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LARRY DUNN 2012 SOULMUSIC.COM INTERVIEW - PART 1
IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE!
As the keyboardist and musical director for Earth Wind & Fire, LARRY DUNN is widely respected by fans for his focused musicianship as well as co-authoring many classics for the band, including their #1 pop hit from 1975, “Shining Star”. His Moog synthesizer interludes graced many EW&F platinum albums such as THAT'S THE WAY OF THE WORLD, among others. After Larry left the group in 1984, he formed the Larry Dunn Orchestra with his wife Luisa and became a sensation overseas. He recently appeared on “The Jimmy Fallon Show” on his birthday (June 19th) and has reunited with Earth Wind & Fire to cut a new album that will be released in the fall. Because there were so many topics that were discussed, this interview with "The Soul Ninja" KEVIN GOINS is a two-part edition (the second will be posted next week).


Larry Dunn: Hi, Kevin. How are you doing, buddy?

Kevin Goins: I’m doing fine. First of all, I understand that you are producing the upcoming Earth Wind and Fire album. Could you tell our listeners more about that, if you could?

Larry Dunn: Yeah, actually I’m not doing the entire album, but some of it. There’s a beautiful song that Philip and I wrote, which started with the kalimba. Also, there’s another gorgeous song that my wife Louisa and I composed along with Hiroto Kubiyasha, our writing partner, called “Whirlwind”. It’s a wonderful tune we wrote for Philip. I think they’re going to love that. Basically, I’m playing keyboards on almost the whole album.

KG: Yay.

LD: I sat in with them at the consumer electronics show back in January of 2011. Monster Cable had put together a 40th anniversary thing for them and I’m in this movie called Down the Rhodes, which is, I’ll see if I can hook you up with that, it’s the history of the Fender Rhodes Piano. It’s great. It’s long, but it’s really good. They interviewed everybody from George Duke and Patrice Rushen, Deodato, Les McCann, Steely Dan. It’s great. Not just keyboard players, they also went and interviewed people like Maurice, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Allee Willis, really well put together. I learned stuff that I had no idea about, and I’ve been playing that for quite a few hundred years. Anyway, the guy, Greg Peterson, who with Noel Lee, Noel Lee was the owner and a CEO of Monster Cable was telling me about it. He said, “Larry, Earth Wind and Fire, you’ve got to be there.” I politely said, “Well, I haven’t talked to the guys in a while. “

At any rate, our manager Jay King went and took care of all the business. They flew Louisa and I out and he called me up on the big stage. I was actually sitting at the front table next to Maurice and Louisa and Deniece Williams and Sheila E. It was wonderful. So, he calls me up and I said, what do you want to do? He said, “Just do whatever you want to do”. So, I played some stuff. I think I played a little jazz stuff. I did “Brazilian Rhyme”, which you know – you know it all – “Brazilian Rhyme”, then I went into “Spirit” and he was just standing down there looking at me like, ah, sing? You might want to sing. He sang and it was beautiful, and we hadn’t performed that. I don’t know if we ever, maybe way back on the RAISE tour or either the ALL 'N ALL tour. Actually, I don’t think we even did it on the SPIRIT Tour. Anyway, he sang beautifully. I stayed up and I played “That’s the Way the World”.

Stevie showed up and we did “Shining Star” with him. It was a wonderful night. We were leaving the stage, and Philip was, I guess when you’re away from something for 25 plus years, you tend to forget what it really was. He said, “brother, you’ve got some hands on you man, and you’re touch on the keys”. I’m like, “Philip, same for you. Your voice, you’ve got a voice on you”. At any rate, they called me and asked me to play on their single. It went viral before it came out. I ran into Verdine at the NAMM Show, and he was giddy. He was like, “hey man, that single went viral. LD, that’s the way we’re supposed to sound”. I said, beautiful. So, I had dinner with him and Phil, and we worked out a thing for me to come in and help them produce and write and play keys on their new album. It’s coming out great. We’ve got, one of the tunes that I wrote with Philip, with the kalimba, and Allee Willis came in and wrote some lyrics with us. He’s so nice, and we got world renowned Ben Wright to do the horn arrangement. It’s just killing. So, a lot of people are ready. They’re like, this is the first time they’ve sounded like Earth Wind and Fire in 25 plus years. It should be good. (The album will be called), THEN AND NOW FOREVER.

KG: You know, Larry, I’ve said to Mary Moore, who booked this interview, that to many fans, present company included, I may sound biased, but you were a key instrument in the sound of Earth Wind and Fire.

LD: Well, thank you so much.

KG: You’re very welcome, and not taking anything away from Maurice and Verdine, and Philip and Andrew and Johnny and Al, and the late Roland Bautista, I just, and many fans felt that when you left, the sound went with you.

LD: Wow, I just want to thank everybody. I tell people that it’s like a keyboard player, a lot of times when they walk, a lot of that sound goes a long with them. I get that a lot from people talking about other groups. They’re like, whey did they change a thing? Frankie Beverly, because I guess the guy’s not there, the keyboard player’s not with them. Also, of course, Bernie Worrell. It’s a signature sound.

Like I said, I started beating on that thing. We had this little raggedy upright in the living room in Denver, and I was just drawn to it, and it couldn’t have been because it looked great because it really didn’t, but to me it was like, I was just drawn like a moth to a flame, to the light. I started beating on it when I was like two years old, and by the time I was four or five my dad taught me “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino. Fourth grade, I got an acoustic guitar and I learned Ray Charles and The Beatles and a lot of popular music. Played in a stage band and faked my booty off, but the teacher was like, “you’re great!” A lot of it I wasn’t even reading so much, some of it, but a lot of it I was just doing by ear.

Then, sixth grade, God bless my folks, I got a Kimball organ and then I took the turn table and I’d turn it down half speed, from 33 1/3 to 16. You were talking about turn tables earlier, still a wonderful thing, wasn’t it? I would learn Jimmy Smith, “The Cat”, and these jazz tunes. I’d learn those jazz riffs. So, by the time I was 13, I was playing, actually before that, when I was about 11, I met Harry Wilson, who’s my bass player for the Larry Dunn Orchestra, and him and I met Philip. I think I was 13 at that point. Philip was 15. Philip was in a band that had three great singers, and then our band was the bomb instrumental band, and so we snatched those three singers and joined forces and from then on, we were playing all over Denver, serious music. We were playing everything from James Brown to Temptations to the Supremes. You had Jimmy Smith, Hugh Masekela, Dionne Warwick, on and on and on. Then, cats like The Whispers would come through and say, “who are these kids?” We were always serious about the music.

KG: And I remember reading in the liner notes to the box set that my colleague Harry Weinger had written, that this band that you and Philip and I think Andrew Woolfolk had, who mostly did a lot of rock and Top 40 stuff, as well as jazz music.

LD: Absolutely. By that time, we did a killing version of The Rolling Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash”. By that time, most of the clubs we played, thank God, had an actually (Hammond) B3 organ, and that was just like a dream for me. I could not wait to sit down at that thing every night.

KG: I bet. Now, I want to talk more about growing up in Denver, Colorado and I read your bio. I had no idea that you were the product of a multi-racial family.

LD: I is! I is!

KG: Your mom is Italian.

LD: Yeah, they both passed. After my mom passed in 2010, two years ago, she was 90. God bless her, and like I said, if it wasn’t for her. My dad taught me and he played upright bass guitar and key and piano, and then on the Italian side, we go to nana and papa’s on the weekend and they’d sing all the traditional Italian songs, but the one, pop split when I was about 13. It was great. God is great. I remember that day. He had been gone, and he came back for a second. I actually had a gig to do that night and he was on his PMS. My wife says Primitive Man Sugar-honey-iced tea! Don’t think it’s just women, PMS. He was messing with me head. He said, “You’re not going to do that”. I said, “Look. You’ve already messed up my life. You are not taking my music.” I did that gig, he left, and we had seven people in a two bedroom house in Denver, but we loved it.

When I found out that mom was going to lose the house and the husband, we had to buy our raggedy furniture back from the repossession people. I went to that little room, and I had it to myself because it was me, my older brother, my younger brother in one bedroom when he was there. My two baby sisters in the other bedroom, but I learned then that the little things or small things mean a lot to a woman. So, I went in that room and I dropped to my knees and said “God, please, help me make it so that one day I can get my mom another house”.



Praise God, the first thing I did with my royalty check when I was 19 was go back to Colorado and put a down payment on a house for my mom. What did we learn from this? Number one - always take care of your mom. Number two - never get a 30 year mortgage! In that order! Louisa and I paid it off like 10 years ago now. That was really a blessing.

KG: Let’s talk about that other blessing, and that is the meeting of Maurice White. You mentioned getting your first royalty check when you were 19 and I’m just trying to do the math in my head. Okay, that was probably, about, I’m not even going to guess. When did you meet Maurice and how did it come about?

LD: What had happened because the band that Philip and I and Andrew and Larry Thompson and all the guys had, at this point, we had a great band. It was called Friends and Love. It was me, Philip, Harry Wilson, Larry Thompson, Dale Hinton, Julius Kerry, Carl Talwell. Then we had, it was all brothers, right? Then we had Steve Sykes, a gnetleman from Philadelphia, who also has become a wonderful engineer as well. I think he did projects like, when Louisa and I did “Reasons” years ago, he did that. He also did Waymond Tinsdale and so he was a great guitar player, funky white boy. Play that funky music, white boy. Then, it had, I can’t remember his last name, Greg. He had that Randy Brecker thing going on. We’re talking about 1970, 1969 or ’70. I was all of 15 years old or something like that, 16.

Man, we were just killing it. We were doing all that stuff from Santana to...We would play at this little club in Boulder called the Hornbook. At the end of the night, whites, blacks, Mexicans, whatever, Oriental, they would stand on the top of those little freaking club tables, and I was freaking out that nobody every fell of the table. The table didn’t just fall over. They were literally standing on these tables. Like I said, we did the Rolling Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash”, we did James Brown, we did the Temptations, Dionne Warwick. You name it. Top 40, we did it and other stuff as well.

Anyway, we opened the show for Earth Wind and Fire. Maurice, when he first founded it, he had a bunch of older gentleman from Chicago that were back in those days, were all part of the thing where they changed their names from Tom Jones to Moheem Mohamed, and would wear the dashikis and the afros. There were some great musicians, some singers, and they actually had two albums out on Warner Brothers. Their first two albums were EARTH WIND AND FIRE (self-titled), the second one was EARTH WIND AND FIRE - IN NEED OF LOVE. Philip and I, and all of us, we were hip to it. So, we opened a show for them at the Hilton Hotel and it was great.

I’ll always remember Maurice and Verdine were getting out of an elevator, and I was going in and when they got out, the door closed and I said, man, and he was eating some peanuts. Maurice was eating some peanuts, and I said, “Damn! Them peanuts smell good!” Funny stuff - because years later, when I finally hooked up with him, it wasn’t peanuts! That’s back in the day when brothers, instead of wearing cologne, they would wear oils and it was coconut oil! That’s hilarious.

But anyway, we opened the show for them and it was great and we were excited to hear them play. It was great. This was an early evening show. Maurice and Verdine actually came down to that little 21 and over night club that my mom allowed me to play seven nights a week by the time I was 15. So they came down, checked us out, we had a little revolving stage.

Then, eventually we broke up and Philip moved to LA and (the original EW&F lineup) broke up, all the guys. I guess Sherry Scott, Wade Flemons, all of them quit and left Maurice and Verdine in a hotel room in LA by themselves. They just said, “We’re out”. So, after many, or much searching, they went through tons of musicians, guitarists and keyboardists and on and on until they ended with what I call the Original Nine (Maurice, Verdine and Freddie White as well as Larry Dunn, Phillip Bailey, Andrew Woolfolk, Ralph Johnson, Al McKay and Johnny Graham, respectively). The nine that went on to make those great records and actually got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and then eventually, the five of us got a really beautiful gift – we were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (Maurice, Phillip, Verdine, Larry and Al).

So, that was like 1970 I think when we opened that show for them. By ’71, I flew out to LA and I’d learned both of those early albums by ear and Verdine picked me up and we went out to the house, set up my little piano, and played a couple of their songs and I played Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage”, a little jazz. As they say, the rest was history.

KG: And what a history that is, Larry. I want to get your perspective on two Earth Wind and Fire members and by the way for listeners, I did mention the names early: Andrew Woolfolk was the saxophonist, you had Al McKay on guitars. You had Maurice on drums, Verdine on bass, Ralph Johnson on drums, Larry on keyboards, Philip Bailey on vocals and percussion. Now, I’m leading to two members who left the group. One of them came back.

LD: Roland and Ronnie.

KG: Not Roland and Ronnie, yes, but okay there’s three: Roland, Ronnie, Jessica Cleaves.

LD: Oh yeah.

KG: Who came out of the Friends of Distinction, which was a mindblower because I remember getting the album of “Head to the Sky” and I’m looking and I’m like, “I know this woman”, and of course I go to my brother’s stack of records and I pick up the GRAZIN and REAL FRIENDS albums by the Friends of Distinction and I’m like, whoa! It’s Jessica! So, your perspective, first, about Roland Batista, who sadly is no longer with us.

LD: Actually, my wife and I did a lot of stuff with Roland after ’83. You know more than I do, actually. Al left the band in what? I think ’80 or something like that?

KG: 1980, Al left the group, right.

LD: Thank you for telling me about my history. Yes, then we’re like, shoot. Johnny is great with those blues solos, but we were so used to the great stroke. So, I told them, will you talk to Roland because Roland was a great player. So, we called him and he was cool. So, we brought him back in and then after that, at least after ’83, the last album that we did with the original members. It was ELECTRIC UNIVERSE, which always in my opinion, I said, “Good music it is. Earth Wind and Fire, it ain’t”. But that was the last one. But, after that, Roland and Louisa and I started doing commercials for Japan. So, we did some with him and then we did a ton after that. Like ’88 on, with just Louisa and I. Some great stuff and yeah, Roland was a great guy. He was funny and a sweetheart. It was a great loss.

KG: Absolutely.

LD: And then Jessica, I mean wow. I was just like you because in Denver, we’d be going to Colorado Springs and playing those gigs with our band and in the car, we’d have the 8-track of the Friends of Distinction album, GRAZIN, which had “Going in Circles” and “Eli’s Coming”, “Grazin’ in the Grass”. It was just nonstop. I played it nonstop. So, to find out that she’s going to be in the group with us was just amazing. We had a great relationship with her. She really enjoyed hanging out with me. I had a studio, so she came over one time and I recorded one of her songs we did together called “Valley High”, just a great, great voice.

I hadn’t heard from her in a while. I heard that she was doing some stuff a few years back with George Clinton, and it seemed like a mixed match to me, but music, there are no boundaries, no rules. I did get a great message from her, and if I could find it, I still owe her a call because we did that article for Wax Poetics with Erica Blount. She talked to everybody and she said out of everybody in the band, Jessica didn’t say anything. She just said, “Oh, please tell Larry that I said hi and send my love and have him call me if he gets a minute”.

KG: Wow. That’s great stuff. The group gets signed to Columbia Records in 1972. The first album (on Columbia) was LAST DAYS AND TIMES. The second was HEAD TO THE SKY. Now, at what point did Charles Stepney come into the picture?

LD: He was there from the get go, from LAST DAYS AND TIMES.

KG: Oh really?

LD: I think so. You’re the master when it comes to the history.

KG: Please. Well, I know that he was the associate producer of HEAD TO THE SKY (along with Maurice White and Joe Wissert), and he also worked on OPEN OUR EYES.

LD: Now, I think maybe he didn’t get the production credit, but I was pretty sure he did those horn arrangements on “Time is on Your Side” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

KG: I’ll have to check back in my notes.

LD: Check that out and let me know.

KG: Give me your perspective about working with Charles Stepney who was an excellent arranger, conductor, keyboardist, pianist, and producer. Came out of Chicago, with Maurice, out of the Chess Records studios. Worked with folks like Minnie Riperton and now working with Earth Wind and Fire. What was that like, working with Charles Stepney?

LD: Oh man, I just got goose bumps. That was my other mentor. That was my mentor. He was just a great talent. I don’t know. I’m sure you did, but a lot of people may have missed my favorite Minnie Riperton album, COME TO MY GARDEN (released in 1970 on Janus/GRT Records). I know you know. Oh my God. I have that somewhere on DAT tape. I have to see if I can find it. It was like an album of all ballads, if I remember.

KG: Her first solo album recorded that was supposed to have been released on Chess Records. It went through the Janus label, but Charles Stepney did arrange. He did produce it. Her husband, Richard Rudolph, co-wrote a lot of those songs, and the Ramsey Lewis Trio, including your former employer, Mr. White, was the rhythm section.

LD: Wow, and it was like song after song, very rarely are you going to have an album of nothing but love songs, or ballads, and not get bored, but the arrangements that he did with timpani’s and French horns. If anybody can find that, you owe it to yourself to see if you can find that. You’ll just be amazed (KG’s note – the album was reissued on CD in the USA via the Varese Sarabande label).

I remember bugging the poor man. I was just a kid, still a teenager, “Mr. Stepney!” (in a high-pitched kid’s voice). He said, “Boy….” It would just amaze me; we would get songs, we’d always get some outside writers to augment the songwriting, people like Jerry Peters, Skip Scarborough, whatever, and it amazed me. He’d sit there with a cassette and he’d be listening to it. He’d pick out the chorus and he’s write it down. How do you do that? He looked at me, he said, he always had his glasses down over, like we do now. He said, “Boy, when you get my age, you’ll be doing the same things”.

Then I asked him one time about arranging because my first production was Caldera when I was 20 and so by that time I was doing Lenny White and Diane Reeves, and different stuff. I would ask him about arranging, and he told me something very great. Also, I think, Quincy (Jones) has preached on this as well, but Stepney was the first one I heard it from. I was like, “Mr. Stepney, what do I do?” He said, “Look, when it comes to arranging, sometimes it’s more important what not to write”. I was like, “got it”. Much later, I heard Quincy Jones talking about that, about the importance of space in music. He was just amazing.

I became very close with his wife, Ruby Stepney. She told me one time, “I love you, Larry. You’re like the son we never had." As years went on, Ruby met Louisa, my wife and they became very close. We were blown away when she passed away, but I’ve got to share this quick story with you about Charles.

KG: Please!

LD: When I wrote all the music, I did the arrangement for the orchestra, but I wrote all the music for "Spirit." I was 21 the night I finished it. I was 21 years old, and it was late and there were some people buying it. They were like, this is beautiful. But, I got depressed. Most people who know me know that I’m a jokester or whatever, and I don’t usually go there. I couldn’t get it.

Three years later (in 1976), Maurice called and said. “You know that song you gave me?” I said, “I gave you a lot of songs”. He said, “No, you played it”. I said, “Oh that one”. He said, “I’m going to use that for the title track on the new album”. I was like, cool! Because, I’d given him a cassette three years prior and I guess he whipped it out and heard it and he wrote the lyrics and worked on the melody, and it worked out beautiful. Two weeks later, we were cutting the basic track at Hollywood Sound and I get a phone call that says Charles Stepney just passed away of a heart attack. He was 45.

KG: Man, 1976.

LD: It was three years later, and I tell people, see that shows you the depth of the human spirit, but also that the interference that we deal with living on this planet, that we know stuff that we don’t even know that we know because maybe we don’t take enough time for God or whatever it is, to get close enough to really beam in on those kinds of things, but that just kind of blew me away.

KG: Well, I’ve got to share this with you, Larry. One of my dear colleagues in the music business back in the 1990’s was a gentleman by the name of David Cole. David Cole was part of the C+C Music Factory with Robert Clivilles. When David passed away in 1995, at his funeral his high school music teacher played “Spirit”.

LD: Get out of here! I’m getting goose bumps again.

KG: When he announced the song, he said it was composed by Larry Dunn and Maurice White of Earth Wind and Fire, and it was the title track of their 1976 album called SPIRIT and he sat down and played it. Mind you, I know the song, many fans know the song as well, but this was the first time I’ve heard it without the lyrics, just the music, and it moved everyone at that service.

LD: Well, well, well.

KG: It did. You did well. I want to go back to an album, OPEN OUR EYES, which was cut at Caribou in Colorado. What was it like to be working out of the element of the L.A. studio (and being at) Caribou Studios, which was owned by Jim Guercio, who managed Chicago. Did it feel like you were back home, or did it feel like work?

LD: (sings)”Recording in a Winter Wonderland!” That was deep. That was so lovely. My long time buddy, Harold Lee, the saxophone player that played with us from time to time, as a kid, like going to junior high even, definitely high school. Sometimes, I would spend the night at his house. His father was something else, big brother, and he would just sit in his room and smoke his pipe or his cigar and once in a while you’d hear, “How you doing young man?” That was about it. He didn’t talk a lot. I remember every year, he would lease a brand new Cadillac and sometimes I’d spend the night over there with him.

Anyway, came into town, and we of course went by and saw my mom and family for a minute, and then Harold Lee picked me up and drove me to Caribou. We were listening to music in his car and stuff and all of a sudden we get into the mountains and it starts snowing and it was so beautiful.

Then we get to the freaking ranch! Now back then, we had hotels. We were still room-mating together. It was two per room - me and Andrew, Ralph and Al, Verdine and Johnny. Not even singles. (At the Caribou Ranch) everybody had their own cabin. It had color TVs in it. It had rugs and gold frame beds and then had a mess hall. The mess hall was a big old beautiful, everything made out of wood. They had a chef; we called him Mama. It was this tall white guy. He was so cool, and this boy could cook his booty off, and you could go to the mess hall any time you wanted. It was 24/7 basically. Just tell him what you wanted to eat, and he would cook it.

Then the studio was just beautiful. I remember Maurice called me in as said, “Hey man, we’re ready for you”. I came down to do mine, they had already cut the basic track and it was time for me to do that Moog (synthesizer) solo on “Feeling Blue”. Oh my god, for lack of a better word, it was magic. Charles worked with me, getting that sound on the Moog. The Moog is my baby. He got that sound in one take! I said, “I can do it again”. I did it again, and he was like no, no, you’re done. That’s the problem with musicians sometimes. Really good players, great players, you are trying to imitate yourself. Why do that when you already got it. I said, “Okay, cool!” I went back to my cabin and enjoyed the night.

KG: Well, you mentioned “Feeling Blue”. That is one of two of my favorite songs off that album. That and the instrumental called “Caribou”. Those two just uplift me and two great songs off that album other than the hit song “Mighty Mighty”, which was the group’s first Top 40 pop record.

LD: Yeah, I got a bone to pick with the DJs on that one.

KG: Okay, talk to me.

LD: I remember talking to Maurice, and he was not happy. I was like, what’s up? A lot of the DJs around the country, and unfortunately race always play an issue and I tell people it’s not going to change, not on the level we would like. I grew up being half Italian, half black; it was a great thing for me because I got a chance to see both sides and realize first of all, hatred is stupid because it drains you. So, to hate any one is just futile especially over something as stupid as skin color. No one had a choice in that. I tell people, if you check out throughout history, what is the only thing that has changed throughout history? People think about it. The answer is very simple - technology. That’s the only thing that’s really changed. The heart of man remains the same from Kane and Abel, the first murder.

So, the deal was a lot of people, DJs, (radio broadcasting) companies, they kind of spaced on “Mighty Mighty” because it had lyrics “We are people, people of the mighty, mighty people of the sun.” So, Maurice was livid, as livid as I after I heard about this, he said, “They’re refusing to play it because they assumed we were talking about black people”. Maurice said, “The last time I checked, the sun shines on everybody”.

KG: Right!

LD: Absolutely, it wasn’t coming from a place my people, or this people. It was just people. We are people. I guess people who know Earth Wind and Fire later, and people who know now, they know oh, we missed that because we know Earth Wind and Fire. Like I said, people have asked me, what’s Earth Wind and Fire’s theme? I said Earth Wind and Fire’s main theme is plain and simple. People try to take it deeper than what it really is, but the main premise is what it has been and what it still is: Wherever you are at in life -raise. End of story. If you’re a billionaire, whatever, still, there’s something that you need to get together. If you’re a single parent, no matter who you are, try to get better. That’s plain and simple.

KG: Absolutely. I got to say this though, Larry, the first time I ever heard the song in a pop setting was when Dick Clark played it on American Bandstand in 1974. This is not a criticism of the radio stations I grew up listening to because they were diverse and they did play the record on what we call in the broadcast business “medium rotation”, but the first time I ever heard the song in a pop music setting was when Dick Clark launched that song as the first track on a segment of American Bandstand in the summer of ’74.

LD: Wow. I was on the road constantly, so I missed that.

KG: Well, I’ve got to say, OPEN OUR EYES, I believe was also the group’s very first gold album.

LD: Yes indeed! It sure was.

KG: And 1975, THAT’S THE WAY OF THE WORLD. The movie and the music. As Maurice said that the movie opened and closed in a week. I did see the film, but the music. Let’s talk about two songs that you co-wrote, “All About Love”.

LD: Wow. Yeah, Maurice had that little cadence on the piano. You don’t mind if I play something do you?

KG: Go right ahead.

LD: That’s right, you have editing capabilities.

KG: It’s all good. As they say in broadcast, this is the long form version of the interview.

LD: The thing that has changed, which is good, is technology.

[Larry plays the opening cadence of “All About Love” on his Fender Rhoades electric piano]

LD: Maurice had that little cadence, and then we discussed, we kept working it out. Then, I did all the chords for the bridge and for the outro and he wrote those beautiful lyrics. We cut the basic track, which a lot of people don’t know what that is. It’s just the rhythm section, bass guitar and drums, keyboards. We'd sit in there like 3, 4, 6 hours until you get that magic where it just feels right and grooves and all that. I said, that’s your cake. Get your cake out of the oven, and then you start putting the frosting on it, which is all the different over dubs, more keyboards, additional guitars, any orchestra, the background vocals, lead vocals. It’s a wonderful process.

KG: I’ll tell ya, you playing that on the piano there. You just sent chills up and down my back. I’m like, wow.

LD: Thank you.

KG: You’re very welcome.

(Part Two of the Larry Dunn 2012 SoulMusic.com Interview coming up soon!)


About the Writer
Kevin Goins aka “The Soul Ninja” is a veteran of the radio and recording industries, has authored liner notes for CD collections by Earth Wind & Fire, Melba Moore and Stacy Lattisaw. He's also the producer/host of the Internet radio interview series "Soulful Conversations" as well as a classic R&B show "The Kevin Goins Soul Experience".
  
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