Ray Of Sunshine (Capricorn Records 1975)
Produced by Gray and Nashville singer/songwriter Troy Seals
at Nashville’s Quadrafonic Studios, New Ray is, by
Gray’s own admission, "A good example of what
happens when misdirection and inexperience
collide. I think the best that can be said of it
is that I learned a lot about what not to do, and
that Darlene Love and The Blossoms did a
sensational job on back-up vocals."
Gray does point out that two of the songs on this album,
co-authored by himself and Seals, went on to
greater success: "Drive On, Ride On" was recorded
by Three Dog Night in 1976, and was sampled by the
group Jodici on its 1993 Diary Of A Mad Band CD.
The second song from Gray’s album to be
highlighted was "Easy Come, Easy Go." It was
recorded by country diva Tammy Wynette and also by
Gray’s second album for Capricorn, Let Go, was
released in 1977. No exposure.
Midnight Diamond (Infinity Records 1978)
Four years after his tenure at MCA, Infinity Records, an MCA
subsidiary, signed Dobie to its label. His first
album for that company, produced by Muscle Shoals
legend Rick Hall at Fame Recording Studios, was to
be named Sharing The Night Together. But the pace
at which Infinity moved in getting its
organization into place afforded Dr. Hook’s
version of the song to gain a substantial
foothold. The rest, as they say, is history.
Still the album, re-named Midnight Diamond, proves to be an
impressive piece of work. The Muscle Shoals Horns,
with arrangements by Harrison Calloway, is at its
best and Gray has never been in better form. The
album received considerable acceptance in parts of
Europe and in South Africa but, in the U.S.,
Infinity Records proved to be all too finite.
Gray’s second album for the label, Dobie Gray, was
released in 1979 but the Infinity label by then
was all but kaput!
Standouts: "Miss You Nights" / "Sharing The Night Together"/
"Who’s Lovin’ You" / "I’ll Be Your Hold Me Tight"
/ "Let This Man Take Hold Of Your Life."
Selections from Midnight Diamond can be found on compilation
CDs from MCA Records, and on Dobie Gray:His Very
Best, from Razor & Tie Records of New York.
From Where I Stand (Capitol EMI America
Following a seven year hiatus, spent mostly writing songs,
Gray teamed up with prominent Nashville Producer
Harold Shedd. He resurfaced with what everyone
expected would be, and what should’ve been, a
"From Where I Stand" is Gray at his finest. The first single,
That’s One To Grow On, written by Jerry Fuller,
couldn’t have been more Dobie if it had been
tailored especially for him. The song entered the
charts in the high 60's and climbed for about
three weeks. "What happened after that is
anybody’s guess," says Gray, "but it sure as hell
wasn’t my country fans, because I still get many
requests for it during performances. I suspect its
demise came about due to the still-existing state
of country radio and its aversion to
African-American artists participating in country
music, Charley Pride notwithstanding."
Some industry insiders agree. The assertion does seem to have
the ring of truth, in that Gray can reel off an
impressive number of "firsts" which went on to
become well known songs by lesser (and some
better) known artists. "The saving grace," says
Gray, "is that I was a composer on a number of
Gray’s second album for the label, Love’s Talkin',
produced by Larry Butler, was a qualified effort
but lacked the vitality of "From Where I Stand."