Memphis, TN – Memphis soul original, and Hi Records hit man, Don Bryant, has announced his return to music with Don’t Give Up On Love. The album is set for release on May 12th via Fat Possum Records. Recorded in honor of his wife of 43 years, soul legend Ann Peebles, the collection is Bryant’s first release in decades.
On Don’t Give Up On Love, Bryant is joined by multiple generations of Memphis studio luminaries, including Hi Rhythm Section members Charles Hodges (organ), Archie “Hubbie” Turner (keyboard), and Howard Grimes (drums). Joe Restivo (guitar), and Scott Bomar (bass), join Marc Franklin and Art Edmaiston, both of the Gregg Allman Band, who contributed horns. The album was produced by Scott Bomar and Bruce Watson and tracked by Adam Hill at Bomar’s Electraphonic Recording studio in Memphis.
From the opening vamps of the classic “A Nickel And A Nail,” it’s evident that Bryant, at 74 years old, is in prime fighting shape and as versatile a performer as ever. He is sensual and expressive on “It Was Jealousy,” swaggering and suave on “One Ain’t Enough,” and swept up by the grandeur of the Almighty on “How Do I Get There?”. These ten songs, including seven Bryant-penned originals, show a soul survivor in action, exhibiting the kind of sharp vocal acumen that can only be honed by years spent on the road and in the studio.
With an intrepid musical style informed by his church upbringing, Bryant first found success with his vocal group the Four Kings. After that group split, he was taken under the wing of Hi Records icon, Willie Mitchell. Bryant started off singing lead for Mitchell’s live band, but soon found himself releasing a full length album on Hi and writing songs for the likes of Solomon Burke, Albert King, Etta James and many more.
Bryant’s biggest hits came when, in 1970, he was linked up with Hi Records artist Ann Peebles. The two penned the classic, “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” and many others before marrying in 1974. They toured together regularly for decades and are married to this day. Following a stroke in 2012, Peebles retired from performing and Don found himself at home for the first extended period in many years. This afforded him the time to return to the studio and commence the sessions that would become Don’t Give Up On Love.
The album contains 10 tracks, and Bryant will be announcing tour dates later this year.
The video for a new track, “How Do I Get There?” was shot in Clayborn Temple, the historic Memphis church that served as the city’s staging ground during the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke there, and striking sanitation workers organized at the church for their historic march in 1968. The iconic “I Am a Man” signs that became a symbol of the march and the Movement were printed in the church’s basement.