First Listen: RJ Griffith gives family tribute with "You Turn Me On"

 

(April 17, 2021) It’s always a good feeling when a young person discovers a good old song. Many of us probably recall rifling through our parents or grandparents record collection and hearing some classic soul from the 1950s or early 60s. The song connected with you, and you thought that you had found something of great value, kind of like a musicologist Indiana Jones.

Well, imagine the pride you would feel if the voice coming through those speakers belonged to a relative. That’s the feeling that Chicago based singer and songwriter RJ Griffith must have felt when he heard his uncle’s voice on the song “You Turn Me On,” which is a delectable piece of late 1960s early `1970s doo-wop styled soul. Griffith’s uncle, Thomas Williams, was a member of The Turks, one of the many great vocal groups doing work around Chicago in the 60s and 70s. Some of those groups, like The Dells, went on to chart topping fame.

(April 17, 2021) It’s always a good feeling when a young person discovers a good old song. Many of us probably recall rifling through our parents or grandparents record collection and hearing some classic soul from the 1950s or early 60s. The song connected with you, and you thought that you had found something of great value, kind of like a musicologist Indiana Jones.

Well, imagine the pride you would feel if the voice coming through those speakers belonged to a relative. That’s the feeling that Chicago based singer and songwriter RJ Griffith must have felt when he heard his uncle’s voice on the song “You Turn Me On,” which is a delectable piece of late 1960s early `1970s doo-wop styled soul. Griffith’s uncle, Thomas Williams, was a member of The Turks, one of the many great vocal groups doing work around Chicago in the 60s and 70s. Some of those groups, like The Dells, went on to chart topping fame.

The Turks had the talent that captured the attention of a record label, signing a deal with Mercury Records. The Turks didn’t achieve mainstream success, but “You Turn Me On,” a sweet ballad written by Willie Weems with Williams in the lead, has gone on to be one of those tunes that those in the know about what is called Northern Soul want to get their hands on.

Griffith, a young man who is putting together his own musical resume both as a gospel singer and as what he calls ‘feel good music artist,’ decided to reimagine “You Turn Me On” when he got his hands on the record. Griffith kept the original lead vocals of his uncle and the backing singers for the tune’s intro and ending and then overdubbed his buttery tenor and added some contemporary instrumentation in the form of programmed drums and other percussion. Griffith presented the finished product to Weems and Williams, who were impressed with the song’s transformation in a video-taped interview he conducted with the two Windy City Soul Legends. Us old heads always feel good when the youngsters recognize the greatness of the classic sounds, and it’s nice that Griffith introduce “You Turn Me On” and The Turks to a new generation. Check it out here.

By Howard Dukes

RJ Griffith - "You Turn Me On"

 

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