Saturday, November 15, 2008

November 15, 2008: Homer Banks - "A Lot of Love"

I first came across Homer Banks' "A Lot of Love" as a standout track on the excellent Kent's Cellar of Soul compilation CD. Instantly, it was one of my all time favorite soul burners. For about two years, this song went on just about every mix tape I made. I tracked down the original Minit 45 on eBay, and spin it at nearly all of my DJ gigs. With the funky, propulsive opening riff giving way to the majestic horns, and Homer's great voice carrying the tune all the way through, it's a damn shame this was never a massive hit.

According to the liner notes on the Hooked By Love: The Best of Homer Banks CD (released by Stateside Records in the UK in 2005, compiling Banks' recorded output for Minit Records), Banks cut a demo for Stax Records with Steve Cropper, only to have it rejected by label owner Jim Stewart. Eventually, after releasing a slew of singles for Minit, Banks was hired by Stax, but as a writer rather than a recording artist.

Along with many others, I would love to hear his Stax demo, but I have to think that Stewart made the right decision. Banks penned some classic hits for artists such as Johnnie Taylor, Sam & Dave, and The Staple Singers, but his own recordings on Hooked By Love are rather uneven. "A Lot of Love," "60 Minutes Of Your Love," and "Hooked By Love" - sense a theme here? - are all stone classics. There are a few other highlights, but roughly half the disc is pretty mundane.

All that aside, the greatness of "A Lot of Love" is undeniable, and I am very happy to share it with you.

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