Frederick Knight – I've Been Lonely For So Long (1973) {STAX}

stax

Frederick Knight
“I’ve Been Lonely For So Long”
Stax Records 1973 (STS 3011)

I’ve Been Lonely For So Long
This Is My Song Of Love To You
Take Me On Home Witcha
Friend
I Let My Chance Go By
Your Love’s All Over Me
Pick’um Up Put’um Down
Now That I’ve Found You
Lean On Me
Trouble
Someday We’ll Be Together

stax

This is a lovely lost classic of an album by Alabama native and soul music underachiever Frederick Knight. It’s not his only album but it might as well be, as its the one that people remember, and (though I could be wrong) he didn’t record again until the late 1980s except for one more single in 75.

The record leads off with what is probably the strongest song here (always a risky move), the singular “I’ve Been Lonely For So Long.” It’s one of the those tunes that everybody has heard but not many know who sang it. The instrumentation lacks a drum kit, which is part of its signature sound – high-hat, tamborine, and a wooden plank equalized to sound like a kick drum make up the rhythm. Prominent acoustic guitar and electric slide guitar parts give some country-soul twang; Knight sings the lead melody entirely in falsetto but also did all the overdubs including bass vocal parts. He tries to replicate the vibe of this song on the album’s second single, “Trouble”, with a similar structure built around kit-less drums, falsetto and bass harmonies, and a rap in the middle of the tune. But the single was a flop, as lightning rarely strikes twice. Still a good song though. The formula is also used on “Now That I’ve Found You.” The first few times I spun this record, this formulaic approach irritated me, but eventually I came to think that they are all quality songs regardless of the repetition and/or attempt to cash in on a successful single. And one of the things that stands out about all of the them is the blend of old-skool doo-wop vocal harmonies with early seventies Stax and Hi Records textures.

There is plenty of really strong material here. Requisite nods to Philadelphia and Motown are scattered about, but everything is done in a funky southern soul approach that makes the album sound original. Probably more original than it actually is in truth. Other highlights are the mellow “This Is My Song of Love To You,” the rolling midtempo “Friend” which has a truly breathtaking arrangement of Wurlitzer electric piano and acoustic guitar balanced against strings and horns. A lot going on here but never overbearing, and the minimal lyric is interesting in a weirdly cinematic and cathartic way, like it ought to be playing loudly at the end of a bittersweet, deep, coming-of-age buddy film. It’s one of my favorite tunes here and if I ruled the world it would have been a hit single. Some heavy funk comes in with “Your Love’s All Over Me,” which features an unfortunate Jimmy Castor impression in the middle of it (which, fortunately, only lasts for a few seconds), and the party continues with “Pick ‘Em Up and Put ‘Em Down.” The closer of this record is an interpretation of The Supremes hit, “Someday We’ll Be Together”, which falls only a few inches short of totally transcendent. It really gives an original reading to the tune, and if you aren’t paying close attention you might not even catch it until the first chorus. By the time the bridge of the song comes along you will want to get out of your seat and yell “Amen!” it soars so much. This song and the title track make the warm bread (perhaps a croissant, perhaps baguette) that sandwiches the meat of the album. And the result is oh so tasty. The one clunker here is “Lean On Me”… I am not sure what Stax was thinking when they produced this tune only one year after Bill Wither’s had a huge hit with a better song with the same name. The money, perhaps?

It’s a damn shame that this record wasn’t the smash it could have been. Particular as Frederick couldn’t make the payments on the coat he wore for the cover photo and eventually had to mail it back to Sears and Roebuck.

Frederick Knight – I’ve Been Lonely For So Long (1973) in 320kbs em pee tree

Frederick Knight – I’ve Been Lonely For So Long (1973) in FLAC LOSSLESS AWDIO

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6 Comments

  1. password:

    vibes

  2. Fantastic stuff. Thank you.

  3. man,thanks for this great upload.I'm not too familiar with Stax Records artists except for Isaac Hayes(lool)so this is appreciated,thank you again!!

  4. Big thanks for this. Love the title tune and so i'm grateful for the upgrade to lossless.

  5. Hi flabbergast,

    Could you please re-up this along with similar stuff from STAX,

    Thank you
    Mike

  6. I let my chance go by, it seems. Any chance of a re-up? Thanks and praise to your blog.

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