For anyone seeking sounds off the beaten path, it’s no secret that the unheralded musician sitting next to you anonymously and unassumingly on the bus or on the train usually has more to offer than the superstar on their private jet. How else would you explain how Lawrence Ross of Vallejo, California—night-shift worker at the local General Mills plant—could dream up and execute one of the greatest modern-soul albums ever between shifts and press it up privately?
This wondrous and endlessly charming album deserves a seat at the table of great, soulful, one-man-band works, alongside records by Stevie Wonder, Junie Morrison, Shuggie Otis, Todd Rundgren, and Prince, because with the exception of a horn section, Ross plays every instrument on the album. Bits of Earth, Wind & Fire; Roy Ayers; Rufus; Ross’s Vallejo contemporaries and old friends Con Funk Shun; and even an irresistible slice of Brazilian bossa all combine for an intoxicating mix that leaves the listener wanting more.
Still Loving You is an album that flows seamlessly, where every track seems to grow organically out of its predecessor. The lack of any big budget or industry backing means that this is an unfettered expression of contemporary African American sensibilities circa 1981 as refracted through the artistic efforts of one modest, humble, but staggeringly talented, working-class man. An apt comparison as far as style, texture, and atmosphere would be Wee’s local Ohio classic You Can Fly On My Aeroplane, but Still Loving You basks in its own unique magic. Inherently more down to earth than the products of a private jet, but simultaneously more sincere and soul-drenched.