Country's loss was pop music's gain. Lawrence's 1969 "pop"
hit, "Jesus is a Soul Man" sold over a million copies and was covered by many
popular music genres. It was also the inspiration for the hit musical, "Jesus Christ,
Super Star". That song brought a good deal of recognition to Lawrence and he was a
guest on several TV shows; "The Tonight Show," the "Johnny Cash Show,"
the "Dick Cavett Show" and "American Bandstand" in addition to his
being a featured artist at the "Grand Ole Opry."
His next biggest hit was with his self-penned, "If God Is Dead
(What's This Living In My Heart)", which was recorded by both Kitty Wells and Loretta
Lynn. It's been said that "both of these songs were crossovers; pop in nature"
but I heard a small clip of "Jesus Is A Soul Man" and you can't deny Reynolds'
country tone/accent in the song. Lawrence's heart and soul were deep in his roots of
Country Music and no matter what success he had in the pop culture, he was country through
He had very few strong influences but Hank Williams was his
strongest (as revealed in his song, "Them Old Hank Williams Songs") followed by
Elvis Presley and George Jones (song: "Haggard and Jones"). Lawrence's baritone
timbre and style are equal to that of Waylon Jennings but let there be no mistake;
Lawrence was clearly comfortable with his own voice and did not mimic his mentors but the
influence is heard and felt... especially Hank's influence... it was as though they shared
a tortured soul and it is easily heard in many of these songs.
"He Came From Alabama" is the only album I have found
available (other than compilation albums of various artists) but it is filled with sixteen
(16) original Lawrence Reynolds songs. This album is not only a must for any country music
fan's collection, it is a keepsake; a memorial to true traditional/classic country music
as well as a memorial to the man himself. Each song could have - No, SHOULD have
been a hit. In my mind's eye I can see Lawrence as a part of the "Outlaws". His
music has the cry of a heavy heart, sung the way only HE would know how... portraying his
feelings into words and music. One can only pray that he is now seated among his peers,
his pain at ease as he, Hank, Waylon and so many others that have passed on gather in that
circle that could never be broken.
Yes, that's right... Lawrence Reynolds, the creator of over 2000
songs throughout his lifetime is gone. He died of coronary artery disease August 15, 2000
and was buried at Three Forks Baptist Church in Bigbee, Alabama.
The only man with enough vision to produce
this album was Mike Headrick of "Country Discovery Records" and I thank God for
giving Mike the gift of knowing true country talent and the good sense to record it,
preserving it for those of us who know and appreciate such talent.
The only place that you can purchase Lawrence Reynolds's, "He
Came From Alabama" is at "Country Discovery Records" website. It is sold at
what I consider to be a bargain price for a production of sixteen songs; each of them a
treasure that will give you a lifetime of pleasure.
I had only heard the clip of "Survivor" on "Country
Discovery Records'" website and I knew I had to have this album. Thank you, Mike, on
behalf of all country enthusiasts everywhere for introducing me to to the late, great
Lawrence Reynolds through his music... and thank you for allowing me to share it with the
Rest well, Lawrence. You are indeed a star on MKOC.
It was very difficult for me to decide which songs to use for sample
clips as each and every song deserves recognition. Then I decided, if I could judge this
artist with one song clip, y'all are getting a real treat here so I broke it down to nine
(9) out of the sixteen (16) songs are here for your listening pleasure.