Introduction to Latimore
Latimore, the professional and family name of Benjamin Latimore, is an American R&B singer, pianist and songwriter who achieved the R&B chart topper “Let’s Straighten It Out.” He started his music career as a pianist for Joe Henderson and Steve Alaimo and initially billed himself as Benny Latimore. When he moved to Glades label, Latimore dropped his first name, and from the label he achieved his first R&B hit with “Stormy Monday” in 1973. His biggest hit came with “Let’s Straighten It Out” in 1974. Latimore was signed to Motown in 1984 where he recorded pure soul music. Nowadays he has been working as a session pianist, whose recent works are the ones with Joss Stone on her albums The Soul Sessions, and Mind, Body and Soul.
Benjamin Latimore’s early life, influences and career
Latimore is the stage name, as well as the family name of Benjamin Latimore, born in Charlestone, Tennessee on September 7, 1939. Early in his life Latimore was influenced by his Baptist church choir singing and even country music, which was unusual for an R&B and soul artist.
Benjamin Latimore also played the piano. In fact, his first professional gig was being a pianist for Florida-based acts such as Steve Alaimo and Joe Henderson. He intially billed himself as Benny Latimore, and in the mid-1960s began waxing records for Henry Stone’s Miama-based label Dade.
Finally dropping his first name, in the 1970s Latimore transferred to Glades label, and later released his debut LP More, More, More in 1974. There he finally encountered success at last with his third album Let’s Straighten It Out, which spawned the first single “Stormy Monday,” his jazz-oriented rendition of a T-Bone Walker original.
Biggest hit with “Let’s Straighten It Out”
Let’s Straighten It Out‘s second single, the title track brimming with stirring hybrid of blues and soul. Latimore’s self-penned single provided him with his highest charting single. “Let’s Straighten It Out” reached the Top 40 pop chart at #34, and topped the R&B singles chart in 1974.
Other hits by Latimore
Another single “Keep the Home Fire Burnin'” (from his album Latimore III) scorched the R&B charts, rising to its peak postion at #5 in 1975. In 1977 Latimore achieved his last Top 40 pop hit with “Somethin’ ‘Bout Cha” (from his album It Ain’t Where You Been.. It’s Where You Goin‘) which rose to #37 there. It also became his last Top 10 R&B hit at #7.
Continuing his career as a singer and session pianist
After that, the hits began run dry towards the end of the decade. When he was not churning out his own hits, Latimore was employed as a session pianist for Glades’ parent label TK Records.
In the early 1980s Latimore transferred to Malaco Records, continuing to release excellent soul albums (such as Singing in the Key of Love) before leaving the label for a short while in the early 1990s. Then he moved to J-Town label for a while before returning to Malaco in 2000. He has remained in his work as a session pianist up to this day; his recent works are the ones with Joss Stone on her albums The Soul Sessions, and Mind, Body and Soul.