Chicago soul dynamo Renaldo Domino breaks out his sugary sweet pipes on “Never Thought” | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Chicago soul dynamo Renaldo Domino breaks out his sugary sweet pipes on “Never Thought” 

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click to enlarge Renaldo Domino

Renaldo Domino

Courtesy the Artist

Correction: This item has been updated to include details about Renaldo Domino's new Colemine Records single “No Laggin’ and Draggin’,” whose upcoming release the show celebrates.

In a just and perfect world, Renaldo Domino would be as widely revered as legendary Chicago soul greats Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, and Gene Chandler. In my opinion, the only reason the south-side native isn’t a household name is that he simply didn’t get as many chances to record as some of his peers. Born Renaldo Jones and raised near 49th and Forrestville, he had his earliest gigs at mid-60s talent shows and sock hops put on by celebrated DJ Herb Kent, and he was such a prodigy that he landed a deal with Mercury imprint Smash before he graduated high school. Renaldo took the name “Domino” because his singing was sweet as sugar, and his smooth, honey-dripping vocals on his debut 45, 1967’s “I’m Getting Nearer to Your Love,” showcase his remarkably mature high tenor and goosebump-inducing falsetto. Two years later, at age 19, Domino was signed to Twinight (home of Syl Johnson), where he cut his masterpiece, the single “Not Too Cool to Cry,” a sophisticated funky number full of wicked strings (including a violin solo!) and gorgeous harmonies—with his impossibly supple pipes, Domino could even give Smokey Robinson a run for his money. Sadly, his career foundered in 1971, after he’d released just two more 45s; despite oodles of talent and tours with the likes of the Chi-Lites and Major Lance, Domino failed to break into the mainstream. He spent the next several decades raising his family and selling insurance, but then in 2007 the Numero Group reissued “Not Too Cool to Cry” and put out the compilation Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation, which features a photo of a young, dapper, velvet-suited Domino on the cover—releases that provided him with the first royalty payments of his life. The following year, Numero dropped an archival 45 of the formerly shelved “I’ll Get You Back,” further burnishing his rep as a golden soul boy. This year Domino released the reggae-tinged “Never Thought” on a split single with Polish reggae producer xRob Black, and in February he'll release "No Laggin' and Draggin'" through Colemine Records, waxed with musicians who've backed Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Domino perform several times over the past decade, and the seemingly ageless singer (the man seriously looks like he could be in his early 40s) still puts on a hell of a show—for this date he’ll go all out, bringing strings, horns, and backup singers. Dressed to the nines and oozing pure class, Domino is still in the finest of form, with the power to use his perfect sugary voice to give listeners instant cavities.   v

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