Bill Spoon

A Spoonful Of Soul

Catalogue # SJLP5003

Posted in: Release Listings

Bill Spoon - A Spoonful Of Soul

Release Date: February 14th 2011

As a follow up to Bill Spoons highly successful 45 release of 2010 “I Can’t Wait (Until The Weekend)” we at Soul Junction have decided to release a vinyl only album of some of Bills other previously unissued material.

The album features two takes of “I Can’t Wait”, the 45 cut and the equally soulful but alternative take which on first hearing gives you the impression that it’s a duo before you realise its Bill singing both parts!

An excellent version of Al Wilson’s “Be Concerned” is also featured which Bill claims to have recorded in 1974 which means it predates Al’s version by some two years?

Two re-mixed tracks “Watcha Doin’ With Your Time” and “Kick Back” which first appeared on Bill’s highly acclaimed Henceforth album, are also featured have been re-worked to great effect.

Also featured is the previously unissued full length studio cut of Bill’s modern soul dance anthem “Love Is On The Way” coming in at almost five minutes long.

More previously unissued material make up the remainder of the album with ”I’ll Always Love You” and “After All We’ve Been Through” showcasing Bill’s expertise in the delivery of a soulful ballad.

So while your listening, you can also peruse the back cover which features a detailed self penned résume of Bill’s recording career.


Sleeve Notes

I was born William Bell-Weatherspoon on November 6th 1942 in Bessemer, Alabama. My greatest childhood mentor was our next door neighbour, the renowned 50’s gospel singer Alex Bradford. Mr Bradford would often bring his piano out onto his front porch during warm summer nights and invite all the kids in the neighbourhood to join him in song. During high school I continued to sing in several different groups with my friend Richard Fisher (a later member of the Jive Five).I lost contact with Richard albeit for just a short time when his family moved to Cleveland Ohio.

In early 1960 my own family followed the same path as The Fishers with us too moving to Cleveland. Once again reunited with Richard we formed a street corner group whose fellow members where David Peoples and Walter “Ricki” Dannison also known as Ricki Sonda. The group never had a formal name we just enjoyed singing on various street corners in the Kinsman area of Cleveland.

In 1962 I was drafted into the Army. During my time in the service I continued to sing firstly with the Soul Masters while stationed in Korea and later with the Uniques when stationed in Germany.

After my return from the Army in June 1965 I was reunited with Riki Sonda and he introduced me to Leroy Elie, with whom he had been singing with during my absence. The three of us soon realized that we the gist of a competent vocal outfit if only we could add a fourth voice. So in August 1965, John ”Cornbread” Berry became the fourth member of our group. Because we all had day jobs our performances were limited to nightclubs at the weekend only. Riki was a quality control foreman at the Cleveland, Chrysler Automotive Plant, Leroy was a commercial electrical and mechanical architect. John was a manager at a metal photo processing plant and I was a criminal investigator for the state of Ohio.

In November 1965 with the help of Lou Ragland, the four of us now using the name of the “Soul Notes” signed for Lester Johnson’s Way-Out label. Although several tracks were recorded only two 45’s were released “How Long Will It Last/Don’t Make Me Beg “(Way-Out 101) and “How Long Will It Last/I Got Everything You Need” (Way-Out 106). The intended flip to “I Got Everything you need” was a song entitled “I’ve Been Waiting For Love” which had been by written by myself, John Washington and “Riki” Dannison. We had even gone as far as recording it but for reasons which remained unknown to us the song was pulled and replaced with a re-release of “How Long Will It Last”.

“I’ve Been Waiting For Love” was later released under the different title of “Your Not Loving A Beginner” being recorded by Richard Fishers younger brother Jesse, and with some of the song original Lyric’s having been reworked by James Calloway.

In 1969, John Berry left the group and was briefly replaced by Avon Wells before he too left to join the “Imperial Wonders”. Riki, Leroy and I continued as a trio until 1970, but by now Way-Out records had become embroiled in a internal power struggle and it was around this time that the “Soul Notes” disbanded.

As a solo artist I followed my dream to Stax records in Memphis this was to prove a very short lived and unproductive experience for me. I then returned to Cleveland where once again with Ricki Dannison We formed the “Hot Ice” production company. This too was a short lived affair when a fire at the studio we were using destroyed what masters we had.

Bill Spoon - A Spoon Full Of Soul

In 1972 I travelled to Los Angeles, signing for the late Tom Wilson’s Angel City Records. Tom was a black producer with a proven track record with white artists such as Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel and Joan Baez amongst others. I held the distinction of being the first black artist that Tom had signed. Tom subsequently negotiating a deal with Jerry Shamberg of Polydor records to sign me as both a songwriter and a recording artist.

We cut several tracks during this period but there were no releases, although one particular track a cover version of Al Wilson’s “Be Concerned” was thought of highly enough to have been the one track that would open the door for Angel City productions at Polydor, sadly this never materialized due to Toms untimely death.

So once again I returned Home to Cleveland.

The “Be Concerned” sessions did introduce me to Gene Dozier who in 1979 along with myself and former Way-out stable mate Lou Ragland collaborated on my most successful recording. The 1979 “Love Is On The Way” release for Highland records.

In 1981 I headed west again moving to Pasadena and taking up employment with the Los Angeles County Coroners Office. Where I worked as a Investigator until my retirement in 2007. During this time I entered into a partnership with some of my former friends and associates from my previous time on the west coast. Collaborating with Hense Powell and Herbert Santifer on a project which yielded the”Talk To Me”Album in 1990 a further 4 track 12” single followed as well as a re-release of my “Love Is On The Way” 45 which all appeared on the Hense Forth Label.

The album was marginally well received in the USA but the real success came from overseas especially the UK.

My last recording project came while in Pasadena in 2002 where with two of my former Cleveland buddies, Lou Ragland and John Wilson (formerly of Sly, Slick and the Wicked) I recorded several new tracks none of which were released.

In 2008 I was contacted by UK DJ Dave Thorley, and it was through Dave that I was introduced to the UK Soul Junction Records label. Subsequently My “I Can’t Wait (Until The Weekend)” was released in the UK as a 45 in February of 2010.

A follow up album deal was also signed the results of which you have before you, a selection of unissued and re-mixed songs, selected from my many years as a writer and performer.

Peace, Love & Music
Bill Spoon

Bill Spoon - The Soul Notes
Bill Spoon - Relaxing In The Studio