b. Dexter Gilman Wansel, 22nd August 1950, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
When Dexter Wansel was 12 years old, he got the job of a gofer for the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia, going to get sandwiches and clothes out of the cleaners for the various acts that performed at the venue like Stevie Wonder and Patti Labelle.
During the Sixties, Dexter served in the Vietnam War, an experience that he says has left him with a fear of bullets, unsurprisingly.
Many years later, Wansel would co-write a number one R & B hit for Labelle.
In 1975, Wansel met Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff when he was a member of a band called Yellow Sunshine, which also featured guitarist Roland Chambers who would later become a part of MFSB, the house band for Gamble & Huffs Philadelphia International Records.
The Yellow Sunshine sessions led to session work, at Philadelphia, with the group The Ebony's.
Becoming a part of the staff creative collective, Wansel began arranging, playing keyboards, and writing songs for the labels acts including The OJays, Teddy Pendergrass, and The Intruders, amongst others.
When Patti Labelle signed with PIR, she recorded Wansels 'Shoot Him on Sight,' a song Wansel intended for Jackson Browne, on her 1981 album 'The Spirits in It'.
A song Wansel co-wrote with Kenneth Gamble and Cynthia Biggs, the ballad 'If Only You Knew,' held the number one R & B spot for four weeks in early 1984.
It was on Patti's 'Im in Love Again' LP, which went gold, hitting number four R & B.
Some of Dexter's compositions and arrangements include:
Shirley Jones' 'Last Night I Needed Somebody' and 'She Knew About Me',
The Jacksons' 'Keep on Dancin,' 'Living Together,' 'Do What You Wanna Do,' and 'Jump for Joy',
Dee Dee Sharp Gamble 'I Love You Anyway' and I Believe In Love',
Amy Keys 'Has It Come To This',
The OJays' 'I Really Need You Now',
Miles Jaye 'I've Been A Fool For You',
Marilyn Scott 'Dreams Of Tomorrow' and 'You Are All I Need',
Jermaine Jackson 'Let's Get Serious',
Pieces Of A Dream 'co-writing 'Warm Weather',
MFSB 'Mysteries Of The World',
Brandi Wells 'I Hate To See You Go',
Joanna Gardner 'We Can Make It',
Teddy Pendergrass 'Take Me In Your Arms Tonight',
Phyllis Hyman's 'Living All Alone',
Jeff Major's 'Sonny's Prayer',
The Jones Girls' 'Were A Melody', 'Nights Over Egypt,' 'Love Dont Ever Say Goodbye,' and 'Why You Wanna Do That To Me',
Archie Bell and the Drells' 'Old People',
and Evelyn 'Champagne' King's 'Till I Come Off the Road' and the ballad 'The Show Is Over.'
life on mars - 1976 / what the world is coming to - 1977 / voyager - 1978 / time is slipping away - 1979
Dexters own charting LPs were 'Life on Mars' from summer 1976 (includes two tracks with Instant Funk, 'Life on Mars' and 'You Can Be What You Wanna Be'), 'What the World Is Coming To' (featuring 'Holdin' On'), 'Voyager' (with its great space-age oriented graphics, and featuring the excellent social commentary song 'Solutions') from spring 1978, and 'Time Is Slipping Away' (featuring the vocals of Terri Wells on 'The Sweetest Pain') from 1979.
Several tracks from his LPs were played on the radio, including (the beautifully orchestrated 'Theme From the Planets,' the funky 'Disco Lights') and some of his songs 'Together Once Again,' 'One Million Miles From the Ground,' and 'Holdin' On' are still in Dexters repertoire today.
captured - 1986 / universe - 1991
'Global Warming', from the 1991 PIR / Zoo / BMG CD 'Universe', featured Dexter Wansel received some airplay on smooth jazz radio stations, however, the soul purists went for the Jean Carne song 'Love Is Beautiful'.
During the '90's, Wansel continued to work with the re-activated Philadelphia International Records and occasionally toured.
In 2000, he joined forces with MFSB, once again, for songwriting and arranging chores, for the gospel artist Jeff Majors.
Check out this website below:
Life on Mars (Philadelphia International Records 1976)
What the World Is Coming To (Philadelphia International Records 1977)
Voyager (Philadelphia International Records 1978)
Time is Slipping Away (Philadelphia International Records 1979)
Captured (10 Records Records 1986)
Digital Groove World (HHotplanet Entertainment Records 2005)
Universe Featuring Dexter Wansel (Philadelphia International / Zoo Records 1991)