A Lovely Day Raymond Coats and The Chosen Fewhttps://www.facebook.com/luwanda.blingbling/videos/872698366184259/ If you’ve ever seen Raymond Coats perform, you know what a high- drive artist he is. But ask him to talk about his career and the sociable, magnetic musician-songwriter becomes noticeably uncomfortable and gracelessly quiet. “The combined flashes are one big telling story that’s still not concluded. I just sit back and stay indebted to still be making music with helpers,” says the humble vocalist Coats, a consistent entertainer who has maintained an amazing ability to perform throughout his solo career that began in earnest in 1974. One of those memorable moments for Coats occurred twenty years ago at a Forty Niners game when walking up the ramp at half-time and singing one of his originals when he was stopped by Bill Withers who became a friend and confidant with whom he recorded in his studio. The two were a hit from the beginning. One of the tracks that came from this collaboration, “Special Love For me” came at a time when Bill, already a solo recording artist, and Coats was being propelled from being a first-call sideman to an in-demand solo artist. Coats recalls turning to his collaborator and asking, “How long do you think we’ll be able to keep doing this?” From this came Coats introduction to Mr. Rene Hall composer of the strings on Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”, who did the string arrangement on Special Love For Me! As Coats winds up the machine in advance of his 3rd. release, Simply Raymond, he says, “I’m appreciative that people still want to hear what I have to say [lyrically]. That’s stunning and phenomenal.” You can feel his honest sense of thankfulness as much as you can feel the joy he dispenses into his music and the fun he has creating it. On Every Time She Cries, Coats fondly conjures the spirit of hopefulness in a return to his balladeer roots while continuing to record and collaborate with old and new musical friends. “When I started working on this album, which was about a year in the making, there were two goals that I had in mind. I wanted it to be really real old-school music and have a lot of my friends playing on it. Players—like Tony Saunders, who is one of the best bassist/producers in the world and Bill Hampton, an extraordinary guitarist—melding together with the faithful; guys like Dante’ “Taz” Roberson [drums] and Sylvester Burks [piano]. It’s a return to the sound and style of love and freedom of expression, which basically was a tribute to my years singing in The Performers and Elegants. I took out all of the sequencing and made the record like a band in a garage using these great live players. It was a lot of fun making the record. It’s energetic and earthy. We hit it hard—kind of like Teddy Pendergrass—capturing the energetic, funky band sound. I wanted lots of background section parts on the album,” explains Coats. Saunders, who produced the collection and wrote or co-wrote 8 of the 11 songs says simply of Coats, “He is an overachiever”! Simply Raymond instinctively brings Raymond Coats back full circle, an offering guaranteed to gratify spectators who have been on the merry-go-round with the multidimensional vocalist while luring new ones to climb aboard. There is a crunchy freshness and animation clear in the new material reflecting the great pleasure he gains from making it. The devoted family man feels most comfortable when surrounded by friends while making funk-enriched urban contemporary adult music using live instrumentation. “It is a return to who I’ve been for so many years,” Coats concludes. “It’s a return to being soulful. It felt like it was time to keep the old school element alive and well.” And that it is.