Billy Paul “Mr Smooth” Of The PIR Groove
I drew this picture 1 year and four days ago, providential not coincidental sadly. “It’s Critical” that we remember Billy Paul one of the deep and philosophical “Black Wonder’s Of The World”. Billy Paul was for Philadelphia International Records what Marvin Gaye was to Motown, musical griot and deliverer of the the gospel and spiritual truth. Before Tashan kindly gave me his song “Soul Survivors” to use as my radio show theme tune, I’d previously chosen Billy’s version of “Only The Strong Survive” as my intro. I loved Billy’s voice and smoothness and he was clearly someone who was clearly proud of his “Brown Baby” heritage. I guess in right now “The Whole Town’s Talking” “Sooner Or Later” about the lost of this artist who certainly helped “Let The Dollar Circulate” in Philly. Billy was so full of “Enlightenment” and will be fondly remembered for his effort to “Bring The Family Back” as he educated many in the “Game Of Life”. Always championing “People Power” whether he was “Takin’ It To The Streets”, encouraging the population including “Me & Mrs Jone” to “Let’s Make A Baby”, identifying the phony Billy Paul “False Faces” or advising “Only The Strong Survive”. Billy Paul had style, a voice of pure “Peace Holy Peace” quality and most certainly for me was a “First Class” act, so “Thank You For (This Blessing)” Billy and Rock the mic In Paradise (R.I.P)
Here is an excerpt from an interview I did with Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff from our July 2012 issue 40 of the Soul Survivors Magazine speaking about Billy Paul :
Me: If there is one artist who always had some kind of positive unity and love message throughout his entire albums it was brother Billy Paul. On the War Of The Gods album you describe him as a prophet instrument of god bringing messages to brothers and sisters on the planet. Titles like “See The Light”, “Black Wonders Of The World”, “False Faces”, “Lets Make A Baby”, and “Me & Mrs Jones” with his serene vocals, Billy captured the hearts and imagination of many..How did you come across him and recognize his potential?
Kenny: “Black Wonders Of The World” Yeah that was a good one.”
Leon : “Wow I forgot about that one.
Kenny: “Billy Paul.. I new him from South Street in south Philly when he had a clothing store selling African garments and at the time I had a record shop in Broad & South and see him all the time. Billy used to sing at a club called The Sahara and he’d pack them in there. He was a local favourite like the Soul Survivors were. Billy recorded an album called “Billy Paul Feeling Good At The Cadillac Club” and we went and cut a few extra songs on there. One was called “Missing You” and “Don’t Think Twice” . Then we went to Neptune Records and Billy was part of our group. He had a good band and a unique voice and he was a great performer. When we came up with “Me & Mrs Jones” that started it even though he had an album before that called “Going East” which was an excellent album. Asking all these question draws out some energies coz your taking me way back to the early days . LOL
Leon : I remember the album cover was unique with Billy on the magic carpet ride which was actually a song on the album. Billy was and still is unique and although there’s been many renditions of “Me & Mrs Jones”… it’s Billy song.