I Travel Alone

I Travel Alone

by Lou RaglandLou Ragland


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Numero has always set itself to a high standard, bringing to listeners impossibly rare, forgotten, unheard, and unissued music in various genres from funk, soul, gospel, blues, folk, country, and rock. I Travel Alone is a three-disc collection of Ohio soul and funk legend Lou Ragland's early career, which began in earnest in the middle of the '60s. The 34 tracks contained here, arranged chronologically, were recorded for several small labels. The set begins with Ragland's first single -- cut in between sessions when he was working the board at Way Out Studios as an unpaid apprentice -- which is the stellar title track, and its flip, "Big Wheel." It's followed by two cuts from the 1969 studio group which called itself Volcanic Eruption with Ragland on lead vocals. These four tracks proceed to one of the true holy grails of funk, the Hot Chocolate album. Hot Chocolate was a group founded by Ragland before the U.K. pop ensemble existed, but the latter got to the charts first thanks to their deal with Apple Records. The Ohio group's album, featuring a scorching, trademarked brand of early-'70s funk and stretched-out soul was released independently and disappeared from sight. Included here are both extended album and edited 45 versions of "We Had True Love," which are stunning in contrast. Two latter day but still excellent cuts from Lou Ragland & Hot Chocolate -- a single -- round out disc one. The second disc here contains the full-length Understand Each Other and Lou Ragland Is the Conveyor. The discs are polished (not slick), socially conscious, sophisticated '70s soul albums, by a large group (a larger version of Hot Chocolate and a guests), with a who's-who of Cleveland luminaries. It is every bit as fine, if not more so, than the earlier Hot Chocolate sides (think Mike Kirkland and Marvin Gaye). The final disc in the package contains a previously unreleased Hot Chocolate set, Live from Agency Studios, which includes originals as well as wonderful covers of "The World Is a Ghetto," and dig this, "Brother Louie," written by two members of Hot Chocolate U.K.! The sound quality of this final disc is rough. Apparently the analog tapes were knocked over to DAT in the early '90s and the masters were tossed. You can hear everything, but one can only imagine what was lost in the process. Musically, however, it's all top shelf with an exhaustive, excellent, historical liner essay by Jon Kirby and Ken Shipley. In essence, this becomes the definitive statement on Lou Ragland's early career.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/26/2012
Label: Numero
UPC: 0825764104227
catalogNumber: 42
Rank: 67301

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lou Ragland   Primary Artist,Tambourine,Guitorgan
Hot Chocolate   Background Vocals
Tyrone Brown   Background Vocals
Pierre Demudd   Trumpet
True Movement   Strings,Background Vocals
Gus Hawkins   Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Pam Hamilton   Strings,Background Vocals
RC Johnson   Strings,Background Vocals
Harry Levine   Strings,Background Vocals
Roberson   Tambourine
Carlos Martinez   Percussion
Dunn Pearson   Piano
Watson Vaughn   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Ulysses Young   Trombone
Tony Roberson   Drums
Tom Tichar   Guitar
Sonny Lavell   Strings,Background Vocals
Rasoul Carey   Flute,Alto Saxophone
Joyce Jenkins   Strings,Background Vocals
Joe Jenkins   Percussion
Jimmy McLain   Background Vocals
James D. Johnson   Organ
Herbet Pruitt   Bass
George Wisneskey   Strings,Background Vocals
Fred Wheatt   Trombone
Francis Grant   Strings,Background Vocals
Elaine Hines Ragland   Strings,Background Vocals
Bernard Roman   Strings,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Lou Ragland   Producer
Ken Shipley   Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
McQueen   Composer
Tom Lunt   Reissue Producer
Rob Sevier   Reissue Producer
Steals   Composer
McLendon   Composer
John Smith   Photo Courtesy
Don White   Engineer
Roberson   Composer
Cochran   Composer
Jon Kirby   Liner Notes
Richard Shann   Arranger
Ken Hamann   Engineer
Kathy Grant   Arranger
Dick Dugan   Cover Art
Arnie Rosenberg   Engineer

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