Bill Medley 100%
Soft And Soulful
You know the big hits "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' and "Unchained Melody," along with the entire blue-eyed soul brigade the Righteous Brothers cultivated. But after Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield first split up in 1968 (they reunited in 1974 for "Rock And Roll Heaven"), the former went on to release two solo albums: Bill Medley 100 %
and Soft And Soulful
. Now the two have been reissued on a single CD packaged with a booklet that includes new liner notes by Richie Unterbeger and a reproduction of the original liner notes from the albums.
Bill Medley 100% features some very popular standards of the day and lots of horns, bordering on a little too much Vegas schmaltz. Tunes like "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" and "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)" are competent reads and Medley's voice is truly a gift that resonates throughout. He fares much better on lesser known stuff like the sparkling opener "Brown Eyed Woman," which was released as a single from this album.
The one standard I do like is "That's Life" that sees Medley bite the lyric hard and it works great!. But the best tune of the lot has got to be "One Day Girl," with its steller piano backing and just the right placement of horns to showcase the man's amazing baritone voice.
Soft And Soulful is a far stronger 12-song collection that opens with "Peace Brother Peace," with a perfect lyric for the time. This tune has got a great big gospel chorus and was the last solo record of Medley's to chart in the 60s. In "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye," we get another superb vocal. This is a slower tune where Medley really shines, as he does on most of the ballads, and his stab at songwriting (he penned three songs and co-wrote one) is pretty fruitful. Songs like "I'm Gonna Die" and "Street Of Dirt" may reveal a slightly dated lyric, but both are solid tunes.
It might be the better production or Medley's involvement in the songwriting that makes Soft And Soulful the better listen for me. Really, having both Bill Medley's late 60s solo releases on one CD is a treat and reminder of what a great voice he has.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.