Tue. Oct. 19, 2021

Billy Frazier and Friends – Billy Who?

Most Wanted! Billy Frazier & Friends – Billy Who? (Biljuma Records)

No matter what, being exposed to the right music was pretty much like a lottery back in the day… As a matter of fact, it depended on so many different factors at the end. From the media you could have access to (radio stations, magazines, record shops) back then. But even more your own background, itself depending on the place you’d be livin’ in.

It is to say as to how, for those of us livin’ outside America and UK, things therefore happened be way harder to get the right info. And even more to get it at the right time… And I’m not even speaking of pieces of music which saw the light on limited editions such as the ones on indie labels.

Hopefully, on a personal level, I happened to make friend with a Parisian salesman whose sister, based in the Big Apple, used to update us on a weekly base. And for that, she would record the late Frankie Crocker‘s famous shows on WBLS. This being how I got my hands on countless pieces of music. As many goodies which, almost 40 years after, count among the most sought after gems on the second hand market! The obscure Billy Frazier, sitting on a couple of releases, makin’ no exception…

On some modern Disco/Boogie tip, ‘Billy Who?’ has that little (although essential) thing which makes it unforgettable and still appealing nowadays. Its ingredients? An obvious sensuality ‘alla’ Donna Summer on a jazzy/funk groove with lush key arrangements and plaintive strings. A sound, somehow at the crossroad between Soul II Soul melodies and the Def Mix (David Morales and Frankie Knuckles) arrangements. The latter eventually including it on his volume of ‘Choice – a collection of classics’ on Azuli back in 2000!

What’s the value of your vinyl record?

As one might guess in such a situation, very few infos can be found about Billy Frazier. Nevertheless, I managed to find little traces of the man from a deeper look at my archives.
Born in the Big Apple, he went on to collaborate with a bunch of local groups, beginning with The King Davis House Rockers which gave birth to B.T. Express. Apart from ‘Billy Who?’, he also happened to release ‘The Mind Blower’ on the same label, which I saw changing hands a couple of times for a US$ 650 +!!!

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