Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Feature

ALI OLLIE WOODSON (1951 – 2010) BLUES & SOUL’ CLASSIC INTERVIEW DEC 2001

ALI OLLIE WOODSON (RIP) @bluesandsoul.com
ALI OLLIE WOODSON (RIP) @bluesandsoul.com The Temptations @bluesandsoul.com The Temptations @bluesandsoul.com The Temptations @bluesandsoul.com

Following the sad death of former Temptation Ali Ollie Woodson on May 30 after a long battle with leukaemia, Pete Lewis recalls interviewing him around the release of his debut solo album ‘Right Here All Long’ in December 2001…

… Having been a member of The Temptations for 13 years (1983-1986, during which time he wrote and sang lead on the group’s classic transatlantic hit ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’), Ali Ollie Woodson has already carved out his own niche in soul music history. In turn making the recent release through respected London indie Expansion of his long-overdue debut solo album ‘Right Here All Along’ a significant event in the soul traditionalists’ calendar. Blending as it does Ollie’s rasping, soul-drenched tenor with production input from the likes of former Earth, Wind & Fire member Al McKay, and one-time Aretha Franklin/Whitney Houston collaborator Preston Glass.

“I’d been approached to do a solo album for the longest time. So this release didn’t just come totally outta the blue”, begins a jet-lagged, leather jacketed Ollie relaxing in the lounge of his Swiss Cottage hotel: “The whole time I was with The Temptations I was accumulating my own solo recordings. And this album has finally given me the chance to sing the type of SONGS I like in the STYLE I like. As opposed to being with The Temps, when I was basically stepping into someone else’s shoes and we had to carry on a tradition.”

So how does Detroit-born Ollie look now look back on his time with the world’s biggest-ever male soul vocal group? “It had its ups and downs, but overall it was a great experience. You know, being as it was one of my dreams to sing with one of the world’s greatest groups, for me to join The Temptations was a great blessing. I mean, it’s thanks to my run with The Temps that I’m able to live the lifestyle that I live today and have the recognition from the public that I now have.”

So what prompted him to leave, and is there any chance of a reunion? “Well, 13 years with the group took its toll. You know, we recorded a lot of good albums yet Motown constantly seemed to miss out on making them as big as they should have been. So after a while I guess I got tired of it and felt maybe it was time to break away and do my solo thing. And as for a reunion, who knows what the future holds? Otis Williams (Temptations leader) and I still talk. So, while I do wanna maintain my solo career, l anything’s possible!”

Ollie’s album ‘Right Here All Along’ was released through Expansion Records in November 2001

Ali Ollie Woodson died in Southern California aged 58 on May 30, 2010 after battling leukaemia for nearly 18 months. ‘Blues & Soul’ sends its sincerest condolences to his family and friends
Words PETE LEWIS

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