Single Review: Earl Young and Darryl Grant – Don’t Underestimate the Power of Love

The founder of The Trammps joins former lead singer of Fat Larry’s Band in a brilliant take on the forgotten soul gem ‘Don’t Underestimate the Power of Love’.

To most soul and funk fans the names Earl Young and Darryl Grant probably mean very little, but these two men are in fact soul and funk veterans responsible for some great grooves recorded and released during the seventies. Earl Young is a famed session drummer who is often credited with the invention of the disco-style of drumming, with his drumming featuring on classic Philly Soul records such as ‘For The Love of Money’, ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’, and ‘T.S.O.P (The Sound of Philadelphia). He would go on to form and lead the disco outfit The Trammps along with lead singer Jimmy Ellis, having hits such as ‘Disco Inferno’ and ‘Hold Back The Night’. Meanwhile, Darryl Grant was the lead singer of Fat Larry’s Band, who had big hits such as ‘Act Like You Know’, and ‘Zoom’.

Now the two are paired together on their new single release ‘Don’t Underestimate the Power of Love’, a song written by Melvin and Mervin Searles. Former Temptation Eddie Kendricks recorded the song in 1978 on his album Vintage ‘78 which rode the soft disco sound of the day recorded; former Atlantic Records star Wilson Pickett recorded the song in 1981 on his album Right Track, which featured a nice rhythm and horn arrangement. Yet neither version hit the big time, which is sad given that the song itself is a bit of a rare gem.

Young and Grant hope to make their version slightly well known, and so far are generating a great response from fans, particularly here in the UK with the song hitting the Solar Radio Sweet Rhythms Chart in a big way. Listening to the song it’s understandable why. Produced by Motown session musician McKinley Jackson, Melvin Searles and Young, this version is pretty enjoyable. It finds both Young and Grant unapologetically back in that seventies soul-disco groove: there is no attempt to update their classic sound, and why would there be when it sounds as good as this. The song opens to the Barry White-esque bass vocals of Young, backed impressively by Jackson’s Detroit Horns ensemble.

Indeed, the reason why this song works is the quality of musicianship that is present on the record, from Jimmie Williams on bass to Lawrence Bowens on drums. This song is brilliantly produced, and the tight horn section and the lovely arrangement really give this version a boost. Grant’s voice possesses a delightful warmth to it and contrasts nicely with Young’s impressive bass. The pairing of the two is a brilliant decision, and we eagerly wait for the next release from these two giants of seventies soul music.

 

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Published
2 years ago
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George Haffenden
Written by George Haffenden
Brought up on a healthy diet of soul and funk, Haff's dream was to become the first British member of The Temptations. Realising that this dream could never be realised, he is now the curator of The Funk & Soul Revue.