Oh dear, our soul heroes are
falling like flies. I have just learnt of the death of Ronnie Lovejoy.
Ronnie had his first album released in 1992, and his first R&B hit in 1999,
but in his relatively short recording career he did release six albums,
establishing him as one of the top southern soul singers.
Born in 1950 in Wetumpka,
Alabama, to a very musical family, so from a very early age he was involved in
music, an uncle taught him piano, his mother trained him in singing. He
proceeded from church choirs to high school bands, than to more professional
groups. In the late eighties he joined Latimore's band as second pianist, whom
he stayed with for four years, and during that time he cut one single for the
Spicer label ‘You're America, You're Mine’. He moves to LA, where he
gets lucky, resulting in him recording his first album 'SUDDENLY' (1992) on Leon
Haywood's Evejim Label. On the album's release he started doing shows, going on
tours, but unfortunately a very bad heart attack curtailed his activities. He
returns to Alabama to recuperate, which takes nearly a year. He next hooked up
with Ace records for his second album ‘MY BABY'S CHEATING ON ME' (1994) a
great southern soul album, mainly produced by the wonderful Willie Clayton, and
recorded in the Malaco's studios. ‘Can’t Leave Love Alone’ from the
album is a dramatic deep soul corker.
The next album 'THINK ABOUT YOU
ALL THE TIME' Ace (1996), the title track is a very classy ballad. Ronnie was
now building up a huge following on the chitlin circuit, touring constantly.
Exhausted he needed to rest, and broke from touring, to take up a year-long
residence in a gambling casino. The next album 'UNTIL YOU GET ENOUGH OF ME'
Avanti (1998) is a strong set, with ‘Missing You’ being a stand out
beat ballad. The next album 'NOBODY'S FAULT BUT MINE' Avanti (1999). From this
album came his smash R&B hit ‘Sho Wasn't Me’ helped on it's way
with massive airplay. Even though the song isn't one of his best, nor the album,
it was the hit that turned his fortunes around. On the strength of the hit he
was once again back touring full time. His final album 'STILL WASN'T ME' Good
Time (2000) is not a bad album, but more commercial then any of his previous
offerings, at least it does have real instruments.
I think he has been unwell for a
while, a reason he pulled out of Utrecht last year. Often compared vocally to Z
Z Hill, maybe to some extent, but he did create a style of his own, who leaves
behind some wonderful southern soul.
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