DONTAVIUS TURNER: Ain't Nothing (Like The Love) (feat. Phillip Ballou) (432Hz) (SoulMusic Records)

DONTAVIUS TURNER: Ain’t Nothing (Like The Love) (feat. Phillip Ballou) (432Hz) (SoulMusic Records)

With his first commercial release, 22-year old Atlanta-based Dontavius Turner showcases his skills as a multi-instrumentalist with guitar as his primary instrument. Donatavius – whose background is in the gospel music field and who includes Wes Montgomery and George Benson among his musical influences – first heard the song “Ain’t Nothing (Like The Love)” via a version by Canadian DJ/producer Pomo, only available on SoundCloud.

The song itself was written in 1978 by the late John Simmons (formerly musical director for Stephanie Mills and then Whitney Houston), the late Phillip Ballou (former member of Revelation and longtime background vocalist with Luther Vandross) and soul music historian/aurthor/singer and songwriter David Nathan; it started life on Ballou’s solo artist demo; and was recorded by Simmons in 1981 for a small independent Michigan label. It became a rare groove classic among UK and US collectors and listeners, spawning several YouTube videos.

Pomo recorded his own version as “Ain’t Nothing” in 2017 inspiring Dontavius to create his own jazz-flavored video version. When Nathan saw and heard Dontavius’ cover of the song, he was so impressed, he reached out to him! The result is this brand new version of the song using Phillip Ballou’s original vocals!

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JOHN SIMMONS (ft BUTCH SIMMONS): SAFE/JOHN SIMMONS: I WANNA BE CLOSER 45 (Nefer/SDE29)

JOHN SIMMONS (ft BUTCH SIMMONS): SAFE/JOHN SIMMONS: I WANNA BE CLOSER 45 (Nefer/SDE29)

Thanks to Russell Paine and his great Super Disc Edits company, we’re proud to announce the vinyl-only release of “Safe” by John Simmons (ft. Butch Simmons), available for the first time ever worldwide, the ‘follow up’ to John’s classic 1981 single, “Ain’t Nothing Like The Love” and also the first time John and his brother Butch (with whom he sang in the group The Reflections) have been heard together.  Limited edition!

The ‘B’ side, “I Wanna Be Closer” has only ever been recorded by John and one of the song’s co-writers, David Nathan.

Although best known in the global music world for his four years (1984-1988) as the music director and bandleader for Whitney Houston, John’s tenure in the soul music field began when he was a member (with his brother Edmund ‘Butch’ Simmons) of The Reflections, a New York City-based quartet who toured from 1972-1975 as the backing group for the legendary Melba Moore. In 1975, The Reflections had a Top 10 R&B hit with “Three Steps From True Love.”

In 1978, John began touring with Stephanie Mills, at the same time collaborating with Phillip Ballou, a member of another New York-based vocal group, Revelation and UK soul music journalist David Nathan (who he met when Nathan did an interview with The Reflections for Britain’s “Blues & Soul” magazine in 1975). The trio wrote a number of songs for Ballou’s demo as a solo artist and while nothing transpired in that regard, John recorded his own version of one of the tunes, “Ain’t Nothing Like The Love” for a small independent Michigan label, Sabrina Records in 1981. John had worked with Cissy Houston at New Hope Baptist Church in New Jersey where she was the minister of music was asked by her to do some initial promotional dates with her daughter Whitney after Arista Records released her first single in 1984; he continued doing world tours with Houston until he passed away at the age of 45 in March 1989.

The Ballou sessions (held mostly in Montclair, New Jersey) expanded into recording dates for both Nathan and Simmons. None of the original recordings were released commercially – until now. In the wake of the interest among rare groove collectors in John’s version of “Ain’t Nothing Like The Love,” Nathan – himself a recording artist since 2003 – has uncovered the tapes of all the material he, Phllip and John recorded in 1978 and 1979.

Gaining its first-ever release now on Nefer Records via Super Disco Edits is the coupling of John’s solo composition, the upbeat gospel-infused “Safe” and the midtempo, “I Wanna Be Closer,” another one of the songs also recorded (and thus far unissued by Nathan).

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER “SAFE”/”I WANNA BE CLOSER” NOW!

LISTEN TO A CLIP OF “SAFE”

LISTEN TO A CLIP OF “I WANNA BE CLOSER”

PHILLIP BALLOU: AIN'T NOTHING LIKE THE LOVE/ARE YOU FOR REAL 45 (Nefer/SDE30)

PHILLIP BALLOU: AIN’T NOTHING LIKE THE LOVE/ARE YOU FOR REAL 45 (Nefer/SDE30)

Thanks to Russell Paine and his great Super Edits Disco company, we’re proud to announce the first-ever worldwide release of the original version of “Ain’t Nothing Like The Love” (subsequently recorded by the late John Simmons in 1981) on the Nefer label.  Limited edition!

The ‘B’ side, “Are You For Real” – a magnificent soul ballad –  has never been released and only heard by a handful of people ever…until now!

Pittsburgh-born Phillip Ballou’s earliest years were spent in the gospel field; after he moved to New York City in the ‘70s, he teamed up with Bennie Diggs and Arthur Freeman, founding members of The New York Community Choir and singer Arnold McCuller to form the group Revelation. The quartet recorded for RSO Records, scoring some R&B success in the US with tracks like “Get Ready For This” and “You To Me Are Everything,” touring the Bee Gees among others. Phillip also sang on albums by NYCC recorded for RCA Records and continued with Revelation until 1982.

Frequently hired for sessions in and around New York, Phillip teamed up with UK soul music journalist David Nathan (who he’d met in 1974 during Nathan’s first US visit) and John Simmons, formerly a member of The Reflections, another New York vocal group to write a series of songs for his own proposed solo record deal. Although a contract did not materialize, one of the songs – “Ain’t Nothing Like The Love” – got some interest from famed Philadelphia producer Thom Bell who presented it to The O’Jays. Ultimately, the tune was turned down by Kenny Gamble and John Simmons, by then musical director for Stephanie Mills, recorded his own version for a small independent label in 1981.

Phillip continued his own musical journey, touring and recording with James Taylor and Todd Rundgren. In addition, Phillip’s name graced recordings by George Benson, Billy Ocean, Kashif, Nona Hendryx, Jonathan Butler, Teddy Pendergrass and Melba Moore; in 1981, he began recording with Luther Vandross and became a part of Luther’s touring band for many years, as well as singing on productions by Luther on Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and others, continuing his association with him until Luther’s 2003 stroke. Phillip returned to his gospel roots in 2004 as Minister of Music at a Brooklyn church and passed away in March 2005, aged 55.

Thanks to renewed interest in the John Simmons’ 1981 recording on YouTube, David Nathan has uncovered several tracks from the 1978 and 1979 he did with Phillip and John including Phillip Ballou’s original version of “Ain’t Nothing Like The Love,” gaining its first ever worldwide release as a 7” single on Nefer Records in association with Super Disco Edits

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER NOW!

LISTEN TO A CLIP OF “AIN’T NOTHING LIKE THE LOVE”

LISTEN TO A CLIP OF “ARE YOU FOR REAL”