REVIEW: David Clayton-Thomas SOUL BALLADS with Bobby Hebb’s SUNNY


Soul Ballads is this writer’s favorite David Clayton-Thomas recording to date, a seasoned performer tenderly caressing the songs that helped shape his style and approach.

Opening with Midnight Train to Georgia, when you hear “L.A.” those two letters sound exactly like the voice of Kenny Rogers, then dipping back to traditional DC-T. However the song cries out for some Pips, backing vocalists to embrace the singer’s approach from a male’s point of view, the girl he loves abandoning her dreams to be a star -and her car – and coming home.

Producer Lou Pomanti – 80’s keyboardist for Blood, Sweat and Tears, builds the drama around his friend’s authoritative vocal, but the Gladys Knight rendition of the Jim Weatherly song is so entrenched in the minds of fans, we need to hear those voicings in response!

Taking on Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” treads on sacred ground, and Clayton-Thomas does a fine job of reworking the material to bring it to a new generation. Heck, when Rod Stewart gave us his superb “Twisting The Night Away” it was only a decade or so after the Cooke hit, yet back then it seemed like a millennium. Nowadays, with more than five decades having passed and new generations listening to their parents’ and grandparents’ music, these striking melodies live again in this responsible – and devoted – embrace of the infinitely compelling composition. Thematically its very much like Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die,” so perhaps the singer is giving his audience a different spin on borderline existentialism.

The exclamation point is prooducer/arranger Pomanti bringing his swirling keyboards into the album mix, with crystal clear engineering from Jeff Wolpert, recordings tracked at Kick Audio and Desert Fish, Inc. in Toronto, Canada. On the remake of Curtis Mayfield and the Impression’s “People Get Ready” we do get the stirring gospel backing vocals, the feeling straight out of “God Bless the Child” which, of course, David Clayton-Thomas performed without backing support on the 2nd B S & T disc.

“If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ is just perfect for this singer, he gives a reading alongside the strong accompaniment – which sounds like his own voice with others – Rique Franks, Karen LeBlanc and Gavin Hope. On an album where every track is a delight, it is a highlight.

So is Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” as performed here. It’s superb, a dangling piano arrangement with deep strings, what Sinatra may have wanted to do as a second version after his own tremendous take on the classic along with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The musicianship is introspective, pairing the songs jazz leanings (it was actually hijacked – in a good way – by the jazz community, the song launching from the pop, country and r & b genres) with its other life as a standard, balancing a nouveau middle-of-the-road with the exquisite production work. The gorgeous strings on this “Sunny” somewhat reflect Nelson Riddle’s work with Johnny Mathis – the I’ll Buy You a Star album- and Linda Ronstadt, so don’t expect the loud brass of Blood, Sweat and Tears to launch out from the speakers. David tilts towards that with “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” again dipping into Kenny Rogers’ bag more than what we’ve heard from Clayton-Thomas over his own numerous albums.

“Dock of the Bay” makes it an Otis Redding two-fer, and it is an interesting juxtaposition as we get two different perspectives on Redding compositions. “Dock of the Bay” marches along very nicely, less a ballad on Soul Ballads and more dance/pop, though a lively-to-slow dance. “When Something Is Wrong with My Baby” and the aforementioned “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” are both tour-de-force here, the singer matching the piano with vocal elements that take the performance to another level. A standout. And then there’s the take on one of the all-time great pop/country tunes, Ray Charles’ chestnut from writers Cindy Walker and Eddy Arnold – “You Don’t Know Me.” The Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music evolve into three minutes and twenty-one seconds of jazz/pop, no swelling voices behind the singer, and that works to Soul Ballads’ advantage. What this group of talents does with Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got a Hold On Me” is almost Modern Sounds in Rhythm and Blues Music, a panther-like walk through the Miracles’ classic, almost in the same style as the version of “Dock of the Bay” here but swerving into its own unique form.

It’s a terrific outing from the veteran whose voice is on albums and cds in millions and millions of homes. 12 tracks over forty-six minutes and all in the pocket, respectful arrangements of classic music, holding up to repeated spins.

Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for,, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.

Sunny #1 in the Top 10 Songs on TV show SCANDAL

10 Times Scandal

played the right song at the right moment!

Yes, the performances and crazy storylines are great, but the soundtrack always sets the perfect tone.

Posted: April 9 2015 3:00 AM
SUNNY – 10 times the TV show SCANDAL played the right song.
The first one is Bobby Hebb’s SUNNY
Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope

In addition to monologues, mistresses and murder, Scandal’s stellar ability to pair a scene with the perfect song is also one of the show’s trademarks. Scandal’s DJs know that, much like the concept behind pairing certain foods with particular wines, pairing an excellent scene with just the right song will significantly enhance your viewing experience. As we near the end of season 4, let’s take a look back at some of its best scene-song pairings:
Episode 1: “Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia”

Bryan Adams, David Clayton Thomas, Laurence Juber, “Sunny” performed by Pablo Novoa along with Italian violinist Sebastiano Frattini

Another great month for “Sunny” after Bryan Adams has released the song, and with “Sunny” by Ayo in the Mark Whalberg film The Gambler, three great new renditions:

Bryan Adams “SUNNY” from his CD “Tracks of My Years”


David Clayton Thomas “SUNNY”
“Sunny” on the CD Soul Ballads by David Clayton Thomas is as lush as anything off of Frank Sinatra and/or Linda Ronstadt’s Nelson Riddle albums.  As much piano cabaret as it is elegant standard with symphonic strings, this is Clayton-Thomas mature and without the tough angst of his over-the-top hits with Blood, Sweat and Tears.  Where Brenda Holloway, singer and co-writer of “You Made Me So Very Happy” approached her tune with tenderness, Clayton-Thomas belted the declaration of pure joy (a la Bobby Hebb’s own “Love You” with the same exact theme,) with a sledgehammer. Here, the singer that launched Blood, Sweat and Tears second album into the stratosphere gives the Holloway approach to Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny.”  It’s superb and shows that Clayton-Thomas is still a force to be reckoned with.



Pablo Novoa along with Italian violinist Sebastiano Frattini…/2015-03/f-sf-ars032315.php#

Making concerts possible with musicians separated by vast distances with minimal latency — delay between a musical performance and listening or recording — is the…
Laurence Juber also tracked “Sunny”
Laurence was guitarist for Paul McCartney and Wings.
Here he is performing Strawberry Fields Forever

Laurence Juber  Fingerboard Row

50th Anniversary of the publishing of “Sunny”

50th anniversary

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Buzzy Linhart to talk about “Sunny” on WBAI FM Radio tonight 10:30 PM Pacific time



Check out for the start of our
50th Anniversary Celebration
RARE MIEKO HIORTA SUNNY ‘LIVE”  (circa 1974, though Mieko’s studio version was in the 1960s)

VISUAL RADIO Director Jay LaFond heard “Sunny” in  grocery chain Market Basket in Haverhill, MA on December 29, 2014. We love when radio and supermarkets and the known universe plays “Sunny”

In 1965 Bobby Hebb, bassist Ben Tucker and  drummer Bernard “Pretty Purdie” cut the original version of “Sunny” which led to releases by David Pike on the Atco album Jazz for the Jet Set as well as Mieko “Miko” Hirota, the “Connie Francis of Japan.”  

Today we begin a 2 year campaign of 50th Anniversaries …

2015  The 50th Anniversary of the publishing of the song “Sunny”

2016 The 50th Anniversary of Bobby Hebb’s 1966 hit record, “Sunny” on Philips Records

731 days of fun starting today.

365 days in 2015

366 days in 2016, a leap year with February 29
from Mieko, after 1974, though she recorded her studio
version in the 1960s
Columbia Records 

Mieko Hirota Ahh! Soul with SUNNY LIVE

Vinyl album above

CD below

Lost 60’s articles on Bobby Hebb


There’s a terrific website, which has a plethora of magazine covers and articles from the era.

Here’s a page from the RECORD MIRROR, OCTOBER 1, 1966


SONNY BONO on “SUNNY” the song.
SONNY (Bono) had quite a lot to say about the  “Sunny” controversy. When I spoke to him over the transatlantic ‘phone, he was very anxious to clear up any points about making a ‘cover’ version of the Bobby Hebb song for his wife Cher.
“Originally the track was a cut off Cher’s new LP” said Sonny. “Now, Bobby Hebb’s record was issued a couple of months ago in Britain and it didn’t mean a thing. I thought that it was a dead record, and the single by Cher was put out. Then, about three weeks ago Bobby’s record started to happen. “I don’t like making cover records. I never intended this to be a cover record and I hope that Bobby’s record gets the success it deserves. I hope that the British record buyers will buy what they wanna buy, you know. I hear there’s another version of “Sunny” — by Georgie Fame?”
Sonny and Cher arrived home in the States last Wednesday after a tour of Britain and Europe and found themselves up to their necks in work. But their film has finally been finished and there’s an album of soundtrack numbers coming from it. “Actually, the record company wants me to put out a Sonny & Cher album before the  film track. You know, the record companies are always getting on to you for material. But I don’t know if I can do it for them. It’s a lot of physical labour and I’m not putting out an LP just for the sake of it. If I feel there’s something worthwhile to put out then I’ll do it.”
The film is likely to be issued in Eng-land and Europe before it gets American release, and the odds are that Sonny & Cher will come over here to promote it. It will be any time after November — Sonny expects to return about the beginning of January. Sonny talked about “Little Man” which is now a hit in the States after a late re-lease date.
“It’s a fun record. It’s something different. I feel good about it doing well. And I was pleased about the British studio that we used to finish it off in. It’s like the studio I use at home. That’s an old sort of studio but really funky. I don’t like these new studios very much. “The reason why we recorded “Sunny” in the first place, for Cher’s LP, was because it expresses a relationship — it’s a fine song but I never thought it’d be out anywhere as a single.” NORMAN JOPLING
Sunny / She’s No Better Than MeLiberty LIB 12038 – 1966
Cher, Sunny - Red Vinyl Test Pressing, Japanese, Deleted, 7" vinyl single (7 inch record), Liberty, LR-1980, 462558

Artist: Cher  (View 278 More)
Label:   Liberty  (View 259 More)
Country: Netherlands
Catalogue: LIB 12037
Date: Sep 1966
Format: 7″
Collection:   I Own It     I Want It 
Community: 7 Own
» Search on eBay  » Search on Amazon



watch YouTube video here

Use cursor keys to browse << previous and next >>

next >>

Life of Crime with Jennifer Aniston – SUNNY on the soundtrack


Commentary on LIFE OF CRIME coming soon, along with video

Life of Crime (2013) – IMDb

Internet Movie Database
Rating: 5.8/10 – ‎3,670 votes

With Jennifer Aniston, Mos Def, Isla Fisher, Will Forte. Two common criminals get more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a corrupt real-estate …


Here’s the trailer to Life of Crime



Have you seen our wonderful collection of “Sunny” videos on YouTube?

“SUNNY” on Ray Donovan August 31, 2014 Season 2, Episode 8


“Sunny” on Showtime’s Ray Donovan program and in the new film Life of Crime with Jennifer Aniston and Mos Def


“Sunny” from Ray Donovan audio and video link above

From Entertainment Weekly

Season 2 | Episode 8 | “Sunny” | Aired Aug 31, 2014

It’s a sunny day in L.A.—the sky is clear, the birds are chirping, and Ray has alienated himself from almost everyone in his family. That includes Abbie, once again on a motel rendezvous with Jim the cop. This time, Ray is on the case, as Avi reluctantly takes surveillance shots of Abbie and Jim.


Credits 2  Ray Donovan


Credits to “Sunny” from Ray Donovan audio / video link below


Airtimes for “Sunny” episode of         Ray Donovan


S2 Ep 8: Sunny:

Upcoming Airings (All Times ET/PT):

Thu, Sep 04, 11:30 PM
Fri, Sep 05, 9:00 PM
Sat, Sep 06, 12:35 AM
Sat, Sep 06, 8:00 PM
Sun, Sep 07, 1:20 AM
Sun, Sep 07, 8:00 PM
Sat, Sep 13, 9:00 PM
Sun, Sep 28, 3:00 PM


“Wait, why’d you stop.”

“Something ain’t right.”

“It sounded beautiful, where did you find the song?”

“My momma used to sing it to me.” 

“I like it.” 

“Come here.”




“Sunny” from Ray Donovan audio / video link




Notable Music Facebook site

Bobby Hebb‘s “Sunny” plays a big role in this week’s episode of Ray Donovan on Showtime. Don’t miss.



Whether it’s protecting the dirty secrets of the LA elite, or keeping the FBI at bay, Ray Donovan remains cool, calm and connected. But will his reckless and remorseless father Mickey prove to be Ray’s undoing?

Click on “Sunny” here




Lee Drexler returns from his honeymoon, only to be confronted by Cookie Brown, who demands the rights to Marvin’s music. Ray arranges the deal, but then Lee reneges on it. Peggy Shaughnessy plants a seed of doubt in Kate’s mind about the story that she published; Kate reopens her investigation but is threatened by a pair of Southie thugs on the street.


Mos Def, Jennifer Aniston and Tim Robbins in new film that features “Sunny” as the first song on the soundtrack.


Mos Def recorded “Priority” which samples Bobby Hebb’s “Flower” from the Love Games LP

Listen to Priority and Flower right here:


aniston sunny


“Sunny” in the new film Life of Crime, first song on the soundtrack


From the Notable site:

 Groovin’ on Bobby Hebb‘s “Sunny” in Life of Crime. Now playing. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, Mos Def, John Hawkes. Great soundtrack.

“Sunny” the song of the week on Notable Publishing site

“Sunny” on KGFJ with Bobby Hebb in the studio; thank you to the Notable Publishing site

Hebb with DJ



Rare Bobby Hebb photos

1)Bobby on the Great Hits of the 60’s compilation

2)Bobby at Montreal’s Yugoslavian Pavilion

rare photo of bobby Bobby in Yugoslavia

Remembering Bobby, Four Years Ago Today August 3, 2014

Sunny, yesterday my life was filled with rain.
Sunny, you smiled at me and really eased the pain.
The dark days are gone and the bright days are here.
My sunny one shines so sincere.
Sunny one so true, I love you.


Four years ago today we lost our friend Bobby, one of the most gifted musicians to ever walk this planet and the known universe.  There’s not much I can say that we haven’t already said except how much we miss Bobby. He was a tremendous friend.    This weekend the film on James Brown, Get On Up in release.  Brown covered “Sunny” multiple times so having the movie released on Bobby’s Anniversary weekend is a nice touch. Here’s the trailer

Bobby’s musician friend, Nat Simpkins, made a nice comment on our blog. Here it is:

Blogger Nat Simpkins said…

I’ve known and played with some of the greatest musicians of all time, but Bobby was really the most talented musician that I ever knew. He always gave all he had when he performed, no matter where. One night my piano player, Michael price and I were visiting him in his hotel room. He sat on his bed with his guitar and sang Nancy With the Laughing Face. It was like hearing him perform for 50,000 people in a huge stadium – the same level of performance.


Bobby Hebb’s last tour October 2008 in Japan

Happy Birthday Bobby Hebb July 26, 1938 – August 3, 2010


Bobby would have been 76 years young today. 

Celebrate the birth of the legendary Bobby Hebb, 

July 26, 1938-August 3, 2010. 
Happy Birthday, Bobby

In the Navy with his friend Bill Root, Bobby Hebb performed with the Pine Island Pirates.

After the passing of Johnny Kidd – of “Shakin’ All Over” fame, Johnny Kidd’s Pirates backed up Bobby Hebb for a tour of Europe.

Nick Simper has a wonderful essay about the tour


SIDE NOTE: On July 16, 2014 Kitoto Von Hebb and site editor Joe Viglione saw Aerosmith perform at Great Woods / XFinity Center.   Steve Tyler of Aerosmith sang a bit of “Sunny” for Kitoto backstage.  Steve Tyler’s parents owned a resort in Lake Sunapee!   From Sunapee to Sunny!

Aerosmith, considered by many to be America’s greatest rock and roll band, has its roots in New Hampshire. Two members of the band, lead singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry spent their childhood summers in Sunapee.