***The Great Gaylord is absolutely correct: Darrell Banks' "Open the Door to Your Heart" is exemplary, significant soul music. "It is," says the WFMU deejay, "two-and-a-half minutes of flawlessness [that] cuts directly to the essence of soul." It's got the beat, it's got the sound, but what's more, it's got the expressive, pleading voice of Darrell Banks. He doesn't overdo it - he does it just enough, and wham! hits the listener with a wallop of rhythm & blues at its finest. The song debuted on the Cashbox Black Contemporary Chart at Number 45 on July 2, 1966. Six weeks later it was Number One for two weeks, knocked off by a Stevie Wonder record for a week before returning to the top spot again. This time The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love" brought it down for good.
Late in 1967, Atco originally issued Darrell Banks Is Here! LP, consisting of Banks' four singles, their B-sides, and two new tracks. The album is one of soul music's best, though it never achieved the cult status of Howard Tate's Get It While You Can or Edwin Starr's Soul Master, but collectors of Detroit soul music have long treasured this obscure gem.
The album starts with a fine ballad, "Here Come the Tears," written by Chicago songwriter Gerald Simms, who worked at such labels as Chess, Brunswick and OKeh as an arranger and producer. The second song, "I've Got That Feelin'," another tough Detroit production with punchy horns and a real boss beat was originally released as the B-side of "Tears." It was written by Jimmy Crosby, veteran R&B songwriter Rosemarie McCoy and Gene Redd, who had worked at King Records and went on to discover Kool & the Gang in 1969.
"I'm Gonna Hang My Head and Cry," never released at 45 RPM, shows Banks' total mastery of the soul ballad. "Look Into the Eyes of a Fool" is taken at a mid-tempo pace and features stops, much like a Four Tops record, though without the affect. It was originally the B-side of "Angel Baby." Side one ended with a perfect slice of Detroit soul, "Our Love (Is in the Pocket)." Written by a young George Clinton and Rosemarie McCoy, this fabulous hip-shaker's first life was as the B-side to "Open the Door," which opened side two, followed by "Angel Baby" (another dip into Motown's Jobete catalog, an up-tempo stormer written by Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby, both of whom co-wrote with Stevie Wonder during the '60s), and "Someone (Somewhere) Needs You," a dance-floor mover and groover. Frank Wilson, a Motown songwriter and producer, wrote the song, which was first cut by Ike & Tina Turner for Loma in 1965.
Banks' soulful, gritty vocal is a highlight of "Baby What'cha Got (for Me)," as is the horn arrangement. The songwriting is credited to C. Hatcher and J. Barnes - that's right, Edwin Starr and J.J. Barnes. The album ends with "You Better Go," a sweet ballad by the prolific Teddy Randazzo, Lou Stallman and Bobby Weinstein that never appeared as a single.
* 12 great tracks by Detroit soul legend
* A great soul singer, contemporary of Edwin Starr, veteran of chart battles with Stevie Wonder and Supremes
* Long celebrated by soul connoisseurs
* A definitive soul classic, lost until this re-release
* Never before on CD