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Jeffree – Love Don’t Come No Stronger – CDEXCL4

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April 25th, 2011

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Price: £12.50

Track listing:

1. Love Don’t Come No Stronger
2. Call On Me
3. Love Loan
4. Love’s Gonna Last
5. Mr. Fix-It
6. Gentle Love
7. Unforgettable Person
8. Honest Baby (You’re My Perfect Lady)
9. Take My Love
10. Change Places
11. Stick Close
12. Call It Love

Profile:

Jeffree  formerly known as Jeff Perry, brother of writer/producer Greg Perry
was recently on his first visit to Europe. He had learned to navigate the
London Underground but found people reserved and unfriendly. He had played Southport
and stopped by Liverpool on his way back to his Manchester hotel in order to pick
up the Beatles vibe. ‘I felt like a kid,’ he said. Speaking to ‘In The Basement’
magazine he tells his story.

‘I have come from a very musical family. There were five of us. If things had
been a little different, we could have the Jackson Five. One difference was
that all five of us could lead  that’s not to be derogatory to the Jackson
Five. We were singing as kids and I have to go back to when I was five and Zachary
was three and Dennis was two. There were also our older brothers, Greg and Leonard
and we all sang and danced together. We used to entertain at school and college
hops for free. We didn’t get paid, we just loved to sing. But tragedy struck
when our mother died. I was seven, Greg was ten and Leonard was thirteen and
we just weren’t the same.

‘Still, as ‘Three Of A Kind’ we were very fortunate to work with Clarence Avant
who had Sussex records at the time and right near the end when he was having
trouble with Buddah’s distribution, we released a record, `Say It (Don’t Give
It Away)’. It was a good record and the flip side (`You’re Everything In My
Life’) was even better but we got caught up in the change of distribution and
the record fell through the gap, so Three Of A Kind didn’t happen. Then Zach
and Dennis were juggling with me as a group and trying to work with my older
brother, Greg. Greg was at Invictus/Hot Wax and had his idea of how wanted to
be and what he wanted to do.’ (Greg Perry ultimately married Edna Wright, lead
singer of Hot Wax group, Honey Cone.) ‘ So there was a tug of war with my brothers
because I had got involved in producing and I guess there was a competition
thing between Greg and myself. Greg had a bigger reputation, although I was
involved in all that he was doing  I didn’t get the credit for it but that’s
okay, that’s another story. I said (to Zach and Dennis) `I can go into a studio
and do it myself, I don’t need you to do the background for me, you want to
go with Greg, go with Greg’ but they were living with me and if Greg would call
they would jump and want to work with him, because he was the older brother
and they felt more comfortable that they would receive more success with him.
They are on `Love Don’t Come No Stronger’ but because it was not released as
Three Of A Kind but Jeff Perry solo we were never able to get it back together
as a group after that. It was just tragic.’

`Love Don’t Come No Stronger’ was Jeff Perry’s first single for Arista. It
peaked at #19 r&b, spending 13 weeks on the chart. The follow-up `Honest
baby (You’re My Perfect Lady’) failed to repeat the success.

‘I sensed Clive (Davis, Arista boss) wanted to make me a star but he didn’t
know how. Maybe because my father was there and Clive couldn’t get at me like
he wanted to. My father wanted Arista and Clive to deal with me in a certain
way but he wasn’t a manager, he was not an agent, he was my father, so I left
Arista. Clive was responsible for me being called Jeff Perry because I was born
Jeffrey Perry and was using my full name but Clive felt it didn’t sound right,
it didn’t have the ring, so I went along with it. Then after a brief spell at
Epic (producing the northern soul favourite ‘Call On Me’), when I was going
through changes, I was it in my name. Jeff was free! And I thought if I just
change the `y’ to and `e’ it would be for real and I’ll be Jeff-free. Also,
there was an expression among some of the hustlers and some of the people in
the cities, they would say `He’s jeffin”, which meant he was cooking a lot
of trash, you could put stuff off him and I didn’t go for that, so with Jeffree
it said `I’m free of that’ And I loved that one name. I love it now. I think
it means I am free to sing what I want to sing, produce what I want to produce
and that’s the kind of music that I want.

‘So I signed with MCA. The album was supposed to be a smash and that’s been
proved by how much it is demand now. It’s been selling in America for $200-300,
not because it’s old but because it is good. It had magic on it, it had good
music and was record at a time when I was full of love, full of life, full of
zest and I had the freedom to put out a collection of my music. Unfortunately
the promotion wasn’t there, people were leaving MCA and my record kind of fell
through a gap again. Whatever did happen, happened on it’s own. The single,
`Mr. Fix-It’ just took off by itself. They say they pressed up some 50, 60 thousand
pieces and they were gone and they didn’t press any more. I checked, people
were trying to order it and they were told, `We don’t have it’. Really they
released a record improperly.

‘When the Jeffree album didn’t happen I was basically a basket case. I didn’t
understand it because I knew it was going to hit. The timing was right, there
was no competition. I had learned from Motown, I had learned from my brother,
Greg, I had learned from Holland-Dozier-Holland. I had learned from Carl Davis
and Tom Tom Washington and Sonny Sanders in the studio.’ (In 1972, Carl Davis
called Jeff Perry to Brunswick, where he wrote all the song’s on Jackie Wilson’s
`Beautiful Day’ album.) ‘I did a few little things but not enough to make much
money. I had this rage because I couldn’t get my music out.

Eventually, the convalescent period was over and Jeffree determined to get
his act together and return to the business. Resurrecting some cuts in the can
from circa 1980 and getting to work on some new material, the outcome was `Call
It Love’, released on the man’s own Creative Outlet label.

‘I called the new label Creative Outlet, because of the need for an outlet
of creativity, otherwise, as I said, thing are directed inwardly and they become
very self-destructive. The tracks in the can were not put out at the time because
I didn’t have the opportunity. I always wanted the freedom to have my own production
company so, at a relatively early age I put together and budget fund so I could
pay for the sessions and have my own independence.

Renewed interest had been generated by the release of `Call It Love’, his first
album for eighteen years. ‘People asked to see me. I seem to have a loyal fan
following and they wanted to know `Are you still alive’ because most people
don’t get beyond 40, 45. That could be me but I don’t like that script, I want
to write a different script, I don’t like the ending. I want my script to be
`he led a successful, beautiful and balanced career, like his life’, that’s
how I want my script to read.’

Excerpts from article originally published in ‘In The Basement’ magazine, reproduced
with the kind permission of David Cole.

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