Don Bryant

Hi Records’ Ace Songwriter, best known for his compositions for Ann Peebles. Don Bryant is best known for his work as a staff writer at Hi Records, and as the husband to Hi star Ann Peebles. He was also an excellent, under-appreciated singer. Bryant was born April 4, 1942 in Memphis. His father Edward sang in a gospel group called Four Stars of Harmony and Bryant began singing at church when he was five years old. He and his four brothers founded their own gospel group, The Five Bryant Brothers. They soon changed to doo-wop under the name of the Quails. Bryant soon joined several of his high school friends in a doo-wop group called the Four Canes. They were named after D. Cane Cole, their local DJ. Bryant and Cole split, and Bryant changed the name of the group to the Four Kings. Willie Mitchell became interested in them, and he began performing around Memphis with them. Mitchell helped Bryant get his original composition “Is there Someone Else On Your Mind” recorded by The 5 Royales. Bryant also made his first solo recording in 1964, a cover version of Chris Kenner’s “I Like It Like That.” Bryant recorded many duets over the next five-years with Marion Brittnam, as well as numerous cover songs. The latter was his first full-length album, 1969’s Precious Soul, which was released on Hi. His behind-the scenes career quickly became more lucrative when Mitchell assigned Bryant to work with Ann Peebles, a new Hi signee. Bryant was no longer the label’s main point. He initially resisted, but soon discovered a creative and personal connection with Peebles, which led to a couple in 1972 and a marriage two years later. Bryant wrote a few of Peebles’ most memorable songs, including “I can’t stand the rain” and “99 Pounds”. His success led him to a staff songwriting job, where he penned material that was used by other Hi stars such as Syl Johnson and Al Green. Wright and Otis Clay. His own recording career suffered in the 1970s due to necessity. Bryant and Peebles took a break from the music business after Hi’s peak. Bryant recorded a short gospel album in 1986, entitled What Do You Think About Jesus. Bryant was again involved in songwriting and musical backing when Peebles returned from recording in the ’90s. He recorded another gospel album in 2000, It’s all in the Word. Peebles had a stroke in 2012 and retired from performing live. Bryant was no longer able to spend much time on the road, so he started to focus on songwriting again. He wrote several new songs as a tribute. Bryant’s 2017 album, “Don’t Give up on Love”, explored his soul and gospel influences. It was recorded by members of the Hi Records studio crew. Allmusic

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