O C Tolbert - Black Diamond: Dave Hamilton's Detroit Masters

Published Thursday 1st December 2011
O C Tolbert - Black Diamond: Dave Hamilton's Detroit Masters
O C Tolbert - Black Diamond: Dave Hamilton's Detroit Masters

RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 115224-18148

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

O C Tolbert (1944-1996) was one of the hundreds of gospel artists during the golden age of soul music who switched to R&B in an effort to land a hit record. As it turned out, the stream of singles he recorded with Detroit producer Dave Hamilton never landed the big success he dreamed of. But, as this lovingly compiled set of 22 tracks demonstrates, O C's gritty soulful voice was every bit as good as the major R&B stars. One of O C's specialities - echoing the direction of soul music of the era - was social justice "message" songs so here we have "A Message To The Black Woman", "I'm Shooting High (I Reach For The Sky)" and "Message To Mankind". Occasionally O C would revert back to gospel and with the Tolbert Family Singers he recorded "Ride The Gospel Train", also featured here. With fascinating sleevenotes and some great illustrations this compilation not only gives you an insight into an underrated soul music talent, it reveals again that the dividing line between soul music and gospel music is decidedly blurred.

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