Al Brown

Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City

Composed by Dan Walsh / Michael Price

Song Review by

Singer Bobby "Blue" Bland was a staple on the R&B charts from the late '50s through the mid-'80s, although only a handful of his singles crossed over into the pop Top 40. Released in 1974, "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" wasn't among them, although its grim look at suffering in the ghetto pushed the 45 into the R&B Top Ten. The song reverberated in Jamaica as well -- its lyrics seemed tailor-made for the island, for even if Caribbean nights never get as cold as its northern neighbor's, the proliferation of guns across Kingston's ghettos made the rest of Bland's lyrics particularly apropos. Al Brown offers them up with absolutely sincerity and conviction, and his soulful delivery on the sufferer lines and powerful plea for "some love in the heart of the city" still resonate today. Behind him, the backing Skin Flesh and Bones spin out a sparse, tough, rootsy rhythm wrapped in a bluesy aura courtesy of Ranchie McLean's fabulous picked guitar lead. One of Brown's best, with the band, as always, in excellent form.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown 1973-1980 2001
Various Artists
Blood And Fire 3:26
blue highlight denotes editor's pick