Now available as a SoulMusic Records (SMR) Digital release, “We’ll Be Together” is the second 45 by the ever soulful Phillip Ballou. When released on vinyl for the first time (as a limited edition) in 2020, 41 years after being recorded, it sold out within a few weeks, with YouTube reviews that named this modern soul gem ” the best release to end 2020….” Now available on all digital platforms worldwide
Pittsburgh-born Phillip Ballou’s earliest years were spent in the gospel field; after he moved to New York City in the ‘70s, he teamed up with Bennie Diggs and Arthur Freeman, founding members of The New York Community Choir and singer Arnold McCuller to form the group Revelation. The quartet recorded for RSO Records, scoring some R&B success in the US with tracks like “Get Ready For This” and “You To Me Are Everything,” touring the Bee Gees among others. Phillip also sang on albums by NYCC recorded for RCA Records and continued with Revelation until 1982.
Frequently hired for sessions in and around New York, Phillip teamed up in 1978 with then-UK soul music journalist David Natha and John Simmons, formerly a member of The Reflections, another New York vocal group to write a series of songs for his own proposed solo record deal. Included in the material that the trio wrote and produced was “Ain’t Nothing Like The Love,” originally recorded by Phillip and subsequently by both John (for a rare 45 on an obscure independent label) and David, whose version was unearthed for a French compilation in 2017.
Other key songs from the Nathan/Ballou/Simmons team included “We’ll Be Together,” which first saw the light of day in 2020 when Super Disco Edits licensed the track for vinyl release – and gained immediate response from ‘modern soul’ and ‘rare groove’ collectors.
Although a contract did not materialize in 1979 from the trio’s collaborations, Phillip continued his own musical journey, touring and recording with James Taylor and Todd Rundgren. In addition, Phillip’s name graced recordings by George Benson, Billy Ocean, Kashif, Nona Hendryx, Jonathan Butler, Teddy Pendergrass and Melba Moore; and in 1981, he began recording with Luther Vandross and became a part of Luther’s touring band for many years, as well as singing on productions by Luther on Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and others, continuing his association with him until Luther’s 2003 stroke. Phillip returned to his gospel roots in 2004 as Minister of Music at a Brooklyn church and passed away in March 2005, aged 55.