Don Blackman is an iconic, cult artist. A pianist, songwriter, producer, and vocalist from New York he is a mystical figure for record collectors, one of those artists where if you found an old dusty record with Don's name on it, you'd buy it on sight. He is best known for his 1982 magnum-opus, the eponymous album that featured the all-time classics 'Heart's Desire' and 'Holding You, Loving You’. He also collaborated with other greats such as Bernard Wright, Weldon Irvine, Roy Ayers, and Lenny White.
We couldn't believe it when Chicago DJ/digger/producer, Marc Davis, told us there was a vault of unreleased Don Blackman material. Marc had reached out to Don’s children, Irene and Kyle, in 2019, building a relationship with Kyle with whom he shared a musical affinity. To Marc's delight, Kyle confirmed that there was indeed a treasure trove. As Kyle described it, “In 2013, shortly after my dad’s passing, my sister and I collected all of his possessions and put them in a storage unit. I came across forty years’ worth of music history. Hundreds of cassettes, CDs, Disks, reel-to-reels, paperwork, photos and VHS tapes. It took about ten years to organise and digitise everything. All of this magic was almost thrown away in the trash, never to be seen, never to be heard forever.”
Two tracks were selected, 'Your Love Makes Me Crazy' and 'Say You'll Be Mine'. 'Your Love Makes Me Crazy' is as funky as it gets, with infectiously catchy vocal hooks, and a serious jam, whereas ‘Say You’ll Be Mine’ is a classy, soulful boogie, instrumental number, that shows off Don’s masterful piano playing. Both tracks warrant full attention and capture a master at work. He was also a one-man show when it came to production, playing all of the instruments when recording these tunes in his home studio in South Jamaica, Queens.
On first hearing the tracks, Marc knew he wanted to extend the songs and enlisted fellow Chicago legend, Tone B. Nimble, to work on the project with him. Their extension/edit of the songs was conducted in a way that was respectful and true to how the tracks were originally recorded by Don. They extended and re-sequenced the groovy parts of the songs organically for the DJs and dancers.
The final words on this release are best coming from Kyle, “We are very excited and thrilled to continue to share all of this unreleased magic with the world. We hope that this music will help, heal, and inspire a new generation of artists to never give up, and to strive for what their hearts desire.”