Most Wanted! Billy Nichols – Diamond Ring (West End Records)
I remember as if it was yesterday when (Uncle) Mel Cheren asked about my favorite cut on his West End Records label. I told him about this one. He then got straight to the basement of The Colonial House Inn in NYC Chelsea where he had his office. Then, about 10 minutes later, he came back with a big smile… And a rare 12″ promo copy in stone Mint condition for me! No need telling you how this got me under cloud 9.
I never understood though why, despite such an impressive vocal range allowing to flirt with falsetto tones, Nichols never managed to get the recognition he truly deserved. And I’m not even talking about his skills both as a songwriter, arranger and producer…
Missed it? Never too late to check this explosive piece of handclapped led funky Disco/Soul!
Billy Nichols was born in 1940 in Carrollton, MS. He learnt playing guitar by his own self, most likely getting inspiration from his dad who was playing Blues during his spare time.
Moving to Detroit, MI at the age of 24, he got himself a job at Motown, first playing with Martha & The Vandellas, then acting as a musical director for Marvin Gaye in 1965. The following years seeing him alternating his activities between touring and songwriting.
He would reach his peak when writing and producing ‘Do It (Til You’re Satisfied)’ and ‘Shout It’ for B.T. Express. He’s also responsible for Jesse Gould‘s ‘Out Of Work’ on P&P Records. Not to mention ‘That’s Hot’ for the then called Jessie G.
Signing as an artist on West End Records, he delivered a couple of gems under his own banner. Beginning with ‘Give Your Body Up To The Music’ and the boling hot ‘Diamond Ring’. And he also produced ‘The Adventures Of Super Rhymes’ and ‘Rhythm Rap Rock’ respectively for Jimmy Spicer and Count Coolout.