Daddy B. Nice's #70 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"I Love You And Always Will"
Composed by Will Easley
Septemer 6, 2018:
Album Re-Issue Alert
Buy Will Easley's 2 on 1: Sweet Sexy Soul + Smokin' album at Apple.
2 on 1: Sweet Sexy Soul + Smokin' Track List:
It's Going Down
Loop the Loop
Dont'cha Like It
Your Love Amazes Me
Show and Tell
Hell on My Hands
If I Let You Go
The Real Thing
I Love You and I Always Will
Always a Friend
Wiggle When She Walk
Why You Wanna
Work with It
Back in the Mood
Big Girls Ain't Moody
I Got You
Mama, I Love You
Daddy B. Nice notes:This timely collection brings together the bulk of little-known artist Will Easley's best singles, including "Loop The Loop," "I Love You And Always Will" and "Back In The Mood". An accomplished vocalist, with a unique tone and powerful pipes, the only thing holding back Will Easley's career has been Easley's inattention to said career and his inability to sustain his productivity. The songs on this set (which combines his best two albums and showcases the quality of his material) were recorded roughly a decade ago, but they sound as fresh now as they did then. The re-issue will hopefully pique fan's interest in Will Easley and nudge him back to the recording studio.
Listen to Will Easley singing "Loop The Loop" on YouTube.
Listen to Will Easley singing "I Love You And Always Will" on YouTube.
Listen to Will Easley singing "Back In The Mood" on YouTube.
Buy Will Easley's 2 on 1: Sweet Sexy Soul + Smokin' album at Google Play.
To automatically link to Will Easley's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations on the website, go to "Easley, Will" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile:
"Wine and women,
I had it all.
When I was in trouble,
All I did was call.
Girl, you don't know
What you mean to me."
In a genre where bragging rights for vocalists are more hotly contested than any other contemporary musical form, singer Will Easley is still one of Southern Soul's best-kept secrets. Most insiders know Easley's mid-tempo dance single "Loop The Loop," which gained some playlist duty in 2008, and a substantial fraction of those fans are aware of his 2011 single, "Back In The Mood," a song more well-known by its most prominent couplet, "Put your clothes on/ Let's go to the club."
Both songs are distinguished by strong songwriting and crisp production unusually nuanced and detailed for Southern Soul, but what really makes them stand out is the hickory-hard singing style of Will Easley, who in technique and power is easily (no pun intended) one of the top twenty Southern Soul male vocalists recording today.
And yet, even amongst those listeners knowledgeable enough to have heard of him, very few have savored the finest anthem in the Easley catalog, a majestic love ballad called "I Love You And Always Will."
Listen to Will Easley singing "I Love You And Always Will" on MySpace while you read.
There are many reasons why Will Easley's song "I Love You And Always Will" has never basked on the sunny side of the street called "Marketing." One has to start with the artist himself and his collaborators. As is often the case in the marketing of creative endeavors (and deciding which song to push), it's always harder to see material from the inside-out.
The same phenomenon occurs in professional football, where insiders so often whiff on collegiate draft picks. By the time a college star's attributes have been analyzed, dissected and discussed for the umpteenth time, all perspective has been lost.
Then there's the "outsider" factor. Not only has Will Easley found it difficult to establish a recognizable brand in the jam-packed mosh pit that is 21st Century Soul, his California-based indie record label, CDS Records, has also had to work through a gauntlet of chitlin' circuit obstacles to secure its space on the scene.
Then there is this. In spite of his considerable talents, Easley's career has suffered for lack of a breakthrough hit, the one event that makes the Southern Soul audience sit up and take notice. "Loop The Loop" probably came closest to legitimizing Easley as a potential star, and "Back In The Mood" teased at it. Both songs exhibited hit-single traits without quite finding their audience.
One school of thought even suggests that Easley is too "country" (i.e. country-western) in his delivery. "Discovered" at the age of fourteen doing an onstage opening spot for (African-American country singer) Charley Pride in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida, Will Easley later specialized in country music during the eighties. "White" inflections still dominate much of his phrasing, lending his music a unique sound in the blues-based Delta.
But dozens of R&B stars--from Ray Charles and Clarence Carter down to Bobby Jones and Carl Sims--have dabbled if not immersed themselves in country music to the delight of at least some of their fans. None of these reasons have in and of themselves blocked Will Easley's on-ramp to success, and Easley would do well to give them no mind. As long as he perseveres, his stardom is assured.
However, it's incumbent upon Easley to resuscitate the unknown and unheard "I Love You And Always Will" and reissue it on a new disc. With essentially two albums, Sweet Sexy Soul and Smokin', under his belt and a third rumored to be on its way, Easley finds himself in the ambiguous position of moving on from his initial style (orchestral arrangements, passionate vocals, dramatic themes, of which "I Love You And Always Will" is the ultimate expression) to more mundane, chitlin' circuit-friendly topics and scaled-down deliveries.
"Get Loose," the first single from the upcoming album, finds Easley in the weird position of casting off even more of the sophisticated writing and arranging tools that gave his early work such luminosity, presumably in the quest to sound more conventionally and homogeneously Southern Soul.
Many of these recent songs--"Big Girls Ain't Moody," "Damn Fool," "Why You Wanna (Get Rid Of Me)" and others from the Smokin' album--work well (the three cited work very well), and Easley may still find success by trying to be more like what he thinks the market wants of him, but Easley should also recognize that while tracks like "Get Loose" from the upcoming album are a dime a dozen in contemporary Southern Soul, songs with the breathtaking depth and technical complexity of "I Love You And Always Will" are one in a million.
That "I Love You And Always Will" and "Don't Ya Like It" (Easley's sweet, mid-tempo Southern Soul song that started it all) didn't find a larger audience on their first outings wasn't because of any lack of worth on their part, only the starvation-diet airplay any aspiring unknown must endure.
To completely abandon the spectacular style ("I Love You And Always Will," "Your Love Amazes Me," "Back In The Mood," "Loop The Loop," "Don't Ya Like It") that got Will Easley to the "show," in other words, would be a mistake and the Southern Soul audience's loss.
With the break-out of such heavy-hitting, outsider acts as The Revelations featuring Tre' Williams and the female singer Lina, the case for a more pure, more technically-exciting, more instrumentally-real Southern Soul has never been more relevant.
"I Love You And Always Will" recalls The Temptations' "Papa Was A Rolling Stone." Its spectacular arrangement and ferocious vocal recall the heyday of producers Arif Mardin (The Rascals' "People Got To Be Free"), Quincey Jones (Michael Jackson's "Human Nature") and Thom Bell (The Spinners' "The Rubberband Man").
It's just around the musical corner from The Commodores' "Night Shift," Jackie Wilson's "Lonely Teardrops" and Al Wilson's "Show And Tell." This is exalted musical company.
In three and a half minutes that go by in a New York minute, the beautifully-chorded "I Love You And Always Will" balances a Lazy-Susan platter of lush, Temps-style strings, a haunting high guitar part (with fabulous swirls and echoes), a vintage female background chorus and Stax-style horns topped off by a spirited saxophone solo. Everything dovetails around Easley's authoritative, country-callous vocal.
"Pick me up
When I fell down.
When I was in trouble,
You were always around.
You just don't know
What you do to me.
And I love you,
And I always will.
And I want you,
And that's for real."
--Daddy B. Nice
About Will Easley
Will Easley was born in Pensacola, Florida in 1954. As a young teenager he won a local talent competition and opened for Charley Pride at Pensacola's Municipal Auditorium, beginning a lifelong musical vocation.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"Friends try to tell me
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
If you liked Lou Rawls' "Love Is A Hurting Thing," you'll love Will Easley's "I Love You And Always Will."
Honorary "B" Side
"Back In The Mood"
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