*It was a night to remember: my friend and songwriting partner Louis A. Johnson – best known as co-writer on Anita Baker’s smash “Sweet Love” – had introduced me to Louis Price formerly of The Temptations (www.louispricemusic.com), and we were headed to ABC Paramount studios to record my song “I Think I’m Gonna Be Blue.” I had seen Price before on a TV special singing “A Song For You” when he was with the Tempts. His voice intrigued me, and now he would be singing one of my songs!
The song track was recorded at Cloud Born and Sound Suite studios in Detroit with Detroit musicians. It was produced by Ken Sands and arranged by Rick Manassa. The tape had been sent back and forth between Detroit and Los Angeles at least three times. The last time had been to add saxophonist David Lamb who gave it that special something. As a matter of fact when I heard what he had done I considered leaving the song as an instrumental. That all changed with the thought of Price singing it.
When everyone arrived – Price and background singers Brenda Lee Eager, Pat Henley, and Bob Henley – we all got acquainted and began going over parts of the song (we actually recorded two of my songs that night). Brenda Lee – best known for her classic duet with Jerry Butler “Ain’t Understanding Mellow” – suggested a different background vocal pattern than what I had in mind for “Think Blue.” I was excited to meet her and grateful for her input.
As the engineer was setting up we ordered food for everyone, then got down to business – the proof of which is in the recording. That was in the spring of 1986 and when the recording session ended around three or four in the morning, I just knew I had something special right along with my co-writer Johnson who was eagerly anticipating the release of Anita Baker’s album.
Meanwhile, things were pretty busy at Motown where I was under contract. I presented the song and did all I could to promote it, but somehow if fell through the cracks. Later that same year while going through a difficult relationship, I consoled myself (befittingly) by recording my version of the song and releasing it on my own record label.
Recently while visiting Detroit where I had a lot of things in storage, I came across this wonderful forgotten mix of Price’s version. I am happy to now share it with his fans around the world on You Tube (video by Jim Saphin of the U.K.). Please click on the link below to listen:
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of ‘Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand’ www.larrybuford.com [email protected] (213) 220-8101