MP3 Will Porter - Happy!
Debut recording by critically- acclaimed singer/performer. Legendary arranger/producer, famous guests. Blues,R&B, Jazz and pop.
11 MP3 Songs
BLUES: Blues Vocals, JAZZ: Jazz Vocals
"BEST PRODUCED CD OF 2004!!" New York Blues & Jazz Society
Ben Fong-Torres (long time Rolling Stone editor) says:
"Where there''s a Will, there''s a soulful song, well sung!..
Happy!!" Nov, 2003.
"When I heard "Don''t Pass Me By", I got goosebumps!"
Percy Sledge July 2004
This CD was recorded in NEW ORLEANS, La.
HAPPY was pressed Spring 2003, a few media copies were released in summer and fall of 2003, first press review was Oct 31, 2003, and first access to internet customers was in November 2003. In 2005, it is still available to INTERNET customers as well as fans at live shows. Some Towers now stock it; if not, they can order it.
FOUR STARS **** (Excellent) AMG (AllMusicGuide)Dec 2004
by Alex Henderson
Classic soul as listeners knew it in the 60''s and 70''s isn''t dead, but it isn''t nearly as plentiful as it was back then - and you certainly have to know where to look for it. One of the places to look is the blues circuit, which has its'' share of artists who are quite capable of embracing urban blues one minute and soul the next. West Virginia native turned Bay Area resident Will Porter has enjoyed a small local following on the northern California blues circuit, but his debut album, HAPPY, actually contains more soul than blues. And much of the time, the singer recalls an era in which Otis Redding, Al Green, Tyrone Davis, Eddie Floyd, and Stax Records reigned supreme. Porter demonstrates his mastery of urban blues on "Like a Circle (Around the Sun)", and he ventures into vocal jazz territory on expressive performances of the standards "I''m Gonna Sit Right Down (and Write Myself A Letter)"and "Easy Street". But more often than not, HAPPY is a soul album - which is why Porter was lucky to have Wardell Quezergue on board. In New Orleans, Quezergue commands the sort of respect that Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff command in Philadelphia; in other words, he''s R&B royalty. And as HAPPY''s producer/arranger, Quezergue oversees an impressive cast that includes Billy Preston, Barbara Lewis (as in "Hello Stranger"), and former Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli. HAPPY doesn''t pretend to be groundbreaking; Porter is derivative, but derivative in the best, most positive sense of the word - and thanks to Quezergue, he shows himself to be a heavy-duty soulster who can also handle jazz and the blues enjoyably well."
FIRST EUROPEAN REVIEW
"IN THE BASEMENT" Feb/Mar/April 2005 (Top UK soul/R&B Mag)
"From the liners here we learn that Will Porter started in gospel as a boy, before going on the road with blues singers. After a singing residency in San Francisco, he became a musical director and bandleader for the likes of Mary Wells, The Shirelles, Little Anthony and Chuck Berry. In the late nineties he was back singing and his pedigree has brought in such helpers here as Barbara Lewis, Billy Preston, Leo Nocentelli and members of the Louisiana Philharmonic, plus production and arrangements from Wardell Quezergue.
The arrangements in general deserve particular praise, especially when, as on most tracks, they feature full orchestral support. Thus, without in any way deameaning Will''s fine performances throughout, it''s the ballads that really stand out, viz the beautiful "Adios", the deep "Don''t Pass Me By", previously cut by Big Maybelle,Will''s own "The Blues Aren''t The Songs We Sing" and the moving "Monongahela (I Remember)", featuring Billy Preston on melodica and backing vocals from Barbara Lewis. Barbara also lends her vocals towards the close of the funky rippler "I Thought You Were The Right One", and Billy powers the organ on the big-band blues of "Like a Circle (Around the Sun)". Proving his versatility, Porter equips himself well on the Johnny Mercer/ Harold Arlen standard, "Easy Street", and applies what he calls a "parade beat" to " I''m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter".
Amazingly, this is his debut CD and one he deserves to be proud of, as a listen to the brass-driven "San Francisco Bay" and the chugging toe-tapper, "Sweet Maybe" will testify."
"The CD is great!"
DAVID COLE , Editor "IN THE BASEMENT"
It''s rare that a group of Grammy honorees will come together for the debut recording of a new artist, but that''s the case for the first CD for critically-acclaimed performer Will Porter. West Virginia born Porter has been a San Francisco-based singer, songwriter and bandleader for many https://www.tradebit.comasionally headlining concerts, (without released recordings), his debut CD was produced and arranged by the legendary Wardell Quezergue in New Orleans. The CD features multi-Grammy winner Billy Preston (just now receiving new media attention for his newly mixed/newly released "Let it Be" ,in it''s original form, with just the Beatles and Billy). Also on board are New Orleans'' iconic guitarist Leo Nocentelli, honored by the Grammies for his work with The Meters; and Atlantic/Stax Soul Queen Barbara Lewis,(two-time Grammy nominee), in her first studio work in decades. Quezergue brought together New Orleans'' top rhythm section, led by famed drummer BUNCHY JOHNSON, and 14 strings from The Louisiana Philharmonic! Mic Gillette(of Tower of Power horns) led a "Best of the Bay Area" Horn section on Wardell''s https://www.tradebit.com icing on the cake is the final mastering by the ONLY engineer to win a Grammy for mastering (for the "Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack), Gavin Lurrsen.
Wardell Quezergue, though you may not recognize his name (Kuh-zair), is named by historians as "The Architect of the New Orleans sound", and by Allan Toussaint as "The Creole Beethoven". Also an award winning classical composer and conductor,he is responsible for Dr John''s Grammy-winning "Going Back to New Orleans", the WC Handy-winning Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and dozens of hits; including "Barefootin", "Mr Big Stuff", "Iko Iko" "Groove Me", "Misty Blue", and many more. His work with Aaron Neville ("Orchid in the Storm") has just been re-released.
He has worked with Pop and Soul acts from Paul Simon to Stevie Wonder, Blues artists including BB King& Etta James, and every major New Orleans act. His time-line as arranger, producer or songwriter runs from Professor Longhair to Mariah Carey.
STATEMENT FROM WARDELL QUEZERGUE
"This CD is very satisfying to me. It stands with anything I''ve done. Because of the freedom Will gave me in choosing from his songs, and my arranging the entire project, this is as much a "Wardell" project as it is a "Will" CD. I was attracted to the project for several reasons. I like the material. A project usually has one or two standout tracks; this one has so many good songs!
"Don''t Pass Me By" is my favorite.I like Will''s projection, his voice. He has a unique sound; he sounds like Will Porter, which is a good quality to have. He has a lot of material, and I hope to continue working with him. I''ve had big Soul hits, and Pop https://www.tradebit.comS CD IS SOUL AND POP!!".
New Orleans OFFBEAT (150,000 copies) May 2004
The man they call the "Creole Beethoven", Wardell Quezergue, has said that this CD is as much his as it is Will Porter''s. He''s right, and it''s obvious Will himself doesn''t mind a bit: although Porter made a name for himself as bandleader and musical director for R&B legends, he wisely decided to turn the arrangements over to Wardell for this, his solo https://www.tradebit.com while PORTER IS A FINE VOCALIST AND A SOLID SYNTHESIST OF R&B AND BLUES STYLES, it''s the arrangements that steal the show. When was the last time you heard a set where the string section was the MVP?
That section''s really 14 strings from the Louisiana Philharmonic and they work wonders on nearly every track here, from the ladies'' choice "Don''t Pass me By" to a jazzy meditation like "Monongahela( I Remember)" to a delightfully unexpected cover of the pop standard "I''m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter". Not that Porter doesn''t offer plenty to color in: HIS SINGING IS EXPRESSIVE (think of Percy Sledge using B.J. Thomas'' vocal chords), HIS ORIGINALS DISPLAY A KEEN ABILITY TO WORK ANCIENT BLUES PHRASES INTO NEW MELODIC FORMS.
Oh, and there are some other folks sitting in here, too. That''s none other than Billy Preston on two organ tracks and ex-Meters guitarists Leo Nocentelli adding considerable snap to tracks like..a tightly-wound choogler, the opener "I Thought You Were the Right One" and the Lee Dorsey-like stagger of "Sweet Maybe." Barbara "Hello Stranger" Lewis may only be backup here, but don''t you wish more albums had this kind of talent in the secondary?..You might think that anyone could make a great CD with a lineup like this. But then, these cats don''t give it up for just anybody."
Robert Fontenot New Orleans OFFBEAT May 20
BLUES REVUE MAGAZINE Sept 2004
"WILL PORTER is at the front of the bandstand, singing a collection of uptown r&b, blues and standards. PORTER''S SMOOTH, RELAXED VOCALS share the soundstage with a crack band that includes Mic Gillette from the TOWER OF POWER HORNS and Bunchy Johnson, with guests Billy Preston (keys), and soul songstress Barbara Lewis. Legendary arranger Wardell Quezergue is responsible for much of the magic on this mostly mid-tempo set. Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer''s "Easy Street" gets a rich Nelson Riddle-esque reading. "San Francisco Bay", bouncy and layered with horns, is far from Jesse Fuller''s folksy original, and a crazy parade parade feel transforms "I''m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter." Porter offers deep ballads ("The Blues Aren''t the songs We Sing" and "Adios"),
New Orleans pop (the strutting "Sweet Maybe") and
stone funk ("I Thought You Were the Right One"). Tom Hyslop
FIRST REVIEW (pre-release)
"For his CD debut, mellow-toned San Franciscan
Will Porter joins New Orleans'' Wardell Quezergue. Producing and arranging the disc, Quezergue frames Porter''s amiable baritone in rich strings-and horns-filled settings. "It stands with anything I''ve done," Quezergue says. That''s a serious claim from the man who shaped so many New Orleans soul and R&B classics.
Porter''s other stellar help includes former Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli, Billy Preston, and string players from The Louisiana Philharmonic. Nocentelli''s unmistakeable guitar figures in Porter''s funk-driven original "I Thought You Were the Right One". Porter, an easy, natural singer, turns warm and tender for the soulful "Don''t Pass Me By." The earnest "The Blues Aren''t the Songs We Sing", another Porter original, is reminiscent of the songs of the Louisiana-connected Randy Newman. The fun "Sweet Maybe" bubbles with New Orleans flavor, as does a traditional jazz take on "I''m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter."
Rather than manufacture music from keyboards and drum machines, Porter has made a record with real musicians and a world-class arranger. Ususally only singers of Bette Midler and Barbara Streisand''s status can afford such a project. But the affable Porter does it with style and grace."
The Advocate, Baton Rouge , Louisiana Oct 31, 2003