REVIEW: Lou Ragland’s “I Travel Alone” (box set sampler)

Photobucket In the mail I received what I assumed was a promo for a new Lou Ragland box set on Numero Group and I was excited to hear it. Unfortunately, it was an 11-song sampler for a 34-song box, so I can only do my review based on those 11 songs. Ragland was a representative of Cleveland’s music scene and produced an incredible amount of music in what is a short amount of time. I Travel Alone represents the path he set with a some incredible music, reanging from the narrow stereo mixes of Hot Chocolate to the solid funk of Wildfire and “Tend To Your Business”.

The rest, I can’t tell you about because I don’t know what the other songs sound like, so you have to buy this box based on my paragraph above.

RECORD CRACK: Numero Group focuses on Cleveland with Lou Ragland box set

Another underrated soul music hero? There are many that the majority of music fans do not know, but those who do did not need a box set to honor his contributions. For everyone else, his name is Lou Ragland, and as Ohio has become one of the semi-secret states for quality soul and funk in the last 20 years, people are realizing “hey, we need to tell their stories before its too late”. Take it to Numero Group to come to the rescue for Ragland with a forcoming 4LP (or 3CD) box set called I Travel Alone.

If anything, Ragland’s story is not unlike the many other artists from Ohio, or more specifically the city of Cleveland. As thousands of people moved for better jobs or simply for “anything but Cleveland”, the many who stayed did so not only to have a chance for a hit record, but for greater success. Ragland was one of the hardest working singers and musicians around, releasing records under different names and being a part of many groups. In that time, one could document a part of Cleveland’s music scene just by hearing his records, but so much music was coming out. Most of these definitely wanted fortunes and fame, and the goal was to keep on working until it happened. Some realized they had to leave Cleveland in order to keep going. When he became a member of Seven Miles High, they ended up recording an album that barely made a dent, but would become a bit of a “holy grail” when collectors discovered this hidden gem. As the population of Cleveland continued to dwindle, Ragland decided it was time for him to leave and find something better, which he did when he moved to Las Vegas in 1980.

I Travel Alone focuses solely on some of the work he did as a Cleveland resident, going through different styles and textures but in the end shows an artist who used his talents to make music that will be heard by more people today than it did when they were recorded over 40 years ago. The box set will be released on April 10th.