Lou Pride has a classic blues/soul voice that has found its way onto at least four solo albums, a slew of singles, and countless performances as an in-demand blues performer renowned for his electrifying stage presence and Bobby Bland ish growl to whisper to shout delivery.
George Lou Pride -- born May 24, 1950 in Chicago -- grew up on the north side of the Windy City into gospel roots; he attended First Baptist Church pastored by Reverend E. J. Cole, Nat King Cole's father. But after watching a B. B. King performance with his mom, blues singing became a career goal. Nothing much happened until a two year stint singing with the Karls on service shows in Germany; upon returning home he formed a duet with a female singer who went by the initial's JLC; the pair had a Sam & Dave type act and got along so well they married and settled in El Paso, TX.
It was while living in El Paso not Chi-town (a blues city) that Pride cut the acclaimed singles "I'm Coming Home in the Morning" b/w "I'm Not Thru With You" and "Your Love Is Fading" b/w "Lonely Road," on Seumi Records in the early '70s. He relocated to New Mexico and all told cut many, obscure hard to find singles while plying his trade in blues clubs and festivals. Pride's road resume include performing gigs with Clarence Carter, Betty Wright, Ko Ko Taylor, Kool & the Gang, and B. B. King. Other 1970s' singles include: "Look Out on Love," "We're Only Fooling Ourselves," "You've Got to Work for Love," and "Been Such a Long Time."
He cut his first album, Very Special, in 1979 while living in Albuquerque, NM, for Black Gold Records. It spawned 45s and even a 12" single (an oddity for a blues performer) and kept Pride out there burning rubber. A second Black Gold album, Gone Bad for a Very Special Reason that dropped in 1988, was a virtual track-by-track reissuing of the 1979 LP.
He came home (Chicago) and befriended Reverend Charles L. Fairchild who introduced him to Curtis Mayfield, the connection resulted in Gone Bad Again on Curtom Records. Recordings were almost a sideline for Pride; performing live was his focus, and the soulful singer mesmerized rooms with a voice that could serve as a Southern soul paradigm embodying the greatness of Bobby "Blue" Bland, Z. Z. Hill, Bobby Rush, Little Milton, Johnny, and Johnnie Taylor.
Ichiban Records released Pride's riveting Twisting the Knife set in 1997 and Ice House Records blessed us with I Won't Give Up (2000). The singer's calendar doesn't have many blank days and there lies the essence of Lou Pride, a true music road dog, just like B. B. King, but without the acclaim and fanfare: one of blues best kept secrets. WMB Records issued Love at Last, which contains re-recordings of some of Pride's finest efforts. You can find his single "I'm Coming Home in the Morning" on The Wigan Casino Story (Goldmine GSCD72) and "Your Love Is Fading" on East Coast Soul Sounds CD6: For Lottery Winners Only; and do check out his heartfelt rendition of James Browns' "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World." ~ Andrew Hamilton