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Saturday, April 8, 2017

G is for Dobie Gray

Lines of Inspiration
 Melodious expressions, Enduring Truisms

Dobie Gray

“When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me…”

Song Title: Drift Away

Songwriter:  Mentor R. Williams

Singer:  Dobie Gray

For a guy who was born somewhere near Houston, Texas, had upwards of three AKA names, and whose birth name was most likely Lawrence Darrow Brown, this son of humble sharecroppers sure made quite the name for himself ;-)  Beginning with Gospel, his smooth and soothing voice flawlessly flowed throughout Soul, R&B, Country (“From Where I Stand”), Pop (“The ‘In’ Crowd”), and theater musicals. Dobie Gray worked just about every music scene; associating with such mentors as Sonny Bono, Max Bear (Jethro, from the Beverly Hillbillies), and Paul and Mentor Williams -  in addition to his 2 ½ year acting stint in the Las Angeles production of “Hair”, before becoming a record producer.  Oh! And in his free time, Dobie Gray did quite a bit of songwriting as well; for the likes of Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis and Charley Pride.

But I digress. What I’m sharing today is Dobie Grays’ signature single “Drift Away”, which sold over a million copies; earning a Gold Disc by the RIAA before rekindling the hit song some thirty years later with Uncle Kracker ;-)

So, how about that line? Does it call to mind a memory? Instill a sense of wonder? Are you familiar with Dobie Gray or Mentor Williams?

There’s a whole lotta blogging going on right here!

Have a great weekend!


  1. Hi, diedre!

    I am very happy that you selected Dobie Gray as your G topic. I have vivid memories of the cold, snowy winter weeks at the start of 1965 when Dobie's first hit single "The "In" Crowd" was climbing the chart and being played in heavy rotation on my local top 40 radio station. I was 15, the ideal age to get turned on by the record's groovy go-go dance beat and the song's message, the idea that there exists an elite group, the "in" crowd, the cool people who know all the hot places to go, dance the latest dances and command respect from the people they meet. "The "In" Crowd" excited me more than any other record released during those first few weeks of 1965. It planted a seed in my mind, the suggestion that I too could be part of the "in" crowd someday. A few months later I acted upon the song's message and joined the "in" crowd at the Shady Dell.

    Waxing on the tiny Charger Records label, Dobie Gray found little success with his other 60s recordings. However, Dobie became a hot artist in the UK thanks to the Northern Soul movement. "The "In" Crowd" along with other go-go style dance songs like "See You at the "Go-Go" and "Out On the Floor" were popular plays on the Northern Soul club circuit throughout England. All three dancers can be found on Dobie's 1965 album Dobie Gray Sings for 'In' Crowders That Go 'Go Go'.

    I wasn't aware that Dobie Gray died five years ago at the relatively young age of 71. "Drift Away" might have been his biggest hit, his signature song and the one for which he is remembered but, for me, "The "In" Crowd" was Dobie's best - one of the most exciting records of my lifetime.

    Thank you, dear friend diedre, and have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Hi Shady!
      Somehow I've never heard Dobie's rendition of 'In Crowd' and always thought it was performed by only The Ramsey Lewis Trio. Popular in the UK? I'm glad to know someone appreciated him as much as I did ;-)

  2. "Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
    I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away"

    Story of my life! ☺ Thanks for the bio of Dobie Gray. I had no idea who he was but I sure loved the lyrics to that song. One of my favourite rock stars, John Kay did a cover of it as well. Paul Williams had a brother named Mentor? I didn't know that either. Lots of interesting info in this post, diedre. Thanks!

    1. Hi Debbie!
      I loved the song all the more when my great-grandma's tapping toe gave license to playing the song over and over again ;- )

  3. I've heard of neither of them unfortunately, which is surprising since I was involved in the London disco scene in the late 60's. Either that or I've forgotten!

    Have a stroll on The Green, Amble Bay

    1. Hi Keith!
      Yeah, maybe the song was a bit soulful for disco ;-)

  4. Hi Diedre - what a way he had of re-creating himself ... I know a few of the songs you mention ... Drift Away and The In Crowd ... he certainly left his mark for us - cheers Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary!
      Yes, "Drift Away" is one of those soothing songs that easily stays like favorite memory ;-)

  5. Dobie Gray had such a great voice and did some fine songs. I had a greatest hits cassette of his music and enjoyed it greatly. "Drift Away" is such a classic that I still enjoy hearing when it comes on the radio.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. Hi Arlee!
      He had the perfect voice for the song, I think. He had a greatest hits cassette? The things I miss sometimes...

  6. Drift Away is one of my all time fav songs! I will crank it wide open. The guitar coming through to soothe me.
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead


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