Vernon Burch

I'll Be Your Sunshine

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When an 18-year-old Vernon Burch launched his solo career in the mid-1970s, those who knew him for his four years with the Bar-Kays tended to assume that his solo output would be similar. But I'll Be Your Sunshine, the singer/guitarist's first solo effort, doesn't sound anything like his work with the Bar-Kays (who were a Memphis soul band before reinventing themselves as a hardcore funk band). Instead, Burch brings a strong Stevie Wonder influence to this 1975 LP, which finds him co-producing and doing almost all of the writing. Burch's phrasing as a vocalist underscores his appreciation of Wonder, and his composing is obviously Wonder-influenced on originals that range from the haunting ballad "Dreamin'" to funky offerings like "Ain't Gonna Tell Nobody" and the single "Changes (Messin' With My Mind)." But being Wonder-influenced isn't the same as being a clone; as much as he admires the artist's singing and writing, Burch still comes across as his own man. I'll Be Your Sunshine falls short of remarkable, but it was a solid and decent solo debut for the former Bar-Kays member.

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