Damn Near Righteous

Damn Near Righteous

by Bill MedleyBill Medley


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Bill Medley's voice is one of the most recognizable in pop history, if only for the fact that "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," the Righteous Brothers' 1964-1965 number one, has, according to BMI, been played on the radio more than any other song in history. Medley was the deep-voiced half of that team, and although he's maintained his recording and performing career throughout the decades, both with his late partner Bobby Hatfield and on his own, it's pretty much a given that he will forever be associated with that song. Damn Near Righteous is Medley's first solo album in ten years, and the first since Hatfield's 2003 death, and while it won't alter his role in rock history -- he's already a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame -- it's a commendable effort that nicely showcases Medley's R&B-influenced vocal style. That voice is not, admittedly, what it used to be: it's much coarser now than it was during the heyday. But Medley puts it to good use on a collection of both new songs and well-chosen covers. Not surprisingly, perhaps, his interpretations of R&B and rock classics are most effective. Medley does wonders with the Ray Charles standard "Lonely Avenue," and gets a groove going on Earl King's "Trick Bag." He takes Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman," strips it down so that he's accompanied solely by a bluesy piano, and gives the song a reading that utterly transforms it. The undeniable highlight of the album, however, is Medley's gravelly, dirge-like reworking of the Beach Boys' "In My Room." Imagine a slightly less parched Tom Waits on the lead vocal, except for one classy touch: sweet harmony voices provided by none other than the song's composer, Brian Wilson, and Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers. The original material is less noteworthy, although the album-closing "California Goodbye," a tribute to Hatfield written by producers Steve Dorff and Shayne Fair, is appropriately mournful and sung with true heart and soul. There are moments on Damn Near Righteous that flirt with the schmaltzy, but Medley is the kind of singer who can overcome just about any obstacle -- he even put some verve into "I've Had the Time of My Life," his treacly smash hit duet with Jennifer Warnes from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack -- and there's nothing here that remotely aims toward that segment of the mainstream. It's tempting to think that Damn Near Righteous would have made a hell of a Righteous Brothers album -- the title sorts of begs that consideration, doesn't it? -- but even more likely that it never would have been made at all had that act still been soldiering on.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/10/2014
Label: Varese Sarabande
UPC: 0030206730487
catalogNumber: 067304
Rank: 72612

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bill Medley   Primary Artist
Bill LaBounty   Background Vocals
Joe Chemay   Bass,Vocals,Background Vocals
Rick Baptist   Trumpet
Vinnie Colaiuta   Drums
George Doering   Guitar
Steve Dorff   Bass,Background Vocals
Brandon Fields   Tenor Saxophone
Dan Higgins   Alto Saxophone
Theresa James   Background Vocals
Tommy Jordan   Guitar
Randy Kerber   Keyboards
Richard Page   Background Vocals
Dean Parks   Guitar
Joel Peskin   Baritone Saxophone
John "J.R." Robinson   Drums
Waters   Background Vocals
Jimmy Nichols   Piano,Keyboards,Hammond B3
Wayne Bergeron   Trumpet
Ralph Morrison   Concert Master
Scotty Kormos   Percussion
Robbie Wyckoff   Background Vocals
Chip Davis   Background Vocals
Jeff Foskett   Vocals

Technical Credits

Earl King   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Brian Wilson   Composer
Bryon Davis   Executive Producer
Bill LaBounty   Composer
Milton Brown   Composer
Rick Carnes   Composer
Steve Dorff   Composer,Producer,String Arrangements,String Conductor
John Guess   Engineer
Cary E. Mansfield   Executive Producer
Doc Pomus   Composer
Gary Usher   Composer
Larry Herbstritt   String Arrangements,Brass Arrangment,String Conductor
Bill Pitzonka   Executive Producer,Art Direction
Greg Crowe   Composer
Mark Jordan   Composer
Shayne Fair   Composer,Producer
Steve Lorber   Composer
Greg Traver   Art Direction
Daylon Vernon Wear   Composer
Art Tate   Executive Producer
Maureen Tate   Executive Producer
Sherman Halsey   Cover Photo

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