Monday, April 6, 2009

Billy Stewart Sings "Summertime"

Of all the versions of the classic "Summertime," this 1965 bid by Billy Stewart is--by far--the most amazing. Stewart was a vocalist for Chicago's Chess Records who had a couple of soul hits the year before with "Sitting in the Park" and "I Do Love You." Then he struck gold with "Summertime." Sadly, a car accident claimed the life of this great singer in 1970. He was only 33.

Backed by Chess's all-powerful session musicians---the track's drummer is Maurice White, who late became frontman/guiding light of Earth Wind & Fire--the 300lb Stewart stutters, trills and double-clutches his way through the song, then ends it with a display of vocal pyrotechnics the likes of which have been rarely captured on wax (or CD, mp3, wma...) since.

Dig it.

1 comment:

Sebastion W said...

Man, I have a collection of versions of "Summertime" and I belive you are right about this being the best but closely followed by Nina Simone.