Lou Pride passed away last year, and if he never attained to the commercial status he richly deserved, it wasn't through any fault of his own, as this final CD, Ain't No More Love in this House, full evidences. His singing is pure poetry, shot full with intonation, nuance, invention within orthodoxy, and an infectious melodiousness that springs not from studied theory and academics but from life as it's lived and known. Richly populated by highly sympathetic musicians, a welter grows up around the listener in each cut, from the lush atmospherics of the highly soulful title cut to the funky blues of I Didn't Take Your Woman to the even funkier, bluesier, and more stripped down She Boom Boom Me, with its searing Johnny Moeller guitar lines, simple but burningly in your face. And it's obvious Lou was mischievously looking to put the sweat on John Lee Hooker…both now shaking hands and exchanging grins in the choir invisible.
I've made it more than obvious that I'm not the cat to review soul, but some releases are so damn beyond the pale that they transcend genre conventions while imbuing them with colorations that formerly were only latent or not as skillfully invested as they should've been. Of course, a hell of a lot of that is attributable here to Pride's vocals and very Humanist nature. As he noted in 2010: "It seems like peace just doesn't have much of a chance to win / I wonder, ohh I wonder, why we can't get along!". Amen, brother, and that quintessentially ground-level perplexity informs everything in Ain't No More Love.
Didn't hurt, either, that he hired Kenny Rittenhouse's disciplined horn section or understood that Benjie Porecki's keyboards were indispensible to his sound. And those background vocals? Suh-weeeeet! At the end of the CD, Pride chose two time-honored cuts, the first the classic tearjerker Daddy Don't You Walk so Fast, the second Simply Red's more modern Holding Back the Years. Daddy bookends the title cut in sad elegiac fashion, but Holding perfectly brings to a close Pride's legacy. Mick Hucknall and bandmates owed their entire success to soul and soul-blues, and Pride re-captures the song while plainly admirative of its fidelities to the older mode and ethos. It seems to me he was telling fellow Brit/Irish artists "You guys done good, and I want you to know that", and that very simple warmth quite nicely epitomizes a guy who was known for his generosities and unpretentious nature. In the end, it's not really what we did that matters so much as what we were.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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