Power Under Control, a 2003 release by R&B singer/songwriter Eddie Howard, hardly sounds like it's about the Bush administration, despite the presence of a ditty entitled "Let Freedom Ring" and several other suggestive titles. "Everything I've Wanted to Say," for example, could be about George W.
Bush's State of the Union address that year, another lecture delivered "In the Bad Times" where the fear of terrorism can certainly lead to "Another Sleepless Night." Even more dodgy is "Waiting on Your Return," which could be one of those message songs, this time sent from the State Department to Osama Bin Laden.
Although actually completely irrelevant to any real discussion of Howard's creativity, the preceding diatribe nonetheless gives a taste of the alienation this artist must have felt in this period, professing to be developing a style he calls "romance with an edge" when all around him performers were getting hits chattering about the size of women's posteriors or the style of their under-things.
Also describing himself as "a romantic old soul, but...not very old," Howard's favorite recording artists include Babyface and, needless to say, Teddy Pendergrass. If this were country and western in the new millennium, Howard would be considered a new traditionalist. Growing up in Louisiana, he began playing guitar at the age of seven with lessons supplied by MacArthur Jones, an uncle who worked as a blues musician. From there the versatile Howard added bass, keyboards, and trumpet, beginning to perform strictly original romantic material at the tender age of 11.
Howard gigged with a variety of local bands and joined the Air Force following high school. In the military he picked up the nickname of "Eddie the Entertainer" and toured in a variety show entitled "Tops and Blue." Howard started up a group called Real when he finished his service stint, the set list combining R&B and rap. Howard's home base is Southern California, where he settled during a string of solo engagements at clubs such as The Roxy. Power Under Control came about after several years of intense work in his own studio, Howard also producing and writing material for other soul artists. He should not be confused with a long line of people with recording credits named Eddie Howard, most specifically the old-school soul songwriter who collaborated with Donny Hathaway in the early '70s. ~ Eugene Chadbourne
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