Forget about the user posts and comments on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus unless you want to read about someone’s lunch, self-published book or horrible ex-boyfriend. YouTube is the best social media site for finding more than an occasional literate or heartfelt comment. Sure, there are political comments and spam scattered underneath most YouTube videos , but some of the comments underneath many music videos/ uploads of songs from the 1950s through the 1980s are rather touching and heartfelt. You’ll often see a comment not about the song, but the memories it evokes for the listener. -of brothers and sisters and parents who passed away, or dedications to a lost or unrequited love from 30 years ago. It’s amazing how raw and honest some people become when using a silly YouTube screen name.
I guess we all have songs that we haven’t heard since we were kids and have totally forgotten about – once we rediscover them, they pique memories of old classmates, the head shop at the local mall, or the seashells on Grandma's tchotchke shelf.
At 17, Ronnie Dyson was cast in the lead part in the original Broadway production of Hair. sharing the stage with Paul Jabara and,Melba Moore, among others. After his success in Hair, Dyson signed with Columbia Records , working with producer Thom Bell (Spinners, Stylistics). Dyson’s smooth, tenor voice had hint of vulnerability, and Why Can’t I Touch You?, adapted from the off-Broadway musical Salvation, hit #8 on the Billboard Top 100 charts in 1970.
A string of lesser hits followed Why Can’t I Touch You? Dyson reached #28 on the pop charts with 1973’s One Man Band (Plays All Alone), from the album One Man Band. It contained some of Dyson’s best work, including When You Get Right Down to It and Just Don’t Wanna Be Lonely. Dyson’s version of Just Don’t Wanna Be Lonely reached #30 on the Billboard R and B charts, in 1973. (Main Ingredient‘s version charted at #8 in 1974.)
Dyson’s songs fused the upbeat sound of commercial R and B with dreamy pop feel of artists like Johnny Mathis, but he never attained the success he deserved. The R and B field in the early ‘70s, was crowded with memorable acts. You had Al Wilson, Al Green Lou Rawls Clarence Carter, Brook Benton, Billy Paul and vocal groups including the O‘Jays, Blue Magic, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Delfonics, Chairmen of the Board, etc., so it’s not surprising Dyson’s music got lost in the mix.
Dyson passed away from a heart attack in 1990 at age 40.
101 Distribution released Dyson’s third and fourth Columbia albums, The More You Do and Love in All Flavors on a single remastered CD earlier this year. Both albums were produced by Marvin Yancy and Chuck Jackson. (Yancy later produced hit albums for Natalie Cole.)