Album Reviews

Billy Price and Otis Clay

Billy Price and Otis Clay

Artist:     Billy Price and Otis Clay

Album:     This Time For Real

Label:     Bonedog/Vizztone

Release Date:     05/19/2015


This collaboration has been in the works for quite some time, as these two soul giants have long admired each other’s work and performed together live. Stellar guitarist and producer Duke Robillard made it happen, assembling his own band, alongwith the Roomful of Blues horn section for sessions in Rhode Island, with vocals tracked in Chicago’s Riverside Studios. Pittsburgh-based R&B singer Price had this to say about working with iconic deep soul man, “Otis Clay has been my mentor and biggest influence as a singer since the first time I had the privilege of singing with him. To have the opportunity to collaborate with him on an entire album has been one of the biggest thrills of my career.” Clay, who established himself mostly through Hi Records, may be today’s best deep soul singer. He is no stranger to these kinds of collaborations, having done Soul Brothers with Johnny Rawls just last year.

Billy Price built his reputation as vocalist with D.C. area guitarist Roy Buchanan in the 1970s. When he founded Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band in 1979, he chose Clay’s “Is It Over?” as the title song for his first album. Three years later he called Otis and invited him to perform with his band on dates in his hometown, Pittsburgh, Pa., and Washington, D.C.

Here, they cover Memphis Soul (“Too Many Hands”), Bobby Womack (“Broadway Walk”), Joe Tex (I’ll Never Do You Wrong”), the iconic Clay standard (“Love Don’t Love Nobody”),  Los Lobos’ ”Tears of God”” and the closer, Sam and Dave’s “You Got Me Hummin’” among others.  Vintage soul just does not get any better than this.

– Jim Hynes

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