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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Al Downing - I'll Be Holding On

Al Downing was born on January 9, 1940 in Cetralia, Oklahoma. Exposed to both R&B and country music as a boy, he taught himself piano on an instrument he found on a rubbish dump. in 1940. In 1958 he took the unusual step, for the time, by joining a whit group called "The Rhythm Rockers", led by Bobby Brant. After changing their name to "The Poe Kats", which also featured country great Buck Owens, they recorded a regionally successful hit called "Down on the Farm"

Just after they recoded that song, the group was signed to sing backup for Wanda Jackson, for whom they played during most of 1958. Some of the songs they appeared on were "Let's Have A Party", "Right Or Wrong" and "In The Middle Of A Heartache".

While Downing enjoyed moderate success with his recording of the Marty Robbins song, "Story Of My Life", his early recording contracts did little for his career. Finally, in 1974, he had his first big hit with the club classic "I'll Be Holding On" which made it to the R&B Chart and disco chart.

Billboard listed the source for this song as the 45 single which also happens to be the "DISCO VERSION" Unique for it's time, since it ran over 5 minutes, today's post has an insistent guitar hook that had clubbers cutting the rug and made this a northern soul favorite. One thing to note is that the single lists the time of this song at 5:35 but actually runs for :13 longer at 5:48. It is also the first and last time he appeared on the Dance Chart.

Taken from the original 7" single on Chess 2158
I'll Be Holding On (Disco Version) - 5:48
Song charted on November 16, 1974. Spent 21 weeks on the chart and reaching #1


Archie said...

I have the 45 in excellent condition for sale for $5.00 US on the Chess label made in England

Anonymous said...

Please, re-post this wonderful song.

DJ Oak

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a time we all grooved to at the North Beach warehouse Disco in San Francisco, Back in the day with the wooden dance floors, The Cabaret was the spot to be at, dancing along..