Sun. Dec. 05, 2021

D-Train – The Shadow Of Your Smile (Prelude)

Classics: D-Train – The Shadow Of Your Smile (Prelude Records)

‘The Shadow Of Your Smile’… No doubt as to how this song speaks to many different generations. A classic penned by the likes of John Alfred Mandel and Paul Francis Webster… It first appeared in the 1965 film ‘The Sandpiper’. Most likely immortalized by a trumpet solo courtesy of Jack Sheldon. With countless celebrities covering it along with time. From Barbra Streisand to Johnny Matthis. But also Sarah Vaughan to name but a few. If not Tony Bennett for whom it became a minor hit back by the end of 1965 despite a one of a kind interpretation.

Singer James Williams along with producer Hubert Eaves III would add their names to the list back in 1981. And, in the meantime, their instantly identifiable sound to it. This with the contribution of François Kevorkian, in charge of the mixing duties. Therefore bringin’ ‘The Shadow Of Your Smile’ to unsuspected territories…

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A native of Brooklyn, NYC, James Williams started singin’ by the early age of 3. Building up his early experience at church, he’s remembered as a brilliant member of the Erasmus High School Choral Club. By 1979, he eventually got given his D-Train nickname. Soon after joinin’ forces with High School pal Hubert Eaves. The latter, a drummer and bass player who’d worked as a member of Mtume. But also produced the highly sought after ‘Step Out Of My Dream’ for The Strangers.

‘You’re The One For Me’, their debut-single, saw the light back in 1981. It became an instant success, toppin’ the Hot Dance Club Play chart, meanwhile establishin’ a signature sound. The album of the likes followed the year after, bringin’ extra gems such as ‘Keep On’ and a brilliant cover version of the classic ‘Walk On By’. Meanwhile their second album – ‘Music’ – opened itself on the boiling hot ‘Keep Giving Me Love’. With its title track almost equalling the success of ‘You’re The One For Me’. And it featured another cover version by the likes of ‘The Shadow Of Your Smile’ which Williams and Eaves pretty much turned into another dimension.

‘Something’s On Your Mind’, their third and final album as a twosome, saw them exploring new horizons. Such as its title cut on a vibrant Boogie vein which the late Miles Davis eventually covered the year after. And elsewhere, the infectious ‘Hustle And Bustle Of The City’, but also ‘I’ll Do Anything’ would certainly have deserved a better recognition.

D-Train as such was over. But this didn’t get the twosome from keepin’ on collaborating together. Such as on the ‘Miracles Of The Heart’ album which marked Williams‘ debut as a solo artist back in 1986 on Columbia. An effort that featured the quite worth the listen ‘You Are Everything’ and the killer ‘Misunderstanding’. Its follow up, ‘In Your Eyes’, bringin’ the singer to sort of sharper territories in an ever evolving R&B scene. This with firing gems such as its title cut and ‘With All My Heart’.

Williams eventually sang backing vocals on Patti Austin‘s ‘Through The Test Of Time’ back in 1990. And he eventually did the same 9 years later on Michael McDonald‘s ‘Eyes Of A Child’. He also came to flirt with House vibes with producers such as David Morales, Bob Sinclar and Ben Liebrand. And he also happened to collaborate with Lenny Fontana. This on the explosive ‘When You Feel What Love Has’ which we welcomed on these shores back in 2016…

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