. The arrangement has an understated Philly Soul sound. It meanders into being. Just keyboards, percussion, the lushest of strings and Vince Montana Jr’s vibes combine to create an emotive backdrop for Eddie’s tender vocal. His vocal is heartfelt, fervent and inspired. Equally tender harmonies, match Eddie for emotion and beauty. Key to this are the Sweethearts of Sigma. Strings quiver and shimmer, horns subtly rasp. Along with keyboards, they all play crucial roles, setting the backdrop for Eddie’s vocal tour de force. After seven years, Eddie’s back and better than ever.

Time Will Tell was the second Ron Tyson and Ron Baker penned song, Again, Ron Baker arranges and produces the track. Here the tempo increases. Baker, Harris, Young provide the arrangement’s pulsating heartbeat. Horns growl, strings dance and punchy harmonies lead by the Sweethearts of Sigma join Eddie. Soon, a stomping, dance-floor friendly track unfolds. Eddie throws himself into song, his vocal a mixture of power, hope and raw emotion. Sometimes, there’s a slight sixties sound and feel to the song. It some ways, it’s hard to believe this was released on Salsoul in 1977. Having said that, it’s infectiously catchy, anthemic and filled with hope.

Punchy, cascading harmonies join Eddie as Immune To Love unfolds. Norman Harris arranged and produced this slow, deliberate ballad. It’s a perfect showcase for Eddie’s vocal. WIth a roll of Earl Young’s drums, Vince Montana Jr’s vibes and strings combine to create an arrangement that tugs at your heartstrings. Eddie’s vocal is slow and deliberate, filled with hurt, heartache and sadness. Soon, Eddie lays bare his soul, while Earl’s drums reflect Eddie’s hurt. Strings reflect the emotion, while heartfelt harmonies are almost sympathizing with Eddie’s plight. During the song, Eddie breathes life, meaning and raw emotion into Allan Felder, Ron Tyson and Norman Harris’ wistful, melancholy lyrics.

This Will Be A Night To Remember closes Side One of A Night To Remember. Baker, Harris, Young drive the arrangement along, creating a pulsating beat. Keyboards add flamboyance, strings dance appreciatively and joyously and horns growl, The arrangement builds and builds. It’sa  truly delicious, vintage slice of Salsoul. One part of you wants this to last forever, the other wants to hear what happens next. What happens is Eddie’s sassy, teasing vocal enters. Eddie becomes Dr. Love. Punchy harmonies accompany him, each forcing the other to greater heights. Meanwhile, The Salsoul Orchestra have kicked loose. They’re at their very best. Flourishes of piano, frantic strings and Baker, Harris, Young drive this musical juggernaut backdrop along. It’s life in the fast lane. This peerless fusion of Philly Soul, disco, funk and jazz brings Side One of A Night To Remember to a memorable, magical high.

I’ve Been Singing Love Songs opens Side Two of A Night To Remember was written, arranged and produced by bassist Ron Baker. The tempo slow, grizzled horns, a deliberate, Baker, Harris, Young rhythm section and swathes of lush sweeping strings set the scene for Eddie’s vocal. Ron Baker’s bass provides the heartbeat, while Eddie’s vocal is tender, emotive and pensive. Harmonies sweep in, with the Sweethearts of Sigma playing a leading role. They reflect Eddie’s melancholy vocal. Then later, Bobby “Electronic” Eli lays down a searing guitar solo, before bursts of Earl Young’s drums signals Eddie and the harmonies to take charge. When they do, they prove to be the perfect combination, pensive, reflective and laden with sadness and regret.

All My Life is the second track Ron Baker wrote, arranged and produced. It’s a much more uptempo track. Rasping horns, cascading strings and the Baker, Harris, Young rhythm section combine to create an uptempo, joyful backdrop for Eddie. He goes on to give thanks, his voice filled with happiness and joy, having met the woman he loves. Harmonies sweep in then cascade. Their soulfulness and emotion drive Eddie to greater heights. His vocal is swept along above the arrangement, as he spreads joy and hooks in equal measures.

Somehow You Make Me Feel was written by Bruce Gray and T.G. Conway. T.G. arranged the track and Bruce Gray produced it. This an uptempo dancer, with The Salsoul Orchestra pulling out the all the stops. Dancing strings, stabs of keyboards and a pounding rhythm section accompany Eddie. He’s spurred on by The Salsoul Orchestra in full flight, grabbing the song and injecting power and passion. Bursts of blazing horns punctuate the arrangement, while strings dance, keyboards add drama and the rhythm section provide the arrangement’s pulsating heartbeat.

Closing A Night To Remember It’s Over, arranged and produced by Ron “Have Mercy” Kersey. Sizzling, rock-tinged guitars, keyboards and the rhythm section combine to create a slow, emotive backdrop. Ron Baker’s bass deliberately drives the arrangement along, before Eddie’s vocal enters. Having set the scene, Eddie’s vocal is slow, heartfelt and filled with hurt. Tight, harmonies soar sympathetically above the arrangement, while strings add to the sadness, emotion and heartache. Although heartbreakingly sad, it’s a very beautiful song, allowing Eddie to showcase his vocal prowess. This seems a fitting way to close A Night To Remember.

Seven years after the release of Eddie Holman’s debut album I Love You, on ABC Records, came his sophomore album A Night To Remember. While Eddie’s fans had had a long wait for the followup to I Love You, Eddie was in good voice on A Night To Remember. Ballads and uptempo tracks sat comfortably side by side. Baker, Harris, Young Productions worked hard  Eddie’s sophomore album. Along with the Philly friends, A Night To Remember had “Made In Philadelphia” written all over it. Each of the eight tracks were written, arranged and produced by Philly musicians. Similarly, most of The Salsoul Orchestra who accompanied Eddie Holman on A Night To Remember were from Philly. On the release of A Night To Remember, it wasn’t a commercial success. Looking back with benefit of hindsight, that seems strange. Maybe, musical fashions had changed and Eddie Holman’s music was no longer fashionable. 

Given the music on A Night To Remember, it deserved to be a bigger commercial success. There was nothing wrong with the music on A Night To Remember.  This meant that there was no followup to A Night To Remember. Sadly, not only was A Night To Remember, Eddie Holman’s the only album he released on Salsoul Records, but his final secular album. So A Night To Remember is a tantalizing taste of one of the most talented and underrated soul singers. A Night To Remember remains not just a hidden gem in Eddie Holman’s back-catalogue, but Salsoul Records back-catalogue. Standout Tracks: You Make My Life Complete, Immune To Love, This Will Be A Night To Remember and I’ve Been Singing Love Songs.

 EDDIE HOLMAN-A NIGHT TO REMEMBER.

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    1. Eddie Holman : A Night To Remember (1977) | Mr. Moo's What Da Funk

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