LARRY SAUNDERS, aka The Prophet Of Soul, is best remembered on the rare soul scene for his Northern Soul, crossover classic, “On The Real Side”. It was originally recorded in 1974 at Soul Sound Studios, Englewood, New Jersey, for Joe and Sylvia Robinson’s All Platinum subsidiary Turbo. The song also saw a UK release in the same year on London Records. Soul man Saunders, son of Blues singer Johnny Ace, signed to All Platinum in ’73 and recorded a number demos, with in-house writer/producer Tommy Keith, including two unreleased numbers “Good Luck Charm” and the featured B side “Sweet Sweet Lady”.
The latter was subsequently recorded and released by The Moments and again in ’76 by The Whatnauts. It is claimed that Saunders wrote the song “Pillow Talk”, along with his wife Nyra Dynese, which was a Billboard Hot 100 hit for Sylvia (Robinson) in 1973. Saunders’ stay at All Platinum was short lived and within the year he was recording the title track to the political album “Free Angela” written and produced for the National Committee to free the civil rights activist Angela Davis. In 1976 Saunders moved to Soul International for his debut album Prophet Of Soul featuring arrangements by William Bell and Travis Wammack on guitar. He also recorded the modern soul side “Take Another Look” on the TK subsidiary Juana, which was credited to Frankie L Saunders. Larry is the father of the multi Grammy nominated artist Ledisi.
A1 Fly Away Love Bird 2:25
A2 Three Strikes On Me 5:15
A3 All My Friends Call Me A Fool 3:15
A4 This Is My Prayer 2:25
A5 Stranger 3:35
B1 Story Of My Love 2:25
B2 Darling I Love You 3:15
B3 Love, I Haven’t Found You Yet 2:50
B4 This World (Is A Ball Of Confusion) 4:30
B5 You Beat Me Baby 3:15
By William Blackshear
A rare, sought after, and pricey album “Larry Saunders – Stranger”, (+250.00 when market offered, and sells at such every time). Current market availibilty at this time presents soul/sweet soul collectors the opportunity to obtain the lost soul treasure lp, on cd. The album, released in the early 70s, on the small, obscure Soul International Records label was recorded at Muscle Shoals Studios during it’s glory years. Not a lot is known about the singer, there was a subsequent release “Larry Saunders & Others – Free Angela”, but Larry’s voice, style, and the production work at Muscles Shoals are what carried this lp to extremely sought after legacy!
The writer is not able to provide any information about “radio airplay” at the time of release, personally never heard any song from it played on radio. Contacts of the writer have stated Larry “was his own personality” (who isn’t?), “All My Friends Call Me A Fool” is one of the tracks on the album? The album comes across equally between mellow deep soul and the sweet soul balladry of Philly, “I Love You” is a top notch 5 star ballad!
Add in “Fly Away Love Bird“, “This Is My Prayer”, and ” You Beat Me Baby”, and clarity is realized as to why the foreigners so chased the lp, was a must in the rare soul record portfolio!
For sweet soul ballad collectors this is a must however, as current availibility numbers show, windows of acquisition are about to shut! It’s buy time, while there is time.