Dobie Gray:Ultimate Collection

Soul, pop, country—Dobie Gray has enjoyed prolonged success in all three fields, and that’s hardly an everyday occurrence. The empowering anthem “The ‘In’ Crowd” established Dobie as a pop and R&B star in 1965, and his timeless masterpiece “Drift Away” obliterated idiomatic boundaries as it went gold in 1973. He’s as difficult to classify as anyone this side of Delbert McClinton, having made a mid-career leap from R&B to C&W without missing a beat. “I had a real crossover audience there,” he says. “I still have a great country following. And that’s kind of unusual, a little bit unusual to be on both sides. It makes it a little difficult for record companies to put me in a bag. You go to a record store and you don’t know where to look.” That lifelong eclectic streak can be traced back to his upbringing in Simonton, Texas, located about 45 miles west of Houston. There Lawrence Darrow Brown—the name Dobie was born with on July 26, 1942—was exposed to an array of early musical influences. “Gospel, Tex-Mex, Country,” he reports. “Everything but Blues, ‘cause my grandfather was a minister, and there was no Blues there. But I did get a taste of it later on.” At the dawn of the 1960s, he headed for Hollywood. “I left Texas to get into the music business. In fact, I was going to be an actor. And then music started paying the bills,” he says. “So I got into that, and I never did leave. I saw so many of my actor friends sitting by the phone, waiting for the agent to call, that I went, ‘Uh-uh, this ain’t for me!’” Fellow future L.A. music luminary Sonny Bono handed the singer a significant early break. “He gave me my first audition. He was A&R man at Specialty Records at the time,” says Dobie. “I had heard some kind of announcement on the radio that they were looking for talent. I hopped on a bus and went out and saw him, and sang a cappella for him. Sang ‘Unchained Melody,’ and he introduced me to a guy named Al Stewart, who became my first manager. That’s how I got my start in the business.” While under contract to Stewart’s tiny Stripe label, Lawrence Brown was transformed into Dobie Gray. It wasn’t his first pseudonym. “I had done a couple of records under Larry Dennis, and under Larry Curtis as well,” he says. “A friend of mine, Lou Fields, came along and said, ‘We need something that’s kind of memorable.’ At the time, the Dobie Gillis thing was riding high.” (Dobie Gillis was the lead teen character on a popular TV sitcom of the same name.) “So he said, ‘How about Dobie?’ And we came up with Gray, and that was it. So that’s stuck ever since.”

1.The “In” Crowd
2.See You At The Go-Go
3.Look At Me
4.Out On The Floor
5.Honey, You Can’t Take It Back
6.Rose Garden
7.Drift Away
8.The Time I Loved You The Most
9.Good Old Song
10.Love Is On The Line
11.Loving Arms
12.So High (Rock Me Baby And Roll Me Away)
13.Watch Out For Lucy (single version)
14.A New Ray Of Sunshine
15.You Can Do It
16.Got My Heart Set On You
17.If I Ever Needed You
18.That’s One To Grow On
19.Let Me Go Till I’m Gone – from the motion picture Casey’s Shadow
20.Uptown Saturday Night – theme from Uptown Saturday Night (new version

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