2016 continues to be a helluva year for claiming great singers. As I write this Sunday night, the latest is Billy Paul.
I realize that just because I like this man’s voice, it doesn’t put him in the category of losing a Prince or David Bowie, but hear me out.
Has anyone ever sung a song to such perfection as Billy Paul’s 1972 #1 pop and R&B hit, “Me And Mrs. Jones”? Think about it: you have a song written by the Philly soul maestros Gamble and Huff, which has been covered over the decades by everyone from Johnny Mathis to Michael Buble, and the Dramatics, Hall and Oates, Amii Stewart and Freddie Jackson to name a few more. Sampled by Mary J. Blige, Coolio and others.
But it only sounds right when Billy Paul sings it. Only he sounds like he’s going to die if they don’t “meet everyday at the same cafe/6:30 and no one knows she’ll be there.”
Only he makes us wonder who he is, since the song focuses so much on her.
This song has a thing going on.