Leaving the coal mines of West Virginia for a more musically opportune Rochester, NY, at age 18, Ellison sang soul and styled hair before hooking up with four brothers named Armstrong (Sam, Charles, Harry, and Moses) and bassist Vonell Benjamin. The Soul Brothers Six were a completely self-contained unit; they played their own instruments in addition to singing. Their first 45s on Fine (1965's "Move Girl") and Lyndell ("Don't Neglect Your Baby" the following year) veritably dripped gospel-soaked inspiration but went nowhere.
The sextet decided to relocate to Philadelphia. On the way there, Ellison wrote the magnificent "Some Kind of Wonderful," the song that put the group on the map. Atlantic Records issued the irresistible soul workout in 1967, and it slipped onto the pop charts (becoming their only hit). Deserving encores on Atlantic didn't recapture the 45's success, and the original lineup broke up in 1969. Ellison assembled another band by the same name and soldiered on at Phil L.A. of Soul Records during 1972-1973. Meanwhile, Grand Funk Railroad's graceless cover of "Some Kind of Wonderful" proved a gigantic pop smash in 1974.
The John Ellison story might have ended there (he's mostly been ensconced in Canada since then). But not too long ago, After Hours Records bosses Marty Duda and Gregory Townson happened upon the long-lost legend sitting in at a Rochester gin mill with bluesman Joe Beard. The upshot was a 1993 solo Ellison disc, Welcome Back, that reintroduced the singer to the American market. Two tracks, including a remade "Some Kind of Wonderful," even reunited the singer with the Armstrong brothers. Pretty wonderful, eh? ~ Bill Dahl, All Music Guide
John Ellison was once a member of the Soul Brothers Six, a fine group who didn't score many hits, but made one unforgettable number, the anthemic "Some Kind of Wonderful." Ellison's gritty, crisp voice doesn't sound any softer or less soulful in the 1990s than it did in the 1960s. This includes a good, if not quite transcendent, remake of "Some Kind Of Wonderful," and also contains some heartfelt ballads, a quasi-country number in "You Ain't Ready" and a couple of decent mid-tempo and dance-flavored tunes. The production, sensibility and mood are vintage 1960s, which will limit its appeal and possibilities. But it's good to hear John Ellison again, even if his disc is more a nod to the past than a beacon to the future. ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide
Love Don't Get Better Than This
Early Morning Lover
Welcome Back (Into My Arms)
Good Dose of Love
Lie to Me
Your Place or Mine
You Ain't Ready
I've Fallen in Love With You
Love You to Pieces
Some Kind of Wonderful
Dave Loggins (Vocals (Background)), Scott Bradley (Organ), Scott Bradley (Piano), Scott Bradley (Trumpet), Scott Bradley (Arranger), Charles Armstrong (Tambourine), Charles Armstrong (Vocals), Moses Armstrong (Guitar), Moses Armstrong (Vocals), Todd Bradely (Bass), Todd Bradely (Vocals), Mark Bradley (Sax (Baritone)), Mark Bradley (Sax (Tenor)), John Dubuc (Harmonica), Marty Duda (Producer), Marty Duda (Mixing), Christopher Earl (Drums), John Ellison (Guitar), John Ellison (Composer), John Ellison (Vocals), John Ellison (Producer), John Ellison (Main Performer), Greg Gefell (Engineer), Peter Gregory (Percussion), Tony Gross (Engineer), Tony Gross (Mixing), Lee Loggins (Vocals (Background)), Bob Potter (Engineer), Robert Pratt (Guitar), Roy Stein (Drums), Gregory Townson (Guitar), Gregory Townson (Arranger), Gregory Townson (Vocals), Gregory Townson (Vocals (Background)), Gregory Townson (Producer), Gregory Townson (Mixing), Sam Armstrong (Drums), Sam Armstrong (Vocals), Todd Bradley (Bass), Todd Bradley (Sax (Bass)), Todd Bradley (Vocals), Todd Bradley (Mixing), Francis P. Dreyer III (Art Direction), Francis P. Dreyer III (Design), Veronica McLaughlin (Liner Notes), Gary Lee Heard (Photography)
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Missing You Album Notes
Recorded at Wellesley Sound, Toronto, Canada and Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans, Louisiana from September 7-30, 1997.
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