Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sweet Surrender

Ollie Nightingale - Sweet Surrender

Ollie Nightingale's intense, crying tenor among my favorite male soul voices. Ollie Hoskins started out as the lead singer of the gospel group the Dixie Nightingales, whose recordings for Nashboro and then the short-lived Stax gospel subsidiary Chalice are very good (the Chalice material is available on the Specialty CD "Free at Last" or on the UK Stax (Ace-distributed) "Disturb My Soul"). By 1968 the group had decided to try their hand at soul music. The re-christened Ollie & The Nightingales hit their first time out with "I Got A Sure Thing." The group recorded an eponymous LP, but further success was not forthcoming. Hoskins decided to leave the group in 1970, taking on the name "Ollie Nightingale." (The Nightingales stuck together for another two years, with Tommy Tate bringing a huskier, although equally intense, lead to the last couple of Stax 45s; after the group broke up, two members joined the Ovations.)

(Editor's Note - I plan to post Dixie Nightingales / Ollie & The Nightingales / The Nightingales material in future posts.)

"Sweet Surrender" was the title track of Ollie's album for Pride Records (from 1972, I think). The entire album is extremely good, and it's unfortunate that it was not commercially successful. "Surrender" features a gorgeous melody and use of strings, and Ollie's voice is captivating.

Nightingale never hit the "big time," although he released sporadic albums into the 1990s (where soul blues tunes like "I'll Drink Your Bath Water" finally gave him a little publicity). If I recall correctly, Nightingale passed away in 1998.

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