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Here’s one those records that come and go without making much of an impression… which makes reviewing it somewhat difficult and some might say rather pointless.

But these are also the kind of records that Floyd Dixon excelled at – or was plagued by, depending on your view of such things.

The problems with these when it came to his output wasn’t that the songs themselves were all that bad, nor was it the instrumental arrangements that fell short, but rather Dixon himself caused them to fall short thanks to his nasal delivery which drew attention away from their best attributes.

But rather than feel sorry for him there’s another way to look at it, namely that when you have such an obstacle to overcome each time out it’s quite a feat that he was able to sustain a career as a recording artist that lasted a half century.

A backhanded compliment, but a compliment all the same.


If You Don’t Trust Me
It’s safe to say that your natural talent in various areas will help to determine your career course and ultimately contribute to your success, or lack thereof, in that chosen profession.

A fashion model who looks like something the cat dragged in probably won’t get many modeling assignments other than for Halloween.

A chef whose dishes routinely cause food poisoning is going to have a lot of empty tables at their restaurant.

A mechanic who is tasked with changing your fan belt and instead removes the seat belts is not the one you’ll ask for the next time you go to the garage for repairs.

A vocalist who sings through their nasal passages rather than their throat and mouth might not sell many records… unless they’re Floyd Dixon who somehow has managed to do just fine all things considered.

Part of the reason is because what ELSE Dixon does – playing piano while writing good songs in a variety of genres – is usually good enough to suffice, but with those talents it stands to reason that if he were simply a better singer he’d have been a huge star rather than one who was so up and down.

The more pressing issue came with songs like these which sometimes had you wondering if he was even aware of the words he was singing because they clearly don’t fit the mood he’s setting.

As evidenced by the title We’ll Be Together is hardly a sad song as written, as he is vowing to be with his girl “until my dying day”, but as he’s singing it you can’t help but think otherwise, for he sounds as if he’s on the verge of breaking down in convulsive sobs at any moment.

Therein lies the problem with so much of Dixon’s work. He can craft a good song but his voice often undercuts the message and when the two components are at odds, as they are here, it’s the voice that is always going to make the deeper impression and come close to ruining the entire picture he’s trying to paint.


See Everything My Way
Let’s make sure there’s no misunderstanding here that this was a brilliant song being done in by his method of singing. It’s a decent song, not an outstanding one. But in better hands, or better throat as it were, this could’ve been a much better record… or at the very least one whose most common reaction to it won’t be that of annoyance and aggravation.

We’ll Be Together starts off strong with a catchy piano lick followed by a nice sax hook which gives the impression that this will be a catchy optimistic sounding record. But once Dixon comes in that image starts to fracture because his tone contradicts the music.

Part of this is the fault of the lyrics which are sort of contradictory in their own right as he’s hoping to get together with a girl whom he starts off by mildly criticizing because… let me see if I get this right… because she’s been abused in past relationships and therefore is not the most trustworthy person when they start dating. But beyond that questionably position he’s kind of showing he belongs in the same category as he says “I’ll be yours baby if you just see everything my way”

So much for alleviating her concerns about controlling men.

Once he’s done laying down the rules he expects her to follow things brighten up a little with a fairly ambitious piano solo that doesn’t rely exclusively on the normal boogie patterns, though it starts out that way before allowing Floyd to show off a jazzier side to his playing. It’s a little flamboyant maybe, sort of Liberace for the bar room set, but it’s nice to hear him shaking things up from what’s expected.

The saxophone, probably Ed Wiley, chips in with a good no-frills solo on the heels of the piano and there’s a guitar in there adding some licks every so often which give the track more of an edge than it may have had otherwise.

From there however the lyrics and Dixon are clearly not on the same page as he’s proposing to her yet sounds far more dejected about the prospects of marriage than he should. Isn’t he supposed to be happy? Excited? Anxious?

Instead he sounds miserable and while the music remains fairly upbeat the sound of his voice makes you want to look around for any sucker willing to bet you that they’ll still be together three months from now.


You’ve Been Mistreated So Long
Some artists who consistently fall short in one vital area of their work don’t elicit much sympathy but for whatever reason – maybe because he always sounds so morose – Floyd Dixon is someone you want to overcome his built-in weaknesses.

It could be we know that when he’s on point he’s very good and so whenever his least appealing traits seem to be emphasized there’s always a feeling that we’re missing out on something good because of it.

We’ll Be Together wasn’t quite that though, even in the best of conditions, but it did have the potential to be more acceptable than the way it turned out.

Maybe the best solution would’ve been for Dixon to form a band, hire a lead singer and take on a role like Johnny Otis or Joe Morris… write the songs, play piano on them, but let somebody else sing them.

Then again, considering he constantly got screwed out of his songwriting royalties that might’ve been a quick way to a job waiting tables at a restaurant or driving a delivery truck. At least this way, clogged nasal passages and all, he never had to work at a “real job” a day in his life, so I guess it all worked out for him in the end.


(Visit the Artist page of Floyd Dixon for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)