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Issue 1089

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Review

That's The Way God Planned it: Billy Preston (Apple/EMI)

Billy Preston: That's The Way God Planned It (Apple/EMI)

 

6.1

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UK release date 25.10.2010

I first met Billy when he came to London with Syreeta in 1979 to promote 'With You I’m Born Again', released by Motown. It was the greatest pleasure for me of course and it was also the saddest moment when he died in June 2006.

However, as you know, Billy’s work at Motown was just the tip of a very exciting iceberg because this child prodigy was born to play and sing from the moment he was born. And as he grew, his musical heritage became the envy of others. Anyway, he met The Beatles to perform on their 'Get Back' single and 'Let It Be' album, made a huge impression, causing Paul McCartney to say – “Billy was brilliant. A little young whiz kid.” It was, I suppose, expected that Billy would record for the group’s Apple record company: the fact that he was already signed to Capitol Records wasn’t a stumbling block.

The result was 'That’s The Way God Planned It'. With George Harrison as head producer, and with names like Keith Richards, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Madeline Bell and Doris Troy adding their oh so distinctive talents, the album was a huge musical success. The title track was lifted as a single to hit number 11 here in 1969, and really elevated Billy into the mainstream record market, bringing to the fore his remarkable pedigree.

'Everything’s Alright' followed, while the international anthem 'Let Us All Get Together Right Now' and his personally triumphant 'This Is It' sit easily with his powerful performances on 'Do What You Want' and 'It Doesn’t Matter'. With bonus tracks that include 'Through All Times' and an alternative version of 'That’s The Way God Planned It', this is an extremely worthy release; reminding us of Billy’s enormous and irreplaceable contribution to music.

“Everything that’s happened to me has been the way God planned it because I never auditioned” he once said. “I never worked any other job but music and people would call me to work with them. I never begged or asked, and I feel it was a blessing. And this is the way God planned it.”
Words SHARON DAVIS

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