1976 Dwight Twilley Band – Sincerely

Dwight Twilley (born June 6, 1951) is an American pop/rock singer and songwriter, best known for the Top 20 hit singles “I’m on Fire” (1975) and “Girls” (1984). Twilley and Phil Seymour performed as the Dwight Twilley Band through 1978, and Twilley has performed as a solo act since then.

His latest album, Always, was released in November 2014 through Twilley’s own label, Big Oak Records.

Twilley and Phil Seymour met in Tulsa in 1967 at a theater where they had gone to see The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, and soon began writing songs and recording together. They continued their partnership over the next several years under the name Oister. Twilley wrote all the songs and played guitar and piano, Seymour played drums and bass, and both sang leads and harmonies. Guitarist Bill Pitcock IV played lead guitar on most of their tracks.

Twilley was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He attended Edison High School and went to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College from 1971 to 1973. Twilley and Seymour eventually decided to leave Tulsa and try to be discovered at a recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee. By sheer chance, the first studio that they wandered into was Sun Studio, where they met, according to Twilley, “some guy named Phillips.” After listening to a cassette of their folk/pop/country blend, Jerry Phillips (son of Sun founder Sam Phillips) referred them to the Tupelo, Mississippi studio of former Sun artist Ray Harris, whom both Twilley and Seymour credited for introducing them to rockabilly and adding a harder edge to their sound.

Ultimately, Twilley and Seymour went to Los Angeles to find a label, where they ironically signed with Shelter Records, a label co-owned by Denny Cordell and Tulsa’s Leon Russell, in 1974. Cordell promptly changed the group’s name from Oister to the Dwight Twilley Band, which set the seeds for future problems arising from Seymour’s anonymity in the partnership.

Their first single, “I’m on Fire”, reached #16 on the charts in 1975 with relatively little promotion, largely because the band was in England recording its first album, tentatively called Fire, with producer Robin Cable at Trident Studios. The photos used on the single’s picture sleeve were low quality from a photo booth, even less professional than the band’s first promo picture (right). The unexpected success of the self-produced “I’m On Fire” caused most of the English tracks to be relegated to a second album, thereafter known as The B Album. Leon Russell then permitted the band to record new tracks at his 40-track home studio, where one of the engineers was Roger Linn, who also contributed lead guitars and bass to some recordings.

During an appearance on American Bandstand, the band played what was to be its follow-up single, “Shark (in the Dark)”, produced by Twilley, Seymour and Russell. The success of the film Jaws, however, caused Shelter to reject the single, apparently to keep the group from being perceived as a cash-in novelty act. The eventual follow-up single, “You Were So Warm” backed with “Sincerely”, failed due to distribution problems; just after the single was released, Shelter Records collapsed in the midst of a lawsuit between Russell and Cordell. The Dwight Twilley Band’s completed album went unreleased for 10 months due to Shelter’s switch from MCA Records to ABC Records for distribution, and The B Album was left unreleased.

When the album Sincerely was finally released in 1976, it surprisingly failed as well, peaking at #138. During this time, Seymour and Twilley befriended label mate Tom Petty and contributed backing vocals on several of his tracks, creating a long-lasting friendship.

Shelter then switched distribution again to Arista Records. ABC elected to keep Petty and J. J. Cale, leaving Twilley alone on the Shelter/Arista label. Pitcock became a credited member of the Dwight Twilley Band during touring and recording of the second album. However, that album, Twilley Don’t Mind, proved to be another commercial disappointment in 1977. Seymour left the band the following year, pursuing a solo career with some success until he developed what proved to be terminal cancer. He died of lymphoma in 1993, and Twilley still does not perform Dwight Twilley Band songs that featured lead vocals by Seymour.

The Dwight Twilley Band albums were reissued in CD form with bonus tracks by the audiophile DCC Compact Classics label in 1989 and 1990. In 1993, shortly before Phil Seymour’s death, the Dwight Twilley Band released The Great Lost Twilley Album, which collected a fraction of the “hundreds” of early unreleased songs Twilley and Seymour had recorded for Shelter, including several songs from The B Album and Blueprint, as well as a few alternate versions of released songs. However, once again the Dwight Twilley Band fell victim to some label politics, as EMI bought the rights to Shelter just weeks after the release, and all three of the DCC Dwight Twilley Band albums went out of print again.

In 1997, The Right Stuff, a reissue label owned by EMI, reissued Sincerely and Twilley Don’t Mind with somewhat different bonus tracks from the DCC versions. They both went out of print the following year, when EMI discontinued the label.

The Dwight Twilley Band albums Sincerely and Twilley Don’t Mind were reissued in a two-disk compilations by Australia’s Raven Records in 2007 with still different bonus tracks.

Finally, in 2009, a tape of the Dwight Twilley Band’s October 1976 concert at the Agora Theatre and Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio, which had been recorded for broadcast on Cleveland radio station WMMS, was remastered and released as a live album entitled Live From Agora.

Tracks

1 I’m On Fire 3:16
2 Could Be Love 2:38
3
Feeling In The Dark 2:54
4 You Were So Warm 2:26
5 I’m Losing You 2:10
6 Sincerely 2:38
7 TV 2:12
8 Release Me 2:29
9 Three Persons 2:06
10 Baby Let’s Cruise 3:00
11 England 2:34
12 Just Like The Sun 3:38

1 I’m On Fire

Bass Phil Seymour
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Guitar Dwight Twilley

2 Could Be Love

Bass Phil Seymour
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Keyboards Dwight Twilley

3 Feeling In The Dark

Bass Leon Russell
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Piano Leon Russell

4 You Were So Warm

Bass Phil Seymour
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Guitar Dwight Twilley
Keyboards Dwight Twilley

5 I’m Losing You

Bass Johnny Johnson
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Piano Dwight Twilley

6 Sincerely

Bass Roger Linn
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Roger Linn
Guitar Dwight Twilley

7 TV

Bass Johnny Johnson
Drums Jerry Naifeh
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Guitar Dwight Twilley
Percussion Phil Seymour

8 Release Me

Bass Phil Seymour
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Piano Dwight Twilley

9 Three Persons

Bass Johnny Johnson
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Guitar Dwight Twilley

10 Baby Let’s Cruise

Bass Johnny Johnson
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Piano Dwight Twilley
Harmonica Dwight Twilley

11 England

Bass Phil Seymour
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Guitar Dwight Twilley
Organ Dwight Twilley
Synthesizer Dwight Twilley

12 Just Like The Sun

Bass Phil Seymour
Drums Phil Seymour
Guitar Bill Pitcock
Guitar Dwight Twilley