100% / Soft And Soulful
Real Gone Music, 2011
REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/02/2012
Bill Medley is famous for being one half of The Righteous Brothers. The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame duo was part of Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound, scoring such hits during the mid-1960’s as “Unchained Melody,” “Just Once In My Life,” and the number one “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin.’” After leaving Spector’s employ, they continued to release successful singles including their second chart-topper, “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration.”
The Righteous Brothers went their separate ways in 1968 but reunited six years later and continued to perform together until Hatfield’s death in 2003. Medley continues to perform down to the present day, primarily at the Dick Clark Theatre in Branson, Missouri.
Medley has released seven solo albums to date for several different labels over the course of his career. His first two efforts were issued following the breakup of the Righteous Brothers. Real Gone Music has now reissued these two albums recorded for the MGM Label, combining Bill Medley 100% (1968) and Soft And Soulful (1969) onto one disc.
It was an easy transition for Medley to become a solo artist. While he and Hatfield had combined their voices at times during their tenure, their usual approach was to rotate lead vocals.
Bill Medley 100% was a somewhat disjointed album. The Righteous Brothers always had a soulful quality to their music but here Medley went in a more traditional pop/easy listening direction. Songs such as “The Impossible Dream,” “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me,” and “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You” fell short of his better work. He was on more solid ground with the Goffin-King composition, “I Can Make It Alone,” which returned him to more familiar ground. “Brown Eyed Woman,” written by the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, was a moderate hit single; Medley presented his bass voice well on the building ballad. He also gave a credible performance on the old Little Anthony hit, “Goin’ Out Of My Head.”
Soft And Soulful was an overall more satisfying album as he stuck close to his soulful roots. “Peace Brother Peace” had a gospel feel with lyrics that fit the peace movement of the late 1960’s well. Other cover songs had more of a soul pedigree. “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” (The Casinos), “For Your Precious Love” (Jerry Butler & The Impressions), “Any Day Now” (Chuck Jackson), and “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby” (Sam & Dave) all came to life through his soulful vocals. Medley even wrote three tracks, and co-wrote a fourth. “I’m Gonna Die Me,” “Reaching Back,” “Something’s So Wrong,” and “Street Of Dirt” were a welcome return to the style and sound of his Righteous Brothers days.
Bill Medley 100% and Soft And Soulful have been out of print for years. Their return should please all fans of Bill Medley and the Righteous Brothers.