Not many people make it out from little towns like Charleston, Tennessee and get onto the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, but keyboard playing singer/songwriter Benny Latimore did just that, and his star is shining brighter than ever.
Born way back in 1939, he moved to Miami in the 1960s, landed a steady gig and residency at a hopping club in Overtown, and linked up with Henry Stone’s record distribution combine to begin his recording career in earnest. This led to million s of record sales and an illustrious career in music.
With Latimore’s upcoming induction to the Blues Hall of Fame, steady headline gigs in any country on Earth, numerous classics, and legions of fans, it’s time for the uninitiated to get to know Latimore. Here are some essential listens from his catalog.
Latimore – Stormy Monday – 1973 – Glades Records
The year was 1973 when the South Side of Chicago exploded with the voice of Latimore booming from every barroom jukebox within range of a shotglass and a quarter. People were playing his version of “Stormy Monday” over and over and over again, sometimes running the repeats past the thirty minute mark. That was Henry Stone’s first indication of the commercial prospects for Lat, who marked hundreds of thousands of record sales off this classic T-Bone Walker staple.
Latimore – Qualified Man – 1976 – Glades Records
Cool organ line, pumping bass, lock tight drums, catchy guitar, and the top-shelf- whiskey-smooth vocals of Latimore delivering lines like “Qualified, certified, ratified, sanctified, glorified, I’m purified, so let me be your qualified man. What I am is what you need, satisfaction guaranteed, so come on honey, now’s the time, so let me be your qualified man.”
Latimore – Dig A Little Deeper – 1978 – Glades Records
Latimore says, ‘Dig a little deeper, make love a little stronger, you might find what you’re looking for right at home.’
Latimore – Redneck In The Soul Band – 1975 – Glades Records
The story of the redneck in the soul band and how he is gettin’ down is relayed with style, truth, funk, and conviction by the commanding yet ever-smooth voice of Latimore.
Latimore – “Let’s Straighten It Out” – 1974 – Glades Records
Not only did this record go BILLBOARD #1 R&B in the year that it came out, it is still garnering tens of millions of hits on youtube, and similarly high numbers of streams, as well as purchase through re-issues, and is of course highly coveted, collected, and sold in the used record market. By any metric, this song has always been a hit, and will always be a hit, and these are just a couple of reasons why Latimore is one of the most important musicians in the world today, because ever since he first came on the scene he has never stopped working, and the people have always loved him for it, and now their kids and grandkids will too.