Gene McDaniels

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Gene McDaniels
Birth name Eugene Booker McDaniels
Also known as Eugene McDaniels, The Left Reverend McD
Born (1935-02-12)February 12, 1935
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Died July 29, 2011(2011-07-29) (aged 76)
Kittery Point, Maine
Genres Jazz, pop, political
Occupations Singer, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1960–2011
Labels Liberty, Columbia. Atlantic, Ode
Website http://genemcdaniels.com/

Eugene Booker McDaniels (February 12, 1935[1] – July 29, 2011), who recorded as Gene McDaniels, was an African-American singer and songwriter. He had his greatest recording success in the early 1960s, and had continued success as a songwriter with songs including "Compared to What" and Roberta Flack's "Feel Like Makin' Love".

Biography[edit]

Born in Kansas City, Kansas, United States,[1] McDaniels grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. As well as singing gospel music in church, he developed a love of jazz, and learned to play the saxophone and trumpet. After forming a singing group, The Echoes of Joy, later known as The Sultans, in his teens, he studied at the University of Omaha Conservatory of Music before joining the Mississippi Piney Woods Singers, with whom he toured in California. There, he began singing in jazz clubs, achieving note with the Les McCann Trio, and came to the attention of Sy Waronker of Liberty Records.[2][3]

After recording two unsuccessful singles and an album, he was teamed with producer Snuff Garrett, with whom he recorded his first hit, "A Hundred Pounds of Clay", which reached number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1961 and sold over one million copies, earning gold disc status.[1] Its follow-up, "A Tear", was less successful but his third single with Garrett, "Tower of Strength", co-written by Burt Bacharach, reached number 5 and won McDaniels his second gold record.[2] "Tower of Strength" reached number 49 in the UK Singles Chart, losing out to Frankie Vaughan's chart-topping version.[4]

In 1962 he appeared performing in the movie It's Trad, Dad!, directed by Richard Lester. He continued to have minor hit records, including "Chip Chip", "Point Of No Return" and "Spanish Lace", each in 1962, but his suave style of singing gradually became less fashionable. In 1965 he moved to Columbia Records, with little success, and in 1968, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, he left the US to live in Denmark and Sweden, where he concentrated on song writing. He returned to the US in 1971, and recorded thereafter as Eugene McDaniels.[2] In 1965 his "Point Of No Return" was covered by British R&B band Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames on their EP "Fame At Last".

After the late 1960s, McDaniels turned his attention to a more black consciousness form, and his best-known song in this genre was "Compared to What", a jazz-soul protest song made famous (and into a hit) by Les McCann and Eddie Harris on their album Swiss Movement, and also covered by Roberta Flack, Ray Charles, Della Reese, John Legend, The Roots, Sweetwater and others.[3] McDaniels also attained the top spot on the chart as a songwriter. In 1974, Roberta Flack reached number 1 with McDaniels' "Feel Like Makin' Love" (not to be confused with the Bad Company song of the same name), which won a Grammy Award. McDaniels also received a BMI award for outstanding radio airplay; at the time of the award, the song had already had over five million plays.

In the early 1970s, McDaniels recorded on the Atlantic label, which released the McDaniels albums, Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse and Outlaw. In the 1980s, he recorded an album with the percussionist Terry Silverlight, which has not yet been released. In 2005, McDaniels released Screams & Whispers on his own record label. In 2009, it was announced that he was to release a new album, Evolution's Child, which featured his lyrics, and a number of songs composed or arranged with pianist Ted Brancato. Some of the songs featured jazz musician Ron Carter on concert bass and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums. McDaniel's "Jagger the Dagger" was featured on the Tribe Vibes breakbeat compilation album, after it had been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest.

McDaniels also appeared in films. They included the 1962 film It's Trad, Dad! (released in the United States as Ring-A-Ding Rhythm), which was directed by Richard Lester. McDaniels also appeared in the 1963 The Young Swingers. He is briefly seen singing in the choir in the 1974 film Uptown Saturday Night. He was the original voice actor for "Nasus", a champion in the computer game League of Legends.[5]

McDaniels lived as a self-described "hermit" in the state of Maine. In 2010 he launched a series of YouTube videos on his website, featuring his music and thoughts on some of his creations. McDaniels died on July 29, 2011, at his home.[6]

Discography[edit]

Compared to What (extract)

I love the lie and lie the love
A-hangin' on, with push and shove
Possession is the motivation
That is hangin' up the God-damn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
Tryin' to make it real — compared to what? C'mon baby!

Slaughterhouse is a-killin' hogs
Twisted children killin' frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin' logs
Tired old lady kissin' dogs
I hate the human
love that stinking mutt (I can't use it!)
Try to make it real — compared to what? C'mon baby now!

The President, he's got his war
Folks don't know just what it's for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We're chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin' to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)

Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
Tryin' to duck the wrath of God
Preacher's fillin' us with fright
They all tryin' to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut (I can't use it!)
Tryin' to make it real — compared to what?

Where's that bee and where's that honey?
Where's my God and where's my money?
Unreal values, crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind ol' young King Tut (He did it now)
Tried to make it real — compared to what?!

as performed by Les McCann and Eddie Harris, 1969.[7]

Albums[edit]

Year Album Record Label
1960 In Times Like These Liberty Records
Somestimes I'm Happy Sometimes I'm Blue
1961 100 Lbs. Of Clay!
Tower of Strength
1962 Hit After Hit
Gene McDaniels Sings Movie Memories
1963 The Wonderful World of Gene McDaniels
1966 The Facts of Life
1970 Outlaw Atlantic Records
1971 Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse
1975 Natural Juices Ode Records

As Universal Jones

Year Album Record Label
1972 Universal Jones Vol. 1 MGM Records

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Record Label B-side Album
US AC R&B UK
1960 "In Times Like These" Liberty Records "Once Before" In Times Like These
"Green Door" "The Facts of Life" Sometimes I'm Happy Sometimes I'm Blue
1961 "A Hundred Pounds of Clay" 3 11 "Come on Take a Chance" 100 Lbs. Of Clay!
"Take Good Care of Her" "Are You Sincere"
"A Tear" 31 "She's Come Back" Tower of Strength
"Tower of Strength" 5 5 49 "The Secret"
"Chip Chip" 10 "Another Tear Falls"
1962 "Funny" 99 "Chapel of Tears"
"Point of No Return" 21 23 "Warmer Than a Whisper" Hit After Hit
"Spanish Lace" 31 "Somebody's Waiting"
1963 "The Puzzle" "Cry Baby Cry"
"It's a Lonely Town (Lonely Without You)" 64 30 "False Friends"
"Anyone Else" "The Old Country"
1964 "Make Me a Present of You" "In Times Like These"
"(There Goes The) Forgotten Man" "Emily"
1965 "Walk With a Winner" "A Miracle"
"Will It Last Forever" "Hang On (Just a Little Bit Longer)"
1966 "Something Blue" Columbia Records "'Cause I Love You So"
1967 "Touch of Your Lips" "Sweet Lover No More"

As Universal Jones

Year Title Peak chart positions Record Label B-side Album
US AC R&B UK
1972 "River" 115 37 MGM Records "Feeling That Glow" Universal Jones Vol. 1
"We All Know a Lot of Things But It Don't Never Show" "Tuesday Morning"

Produced by Eugene McDaniels[edit]

  • Merry Clayton, "Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow" 1975
  • Jimmy Smith, "Sit on It" 1977
  • The Voltage Brothers, "The Voltage Brothers" 1978
  • The Floaters, "Levitation" 1979
  • Floaters, "Into the Future" 1979
  • Phyllis Hyman, "Meet Me on the Moon", 1991
  • Carri Coltrane, The First Time 1999
  • Carri Coltrane, Flamenco Sketches 1998

Filmography[edit]

  • It's Trad, Dad! (a.k.a. Ring-A-Ding Rhythm, 1962)
  • The Young Swingers (1963)

Video game roles[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 136. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  2. ^ a b c Biography by Bruce Eder at Allmusic.com
  3. ^ a b Richard Williams, Obituary, The Guardian, 15 August 2011.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 338 & 583. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ Peel, Jeremy. "League of Legends champion Nasus' voice to be switched after death of original actor". PCGamesN. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "GENE MACDANIELS PASSES AWAY | Cashbox Magazine Canada". Cashboxcanada.ca. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  7. ^ "Les McCann & Eddie Harris: Compared To What lyrics" at smartlyrics.com

External links[edit]