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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Donnie Fritts - Prone To Lean (1974 us, awesome bluesy country folk rock, 2013 japan remaster)

One of the architects of the famed Muscle Shoals Sound, songwriter Donnie Fritts also enjoyed success as a longtime associate of Kris Kristofferson. A native of Florence, Alabama, as a teen Fritts played drums with local acts like the Satellites and Hollis Dixon. By the late '50s he was writing and performing with the likes of Arthur Alexander, Dan Penn, and Spooner Oldham, all of them joining forces to forge the unique fusion of Southern soul, pop, country, and R&B immediately recognizable as the Muscle Shoals Sound. Fritts' early songs were recorded by performers as diverse as Percy Sledge, Dusty Springfield, the Box Tops, and Tommy Roe. 

By the late '60s he was employed as a Nashville staff writer, often working alongside fellow up-and-comer Kristofferson. Beginning in 1970, Fritts was Kristofferson's touring keyboardist, and they even appeared together in films including Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, and A Star Is Born. He released his first solo album, the solid country soul offering Prone To Lean, in 1974, but whether because of poor sales or other priorities, it was 23 years before he released another one. Although his name is not as well known as some of his collaborators, Fritts was an integral part of the development of the 70s country soul sound. 

Fritts focused on session and touring work during the early 2000s. He guested on Robert Plant's Sixty Six to Timbuktu in 2003 and on the Resentments' Roselight in 2009, but did little else. His songs paid the bills, as they appeared on dozens of compilations and were covered by current artists including Shelby Lynne, who made his "Breakfast in Bed" the title track of her tribute to Dusty Springfield in 2008. 

Fritts didn't record again under his own name for another half dozen years. He had become friendly with producer and label and studio owner John Paul White (formerly of the Civil Wars), who asked him to play the premiere of the Muscle Shoals documentary. While visiting one day, White heard Fritts play songs on his well-used Wurlitzer that were favorites, not necessarily his own. The producer convinced him to record an album of this material on that instrument. With assistance from the Alabama Shakes' Ben Tanner, White assembled various guests including Brittany Howard, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, John Prine, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Spooner Oldham, and the Secret Sisters to back Fritts. Released by White's Single Lock Records, Oh My Goodness was issued in October of 2015.  
by Jason Ankeny

1. Three Hundred Pounds Of Hongry (Donnie Fritts, Eddie Hinton) - 3:30
2. Winner Take All (Donnie Fritts, Dan Penn) - 3:47
3. When We're On The Road (Donnie Fritts) - 3:22
4. Whatcha Gonna Do (Donnie Fritts, Jon Reid) - 3:22
5. You're Gonna Love Yourself (In The Morning) (Donnie Fritts) - 2:51
6. I've Got To Feel It (Donnie Fritts, Eddie Hinton) - 3:24
7. Sumpin' Funky Going On (Donnie Fritts, Tony Joe White) - 2:54
8. Jesse Cauley Sings The Blues (Eddie Hinton) - 3:28
9. My Friend (Donnie Fritts, Spooner Oldham) - 3:18
10.Prone To Lean (Kris Kristofferson) - 3:38
11.We Had It All (Donnie Fritts, Troy Seals) - 3:03
12.Rainbow Road (Donnie Fritts, Dan Penn) - 3:36

*Donnie Fritts - Vocals, Electric Piano
*Barry Beckett - Piano, Vives, Clavinet
*Roger Hawkins - Drums, Tambourine, Congas
*Jimmy Johnson - Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*David Hood - Bass
*Eddie Hinton - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Harmonica
*Pete Carr - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Dobro
*Mike Utley - Organ
*Sammy Creason - Drums
*Jerry McGee - Acoustic, Electric, Slide Guitar
*Tony Joe White - Lead Guitar, Back Vocal
*Spooner Oldham - Vives
*Jerry Masters - Bass
*Mickey Raphael - Harp
*The Muscle Shoals - Horns
*Rita Coolidge - Back Vocal
*Billy Swann - Back Vocal
*Dan Penn - Back Vocal
*Kris Kristofferson - Back Vocal
*John Prine - Back Vocal
*Spooner Oldham - Back Vocal
*Eddie Hinton - Back Vocal
*Jerry Wexler - Back Vocal

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