|VA: - Deep Shadows - The Best Of Kent Ballads
We’ve not had an out-and-out ballad CD on Kent for over a year and after 28 years of compiling, we thought that a retrospective look at the very best tracks was due.
Many deep, southern or ballad collectors may not have gone for CDs such as “Mirwood Soul Story” or “Dave Hamilton’s Detroit Dancers”. As there were gems of these styles within those and other packages, we knew they would be enjoyed in another CD setting. Similarly, other pieces of beautiful music from the Charmels, L.V. Johnson and Johnny Gilliam were on similar but deleted CDs. Picking a “Best Of” CD felt valid and to strengthen it even more, we are including a handful of recordings that have not been issued on CD before, in some cases never issued at all.
These newbies deserve the most attention as they will be fresh to most soul fans. Of the issued tracks, the least rare is the Quotations’ ‘It Can Happen To You’ on DiVenus, which was a good seller in NYC on issue, though the current price tag of £150 (due to its Northern flip) would put the casual buyer off. Rarer is the Austin Taylor offering from Zell Sanders’ J&S subsidiary Sprout Artist. That set-up was never known for production subtleties and the single opens as if in an echoing Harlem Church, with the chorus belting out Hymn #94 before Austin’s tough vocal preaches his message.
The master tape contenders are of incredible quality. Bay Area songstress Jeanette Jones was probably only demoing ‘What Have You Got To Gain By Losing Me’ but sang it from the heart, which now means that an excellent Gerry Goffin co-composition was saved for the world, with its first airing here. Down in Nashville, Tennessee ace arranger and producer Bob Holmes cut a Gallatin act called the Paramount Four on a stunning group ballad ‘You Must Leave Her Because You Love Her’. If you invest in this CD, I can guarantee that you will be singing along to this beauty with gusto.
From the previously released but now deleted pile we re-present the Charmels’ brilliant ‘I’ve Done It Again’. Featuring on the same deleted Kent CD was L.V. Johnson’s ‘Seeing Is Believing’, which I now realise is right up there with it. Giving the track another lease of life also gives me the chance to correct the assumption that it is the same song the Mad Lads cut (also for the Volt label); it isn’t and we don’t know who penned it. I hadn’t even noticed that it was over four and a half minutes long – it doesn’t drag for a single second.
Personal favourites include the tracks by Phillip Mitchell, Loleatta Holloway, Sam Dees, the Modettes, Debbie Taylor and the bittersweet and haunting voice of Little Ann singing her self-written title track to the CD. If you don’t recognise any of the titles, please rest assured that these are the best of Kent – that’s going to be very good indeed.
By Ady Croasdell (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2010||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Dial Records - Southern Soul Story 2CD
51 biisiä Dial -merkin Soul / R&B
|Ace Records 2003||2-CD||23.00 €
|VA: - Does Anybody Know I'm Here ?
Vietnam Through The Eyes Of Black America 1962-1972
|Ace Records 2005||CD||18.00 €
|VA: - Double Shot Of Soul
|Kent 2004||CD||18.00 €
|VA: - Fender - The Golden Age 1950-1970
Leo Fender’s contribution to the sound of modern music is immeasurable. The pop music explosion of the 1950s and 60s would not have happened without the electric guitar and, perhaps more importantly, the electric bass.”
So begins Martin Kelly’s notes for the CD of his book about Fender guitars. A book about music of course lacks the medium that it describes, so Martin came to Ace with a proposal to produce an accompanying CD that would make his pages even more vibrant. We were more than happy to celebrate the great sounds that Leo Fender helped conceive through his inspirational instruments.
As overseer of this CD, I was out of my depth in guitar minutiae, but was able to assist on the technical end and enjoyed a sharp learning curve in great guitar sounds. I thoroughly dug those ringing twangs of Bob Wills and Tennessee Ernie Ford. With Ike Turner and Otis Rush I was in more familiar music territory. The more poppy Crickets’ track ‘I’m Looking For Someone To Love’ was an inspired choice by Martin. It was the flip to the original ‘That’ll Be The Day’ which I’d managed to miss hearing for 55 years. ‘Suzie Q’ and the original ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ are better known numbers; listening to them in this guitar-based context gives them new relevance.
Guitar-led instrumentals were a must for the compilation and it is wonderful to relive the splendour of the Ventures’ signature tune and to hear the mighty Shadows at their most melodic. Breakaway Shadow Jet Harris then moves the spotlight to the renowned Fender bass on ‘Besame Mucho’. Booker T’s ‘Green Onions’ and Dick Dale’s ‘Miserlou’ are at the pinnacle of their genres and Jack Nitzche’s ‘Lonely Surfer’ shows how an inspired producer can use the guitar within a bigger production.
It is then back to basics with the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, followed by Ronnie Hawkins’ ice-cold take on ‘Who Do You Love’. The Beach Boys and Bobby Fuller Four then demonstrate how to play straight down the middle pop: no frills but pure class. Then representing the awakening of British youth to the American dream, we have the Yardbirds’ take on Billy Boy Arnold’s ‘I Ain’t Got You’, a song that failed to score for its creator but became a belated blues classic once Eric Clapton had stamped his seal of approval on it.
Speaking of the blues, ‘Rock Me Baby’ by Otis Redding reminds us all that the world lost a brilliant blues singer, as well as the ultimate soul man, when his plane crashed in December 1967. By the time of this recording, Lewis Steinberg had been replaced by Duck Dunn on Fender Precision Bass duties.
As reflected by the Nashville-recorded Fender jingles, country music was always dominated by the guitar sounds of Fender. Buck Owens & the Buckaroos’ ‘Buckaroo’ features not only Fender electric and bass but acoustic too. The switch to the soul perfection of King Curtis’ ‘Memphis Soul Stew’ is surprisingly seamless and that city’s home-grown Willie Mitchell sound on ‘Soul Serenade’ shows how long-lived top flight R&B was down there. It is then just a year’s jump, but a small world away, to 1969 and the Velvet Underground’s 12-string Fenders. That is neatly followed by ex-Yardbird Jeff Beck on his Stratocaster and Stone-to-be Ron Wood playing a Telecaster bass; all in the admirable cause of helping Donovan’s ‘Goo Goo Barabajagal’ make musical if not literal sense.
I still may not be able to pick a Fender out in a crowd, but I now know how much listening pleasure I have derived from them.
Ady Croasdell (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2012||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Full Time Groovers: Hotlanta Soul Vol. 2
This CD is the natural successor to the widely acclaimed , GOOD GUYS DON'T ALWAYS WIN (CDKEND 163). The tracks are primarily 70s recordings from the mid-southern cities of Atlanta, Birmingham and Nashville. Ten of the twenty three songs are previously unissued and as is often the case, the absence of vinyl on those recordings was not reflective of their quality. Atlanta was a happening city in the 70s and Michael Thevis' musical enterprises were financially comfortable enough from his other businesses to allow for a bit of musical experimentation to be written off on the balance sheet. The labels also produced plenty of their own revenue with hits from Loleatta Holloway, Jimmy Lewis, John Edwards and Dorothy Norwood. The publishing arm of the business was equally blessed, with writers of the calibre of Sam Dees, Frederick Knight and Floyd Smith.
Sam Dees' name is all over this CD, starting the whole thing off with another tender sparsely-recorded ballad Anything Is Fair In Love And War. Though originally intended as a demo, Sam sang it too well for his own good-.-the notion of improving on this version must have been quite daunting. Sam was also heavily involved in the Alpaca Phase III recording that follows it, in fact he was probably a member of the mainly studio group though not the lead singer. Sam's trademark intimate song style goes right through to track 3 where Bill Brandon gives us Let's Get It Back Together Again a more mid-paced Dees offering.
All of these songs were found in the studios, as were the two Frederick Knight contributions. Fred was also a fine singer/songwriter and, like Sam Dees, had his songs covered by many artists. You Need A Friend Like Mine was cut on Annette Thomas and Rance Allen for Stax subsidiary labels Truth and Gospel Truth, this original demo is another fine take on an inspiring song. Fred's other recording featured here is Time, co-written with Dees-.-a more broody, haunting song than the gospel-influenced Friend.
Nashville music alumnus Moses Dillard teamed up with someone by the name of Johnson to record Here We Go Loving Again on the Piedmont label. The song can only be described as joyous ( you can picture the musicians having a ball) and is inspiring enough that my Lee Marvin type voice often joins in on the chorus clearing the garden of birds. It's the type of song that made disco worthwhile and makes up for all that hi-hat excess and reflective clothing. Also, don't forget that if we hadn't had disco, black dance music in the 70s would have been non-stop funk, paaarty and blowing bleeding whistles.
The real bonus with this CD and the 'Good Guys' compilation is the inclusion of Moonsong and Clintone recordings. Rozetta Johnson and Bill Brandon were at the pinnacle of their careers when they cut these great ballads and it's an honour to be allowed to include them here.
These are varied soul styles from various related sources but all right there in the pocket.
By Ady Croasdell (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2000||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Gaz's Rockin' Blues
|Ace Records 2005||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Get Your Lie Straight - A Glaxy Of Funky Soul
|Ace Records 2004||CD||18.00 €
|VA: - Greetings From Philly
||Sony Bmg Music 2005||CD||9.00 €
|VA: - GWP - NYC - TLC VOL. 2
For a company who only put out nine R&B singles on its own logos, GWP sure had some soul. Originally a production set-up that placed recordings on major labels, they had a fruitful history before the initial 1969 GWP release, but at least half the story is about the recordings that didn’t come out.
The Devonnes, the Shaladons, the Modettes, Bobby Penn and Milton Bennett were acts who cut some very worthy music for the company that never saw the light of day. Others like Benny Gordon and Larry Banks & Jaibi had top quality material left over from their singles sessions that will be welcomed by soul fans of all persuasions.
The dance tracks featured here are particularly good. The earliest is probably Lilly Fields pacey and pure Northern ‘Changes’, a Detroit Pied Piper recording from a New York/New Jersey artist. Sadly, most of the paperwork was destroyed just prior to Ace’s purchase of these tracks, so the history is speculative, but the recordings were made at Detroit’s United Sound and the rhythm track is indicative of the Funk Brothers featuring Joe Hunter on piano. Bobby Penn is virtually unknown; there was one 45 by an artist of that name on Uptight Records in 1968, which could well be the chap. His version of the Larry Banks/Joan Bates song ‘Without Your Love’ is probably the best of the several versions. Banks and Bates combined vocally to great effect on the self-written ‘My Life Is No Better’, a Dynamics number, even out-performing the creators. We just released this previously unissued RCA recording as the flip of the latest 100 Club anniversary 45 and already demand for this track is massive.
The latter period GWP provided some fabulous singles and tracks like ‘Detour’ by the Persians. ‘Stop’ and ‘Never Gonna Let Him Know’ by Debbie Taylor would ironically be more revered over here if they hadn’t been so abundant, due to good Stateside sales. The Hesitations’ ‘Go Away’, however, was found on an unreleased multi-track tape and its release two years ago as a 100 Club anniversary 45 has already created demand for this sublime slice of mid-tempo soul dance music. The rest of the GWP and GWP’s Grapevine releases are also high quality. Debbie Taylor and the Persians recorded exquisite ballads in ‘How Long Can This Last’ and ‘Here It Comes’. The Hesitations then funked-up Aretha’s ‘Good To Me’, as did Little Rose Little on her Pazant Bros-backed recording of Otis’ ‘Tennessee Waltz’. Both of these only ever came out on GWP’s two compilation LPs, a year after the 45s had ceased.
More beautiful balladry comes from the Devonnes with another Banks/Bates creation, ‘I Don’t Care What He’s Done’, and a real grower from the terminally obscure Modettes with ‘I Won’t Be Such A Fool’, which is my current top play. Southern soul fanciers will be pleased that Benny Gordon has three previously unreleased songs, including a 1967 update on Saint Maxine’s ‘All In My Mind’ and the rhythmically complex ‘Never Give Up On Love’. He also presented a version of his Estill recording ‘So Much In Love’ by the vocal group the Exceptions, who really excelled on this fine song. (The recording does not suffer the terrible sound distortion as Benny’s 45 of the song.)
There’s a Northern soul standard from Alice Clark with the George Kerr-produced and wonderfully titled ‘You Hit Me (Where It Hurt Me)’, a Larry Banks demo of the Cavaliers’ RCA 45 ‘I Really Love You’ and mo’ George Kerr from Plus 4’s lead singer telling us how she’s ‘The Happiest Girl In The World’ and really sounding like she is. The finale is certainly grand, a master tape of Dave Godin’s “greatest soul record ever”, ‘You Got Me’ by Jaibi that is the Kapp 45 version but with extra added girl backing vocals. Now that’s something every self-respecting soul freak’s just gotta have.
by ADY CROASDELL (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2009||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - GWP NYC-TCB
When I visited Gerard W Purcell's New York offices above his Paparazzi restaurant around 1990, I wasn't really sure why I'd gone there. Though I rated his GWP label highly, there weren't any big Northern Soul sounds or rarities on it and though Debbie Taylor's 'Don't Let It End' is one of my all time favourite soul songs, it wasn't going to move box-loads of CDs. I knew there was some link with the fabulous 60s soul of Detroit's Pied Piper Productions, that we had already released on the "Rare Collectable & Soulful" CDs, but apart from shared publishing, it was hard to figure out the exact nature of the relationship. Gerry Purcell himself was amicable enough, though he didn't seem to know much about the nitty gritty of the recordings that I revered so much.
His main interest was in a series of London-recorded pieces of orchestral music, based upon the signs of the zodiac; fascinating, but of zero musical interest to me. He spoke with affection about England and Ireland, but most of the time I was distracted, looking over his shoulders at some large, old green filing cabinets that just oozed possibilities. Despite us getting on well, Jerry had better things to do than to let a bizarre Brit rummage through his documents and I left his office thanking him kindly but not really knowing if I'd wasted my time or not. However, from little seeds some years later Ace was contacted by GWP who was looking for a European deal on his R&B recordings; this time it was arranged that I could get to see the master tapes. My curiosity and optimism was rekindled.
By now the offices had been moved into Gerry's home in Bayside, NY where I renewed acquaintance with him and was introduced to his musical right-hand man and the person in charge of his soul recordings, Ed Bland. Ed and I got on well once we had swapped some music talk and it became apparent that apart from representing GWP's interests, he wanted to see the music given a new lease of life to people who cared about it. The tapes looked terrific. Lots of ¬º", ¬?" and 1" masters in great condition. Nearly all of the ones we knew about were there and there were plenty more besides. We arranged to get them copied.
Now; "was there any other material or information around that would help us when we compiled the CD?" Ed took me into a dingy basement room where some reassuringly familiar dark green filing cabinets lived. "Have a look in those, there might be some things of interest." The drawers related to Millbridge and other publishing companies that GWP owned and were crammed with sheet music and reference copies of records for each of the published songs. Not only was there at least one vinyl copy (usually several) of each song published, if GWP also published the flip, there would be a separate file with copies for that too. Records like September Jones 'I'm Coming Home' / 'No More Love' would have at least two copies; in this case six. Even better there were acetates (multiple copies of some) of some of the unissued Pied Piper recordings that we had already licensed from RCA, such as Willie Kendrick's 'She'll Be Leaving You' and Lorraine Chandler's 'You Only Live Twice'. But even betterer, some of the acetates were of songs I'd never heard before. Larry Banks' manic original of 'Ooh It Hurts Me' and some storming Nancy Wilcox RCA reference dubs, impressed me immediately.
The avaricious record collector in me (coupled with the musicologist's caution of course), couldn't let these Aladdin's cave musical jewels go back into dormancy for another thirty years. I pointed out to Jerry, after running it by Ed, that there were more copies of each song than were required for reference purposes. The discs would be better appreciated across the Atlantic where they would soar into DJ's collections like released Phoenixes. Luckily Jerry had pity and a big heart and told me to take what I wanted; I even had to press dollars into his hand to keep my conscience clean. Some years later a series of events (which I'll relate to you in GWP Volume 2), made it clear that I had taken the right moral path and I can still sleep easily at nights.
Sadly Jerry passed away a few months after this meeting, but Ed Bland fought Ace's corner in purchasing the label from Jerry's son Eric Purcell and five years on (fifteen from the first) we are the proud owner of these great soul recordings.
The original GWP label recordings were made in 1969, mostly arranged by Ed Bland and produced by the great George Kerr. Debbie Taylor, the Hesitations and the Persians were the main acts, all of whom recorded some sublime 60s soul sounds, just as that Renaissance-like decade was drawing to a close. These recordings were fully produced with New York's top R&B session musicians and with songs from George Kerr, Ray Dahrouge and Billy Terrell, the already established classy soul singers gave some great performances. The Hesitations' 'Is This The Way To Treat A Girl', Debbie Taylor's 'Let's Prove Them Wrong' and the Persians' 'I Don't Know How' are as good as it got in that period. A huge bonus has been finding unreleased tracks - like Debbie Taylor's stunning ballad 'All That I Have' and the Hesitations original version of the Moments' early 70s hit 'Gotta Find A Way'. GWP also produced for other labels and Alice Clark's 'Heaven's Will' is another excellent and very moving, deep soul ballad. Little Rose Little and Betty Barney's recordings for the label are on the grittier side of soul but it is the earlier pre-GWP label productions that a lot of Kent fans will be bowled over by.
Larry Banks' prot?©g?©s the Devonnes sing a captivating version of Terri Bryant's Verve single '(You'd Better) Straighten Up And Fly Right'; the unknown Bobby Penn contributes a great original dancer called 'No Defense' and the Shaladons, who never had a record released, show the Hesitations (who cut it on an LP) how Larry Banks' 'Without Your Love' should really sound. There's a brand new and oh too rare, Jaibi recording; previously unreleased southern soul from Benny Gordon; a mid-tempo, Detroit sounding number from Lily Fields and Frankie Newsome's Chicago R&B hit 'My Lucky Day'. Ed Bland and Ray Dahrouge contributed stories and information to unravel this mysterious chapter of the Big Apple's soul story and the photos of the acts are especially fabulous; check out Debbie and Lily's glamour shots and the Persians funky headgear.
The moral of the story then is: follow all leads; don't be too shy; never give up and you'll end up with a CD or two's worth of righteous soul sounds.
|Ace Records 2005||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Hall Of Fame
Nearly two years after we began our initial excavation of the Rick Hall’s FAME Studios tape vault, our findings continue to enthral. So far we’ve brought you CDs of the complete FAME recordings of Spencer Wiggins, Candi Staton and Jimmy Hughes, the first of several volumes by George Jackson and a fantastic boxed set, as well as numerous vinyl treats. Now we’re reaching into the deepest corners of the FAME vaults for our first multi-artist scoop of rare and precious soul, part of an ongoing series we call “Hall Of Fame”.
The series will focus primarily on unreleased gems from the studio’s vaults, but will also make room for unreissued sides along the way. Most recordings are finished masters, although we will also be including some demos to give the listener a glimpse behind the scenes at Avalon Avenue. Many will be early recordings of acknowledged classics, as is the case here with Clarence Carter’s demos of ‘Tell Daddy’ and ‘Too Weak To Fight’.
The quality is never less than first-rate and is really quite staggering at times. Even allowing for the vast quantity of great Southern soul that was around at the time, it beggars belief that Rick Hall was unable to find takers for so many great performances – many of them proving to be more than a match for any of FAME’s readily acknowledged classics.
Many of FAME’s major players get a look-in on our series debut. Numerous of the songs will be familiar to collectors in recordings by others who plied their trade at the studio, but the versions here are mostly previously unheard by anyone other than those who participated in the sessions.
The CD abounds with highlights. I’d like to give an especially big hand for Ralph “Soul” Jackson’s fantastic take on Jimmy Hughes’ ‘You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy’ and for Jimmy’s own riveting version of Etta James’ ‘I Worship The Ground You Walk On’. I’d also like to commend June Conquest’s Motown-style rendition of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham’s ‘I Do’ and Prince Phillip Mitchell’s chunky remake of James Barnett’s ‘Keep On Talking’ – one of only three tracks on here to have been previously issued in any format. But really I can recommend literally everything on a CD for which the phrase “all killer, no filler” could have been coined.
By Tony Rounce (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2012||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Hard To Handle - Black America Sings Otis Redding
His achievements as a singer may cast a giant shadow over everything else he achieved. Anyone with a passing interest in music should be able to tell you that Otis Redding wrote ‘Respect’ and ‘Dock Of The Bay’ – that’s a given. But the vast majority of his many other singles had an Otis composition or co-write on at least one side, while almost all of the albums released during his lifetime featured additional Otis Redding copyrights. A prolific tunesmith and savvy A&R man, Otis also found time to write songs specifically for Arthur Conley and others whose careers he hoped to boost.
Otis wrote a staggering number of quality songs in a very short period of time. In fact the more Otis wrote, the more he wanted to write: in the few weeks leading up to his death, he went into Stax’s McLemore Avenue studio and cut around 30 new songs, leaving behind enough material for a trio of posthumously released albums which, for many fans, are better than many of those that came out while he was still alive.
There’s no way of telling how Otis would have progressed as a songwriter had his plane not crashed in December 1967, but the unreleased songs he left behind give a pretty good indication that he was moving in interesting and special directions. The quality of many of those posthumously issued compositions was quickly recognised by his peers. Fine versions of several of them, by Buddy Miles, Etta James, Patti Drew, Percy Sledge and others, appear in “Hard To Handle”, the latest volume in Ace’s occasional “Black America Sings” series.
As befits one of the greatest purveyors of a soul ballad, many of the best songs here allow their singers to tug at the heartstrings in the way Otis’ own versions still do. A significant number are performed here by women, who seemed to gravitate to Otis’ catalogue in the wake of Aretha’s blockbuster success with her revival of ‘Respect’.
But as well as the ballads there are numerous great examples of Otis’ up-tempo work, exemplified by his protégé Arthur Conley’s romp through ‘Wholesale Love’ and an alternate take of Otis’ own Northern Soul floor-filler ‘Loving By the Pound’ (written for Bettye Lavette, apparently!). There are more previously unissued treats here from Mitty Collier and Arthur Conley, as well as several sides receiving their CD debut.
Otis’ skills as a songwriter were patently second to none and it’s hoped that “Hard To Handle” will increase perception of just how important an all-rounder he was, and how long his career as a singer-songwriter might have sustained if the Grim Reaper hadn’t had other plans.
By Tony Rounce (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2012||CD||18.00 €
|VA: - Have Mercy! The Songs Of Don Covay
This latest addition to our songwriter series focuses on the behind-the-scenes endeavours of Don Covay, provider of great material to some of the biggest stars of the 1960s.
Don made his recording debut in 1956 as a member of the Rainbows vocal group. His idol at this time was Little Richard, whom he managed to meet in 1957. Richard took him on as his opening act, bestowing upon him the nickname Pretty Boy, as which Don released his first solo disc. When record sales proved meagre, he channelled his energy into writing songs with John Berry of the Rainbows. Off the bat their compositions were picked by name artists Gene Vincent, Dee Clark and Wanda Jackson.
‘Pony Time’, Don’s first record to bear an additional credit for his backing combo the Goodtimers, saw him enter the Hot 100 for the first time in 1961. The same week, a cover by Chubby Checker debuted on the charts on its way to #1, leaving Don stuck at the lower end. Convinced that financial security would come from writing rather than recording, he signed with song publishers Roosevelt Music in New York’s famous Brill Building, where he shared a cubicle with his cousin, ace arranger Horace Ott.
Gladys Knight & the Pips delivered Don’s ‘Letter Full Of Tears’ into the Top 20 in 1962. His profile raised, Don was sought out by Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler on the hunt for material for Solomon Burke, thus beginning a long and fruitful relationship that would see the name Don Covay grace the record labels of many of the company’s major soul stars.
In 1964 Goodtimers’ guitarist Ronnie Miller came up with a catchy lick that evolved into ‘Mercy Mercy’, which saw Don finally crack the Top 40. The number would be a cream cut on the Rolling Stones’ “Out Of Our Heads” album in 1965, swelling Don’s coffers further.
Meanwhile, he was added to the roster of Atlantic, who dispatched him to Stax Records’ studio in Memphis to record. The trip did as intended, returning him to the charts with the blistering ‘See Saw’, co-written by guitar genius Steve Cropper. 1965 also saw Little Richard enjoy the biggest hit of his post-50s career with Don’s masterpiece ‘I Don’t Know What You’ve Got But It’s Got Me’.
Don continued to record prolifically for Atlantic, but of his subsequent singles for the company, not one reached the Hot 100. Fortunately, the fallow period was offset by the massive success of Aretha Franklin’s version of Don’s ‘Chain Of Fools’ and her revival of ‘See Saw’.
Don remains best remembered as a performer. Given that his catalogue runs to several hundred songs and his client list as a writer includes – in addition to those already mentioned – Connie Francis, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, Joe Tex, Ben E King, Jerry Butler and dozens more, the man deserves to be a household name, regardless of his great body of recorded work.
By Malcolm Baumgart (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2012||CD||20.00 €
|VA: - Heart Of Southern Soul Vol. 3 - The Flame Burns On
|Ace Records 1997||CD||18.00 €
|VA: - Honey & Wine - Another Gerry Goffin & Carole King song colle
As a kid Goffin developed a taste for Broadway musicals and began creating songs in his head. With a vague ambition to one day write a musical of his own, he enrolled at college to study chemistry. It was there that he met 17-year-old Carole, a keen amateur rock’n’roll songwriter in search of a lyricist. They hit it off right away, penned a few songs together and dropped out of college to get married. In 1960 they joined Carole’s pal Neil Sedaka as staff songwriters at Aldon Music, a fledgling publishing house headed by Al Nevins and Don Kirshner. Within a couple of years they were the most successful songwriters in the country.
We like our original versions at Ace and a few are included here. Bobby Vee recorded ‘Go Away Little Girl’ before Steve Lawrence got his mitts on the song for example, while the Rising Sons (Ry Cooder’s early band) cut ‘Take A Giant Step’ before the Monkees did and stylish jazz diva Nancy Wilson’s reading of ‘No Easy Way Down’ was taped before Carole’s own version was released.
If you’ve ever wondered how many Goffin and King compositions the Monkees recorded, the short answer is 18, the most successful of which was ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’, the couple’s restless ode to life in suburbia, included here. (The long answer is contained in the booklet.) While not all of Goffin’s lyrics are autobiographical, it is tempting to assume that ‘So Goes Love’, heard here by the Turtles, documents the breakdown of his and Carole’s personal relationship. Thankfully, they continued writing together after their divorce.
As with our earlier volume, this set includes familiar hits (the Monkees, Maxine Brown’s ‘Oh No Not My Baby’, the Drifters’ ‘Up On The Roof’, Gene McDaniels’ ‘Point Of No Return’, etc), overlooked gems (Chuck Jackson’s ‘I Need You’, Jan & Dean’s ‘The Best Friend I Ever Had’, Freddie Scott’s ‘Brand New World’, ‘I Happen To Love You’ by the Myddle Class, to name just four) and some new to CD rarities (‘Stage Door’ by Peter James, ‘They’re Jealous Of Me’ by Connie Stevens, ‘The Boy I Used To Know’ by Andrea Carroll, Jody Miller’s very non-PC ‘He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)’ and Carolyn Daye’s ‘A Long Way To Be Happy’).
BY MICK PATRICK (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2009||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Honky Tonk - Charlie Gillett's Radio Picks
had just passed my thirtieth birthday when I got my own radio show in March 1972, being set loose to play pretty much whatever I wanted, Sunday lunchtime on the BBC’s local FM station, Radio London. Just 45 minutes at first, it was fairly soon extended to an hour and then to two hours, broadcast every week until 31 December 1978.
For a while, all I wanted to do was play every great record with rock’n’roll in its blood, many of them rarely, if ever, heard on British radio, and most of them emanating from the southern states of America. In those days, pop music in the UK was played on medium wave stations and this show on FM radio might easily have remained a well-kept secret if it had not been championed by John Collis, radio correspondent for London’s weekly listings magazine Time Out. When John heard the rumour of the show he called up a week or so ahead of the first programme to ask what I was planning to do; it soon became clear that he needed some kind of identity for each programme in order to be able to justify mentioning it on a regular basis.
So I began with a programme of records made in New Orleans and Louisiana, and returned to that region several times, as well as moving west to Texas and even further out to California, north to Memphis and Chicago, and often grouping records with particular themes. I can no longer remember how I ran across every track included here, but probably as many as half of them were tips of one kind or another, while many of the others had been unearthed during the previous five-year period when I was working on a history of popular music, called The Sound Of The City, which traced the emergence and evolution of rock’n’roll out of independently-recorded R&B and country music in the late 1940s and early 50s.
As the grapevine spread, listeners started to get in touch to tell me about records I seemed unaware of, not only obscure originals from the 1940s and 50s, but current artists too. I had a pretty frosty attitude towards a lot of current British pop, even though much of it was made by people my own age and with similar tastes. I never did play T Rex, Roxy Music, Wizzard or Slade but was thrilled to make room for JJ Cale, Jesse Winchester and Delbert McClinton. No coincidence, most of them were from the American South too.
Among the regular listeners were many people who knew far more than I did, some of them dedicated to finding every possible piece of information about the records they liked best – dates and locations of when and where they were recorded, names of any and all sessions musicians and which little label released the record first. Such people can be notoriously possessive of what they have discovered, but I was lucky to be befriended by Bill Millar, John Anderson, Ray Topping, Errol Dixon, Rob Finnis and others, who between them managed to make up for my woeful ignorance and gave me a much better education than I ever had in school or university. As far as I was concerned, Honky Tonk was a shared forum and bulletin board for the music we all revered. One of the greatest surprises was that the programme drew an audience of real live musicians in London, who liked this kind of music themselves, and some of them began to submit their demo tapes.
By Charlie Gillett (ACE RECORDS)
|Ace Records 2009||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Hood Dreams Vol. 1 - What Chance Has A Man
|FTR Records 2004||CD||19.00 €
|VA: - How Many Roads - Black America Sings Bob Dylan
Not for nothing is Bob Dylan considered to be one of the greatest songwriters of his, or any other, generation. His compositions have provided a prime source of repertoire for hundreds, even thousands, of recording artists for 50 years, and his catalogue continues to be regularly revised and revisited in all genres of music.
Spanning more than two decades of Dylan compositions, “How Many Roads” offers 20 first-rate examples of how well his songs have lent themselves to being remade/remodelled by high profile names in black American music. Few of his peers have had their catalogues visited as regularly by black singers and musicians. Only John Lennon and Paul McCartney (the subjects of the next volume in this short “Black America Sings…” series) come close in terms of breadth of catalogue and number of covers.
Black America was very quick to wake up to the potential of Dylan compositions and savvy singers started covering them almost as soon as he released them. Early fans included the Staple Singers, who cut no less than three songs from his breakthrough album “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” and can be heard here on a stellar version of ‘Masters Of War’. Sam Cooke was inspired to write his masterpiece ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ after hearing Dylan sing ‘Blowing In The Wind’ on TV and wondering why no black songwriter had come up with anything that spoke so eloquently of the need for racial equality as the song’s opening line, “How many roads must a man walk down before they call him a man?” That song is heard here in a compelling 1968 rendition by front-tier Memphis soulman O.V. Wright, one of more than 30 black American artists who recorded it within five years of Dylan’s version.
This set includes some of Dylan’s favourite recordings of his songs and the CD comes to you with his blessing and approval. My own favourite tracks include the Persuasions’ glorious a cappella remodelling of ‘The Man In Me’ from Dylan’s “New Morning” album, Con-Funk-Shun’s surprisingly effective funk-up of ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ and gospel queen Marion Williams’ heart-wrenching deep soul version of ‘I Pity The Poor Immigrant’ from “John Wesley Harding”.
There are many other great tracks that finite CD running time didn’t allow us to include here, so keep your fingers crossed for a second volume. Until then, there’s plenty of superbly soulful singing to be savoured, on some of the finest songs that will ever be written by anyone, anytime.
By Tony Rounce (ACE Records)
|Ace Records 2010||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - In The Naked City
||Ace Records 2008||CD||18.00 €
|VA: - J & S Harlem Soul
Zell Sanders' nest of labels brought Harlem and Bronx talent to the local black New York soul scene.
|Ace Records 2008||CD||18.00 €
|VA: - Jack Nitzsche Story 1963-78 - Hearing Is Believing
26 biisiä mm Jack Nitzsche, Frankie Laine, Round Robin, Paris Sisters..
|Ace Records 2005||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Jerry Ragovoy Story - Time Is On My Side 1953-2003
A Celebration of the musical genius of this superb R&B / Soul all-rounder. Includes the original versions of many hall of fame classics
|Ace Records 2008||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Kent 30 - Best Of Kent Norther 1982-2012
This CD is a look at the Kent label’s Northern Soul history, heritage and future. There’s more to Kent than just Northern Soul, but that’s how we started in 1982 when Mary Love’s ‘You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet’ kicked off the “For Dancers Only” vinyl album. We covered the ballad side recently on “Deep Shadows: The Best Of Kent Ballads” CDKEND 342.
The “For Dancers Only” LP gets a nod with Gene & Gary’s duet of Danny Monday’s ‘Baby Without You’, here on CD for the first time. There is a host of exclusives, several not issued in any format before: Alexander Patton’s ‘True Love (Is In The Heart)’ will open traditional Northern fans’ eyes and ears the most, being from the same session and of a similar feel to his classic ‘A Lil Lovin’ Sometimes’, and Marva Holiday’s ‘Rising Higher’ is a fabulous Sherlie Matthews’ song that will be admired by progressive Northern fans.
Modern soul has been a part of the Kent landscape since 1984’s “Moving On Up” album. We celebrate that branch of our music with Darrow Fletcher’s ‘No Limit’ and the Paramount Four’s anthemic ‘Sorry Ain’t The Word’, both debuting on CD. 70s soul fans may well buy the CD for these two alone.
Our forthcoming Pied Piper spring range is launched with the original alternate take of Lorraine Chandler’s 60s Detroit opus ‘You Only Live Twice’; the song that gave birth to Yvonne Baker’s ‘You Didn’t Say A Word’. From the same stable comes the Pied Piper Players (aka Motown’s Funk Brothers) on ‘Ooh It Hurts Me’, a massive 60s newie of recent years as a stunning, unheard instrumental.
Representing the Dave Hamilton chapter are O.C. Tolbert and Little Ann’s rare soul classics, both presented in mixes different from our previous releases. Ben E King with ‘Gettin’ To Me’ heads our legendary discoveries section. Melba Moore, Chuck Jackson and Maxine Brown’s unissued recordings that re-floated the grounded SS Northern Soul in the 80s are here, as are the Magicians, whose vocal to ‘Double Cookin’’ shook up the Northern nation.
There are vinyl-finding tales of two of the biggest big beat ballads of them all and a story concerning picking up a handful of sleeveless singles in a producer’s house and seeing an undocumented Wand label for Walter Wilson’s 60s stomper which had been assumed to exist as tape only. Luther Ingram supplies the mother of all R&B/Northern crossover numbers, while Bobby Wisdom preens over his potential price tag of £4000; if you can find one.
There are classy crowd-pleasers from Toni & the Showmen, Sugar & the Spices, the Fiestas and the Sweethearts that have been marooned on Kent label stories, neglected by all but the pure in heart.
Advances in technology mean that the audio is vastly improved on tracks we first released 10 or 15 years ago. On some titles we were able to access superior quality multi-track masters and in Melba Moore’s case we even found an alternative vocal take. It is the first time the 45 mix of Johnny Maestro’s dramatic ‘I’m Stepping Out Of The Picture’ has been reissued. The quality of Chuck Jackson’s ‘Millionaire’ in particular is awesome, while the Magicians now has a potentially life-threatening dynamic.
The booklet contains 9,000 words of wisdom, re-telling the Kent Northern saga for long-term inmates or explaining where it all came form for the more recent converts. That’s 30 stunning soul sounds; one for each glorious year. It is not only a celebration but a revelation too; we hope you enjoy the hyperbole.
By Ady Croasdell (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2012||CD||18.00 €
|VA: - LA's Silver Soul: Lee Silver's Symphonic Productions
Stunningly good but rare West Coast 60s & 70s harmonic soul-.-from an unheralded producer whose time has come at last.
By Ady Croasdell (Ace Records)
I'll tell you how good this CD is. I'm listening right through it for a final check on how it sounds technically, I'm up to track 18 and loving it, and I've just realised there's still four or five of my favourites to come. Unfortunately it ain't always that way. After you've played a compilation several times, in the course of getting it ready for production, ear-hole fatigue usually sets in. Even tracks that are well worthy of inclusion can drag a bit after the eighth run through, but not on this one Baby.
It helps that Lee Silver's work is almost as big a pleasant surprise to me as it probably is to you. As recently as less than two years ago I didn't expect the man who had been responsible for writing the Royal Teens Short Shorts (covered over here by none less than Freddie and The Dreamers) to have produced a string of sublime soul singles throughout the 60s & 70s.
It mainly came about through Lee's management of, and friendship with, the Pentagons. After their first doo wop hit To Be Loved, the group cut two great early soul singles for Jamie, one for Philips under the alias of the Chesterfields and then broke up into two groupings. Lead singer Joe Jones aka Joey Jones aka Joe C Jones went solo and then returned to Lee's stable in the late 60s as the Jones Brothers with his half-brother and ex-Pentagon Otis Munson. The rest of the group under the guidance of original group member Ken Goodloe formed a new outfit, which was known variously as the Corduroys, Themes, 21st Century and Soul Patrol. It was this conglomeration that was responsible for a very large proportion of Lee's soul music output, contributing 11 of the 24 tracks here.
Apart from occasional great lead vocals, Ken Goodloe wrote most of his groups' material in association with his brother Ted or Bill James-.-he sometimes called himself B Goode on the credits. That was how he described himself on the mysterious Pentagons' double-sider, Gonna Wait For You / Forever Yours. The first side moves at a great pace and features the group at its finest in harmonies and traded lead vocals, while the beautiful ballad flip of Forever Yours harks back to their successful vocal group days with a beautiful soul song. To make it more intriguing it seems that it wasn't the Pentagons classic line up at all, more the Goodloe brothers grouping-.-it was apparently first issued as by the Corduroys. As the Themes that group reached the highest peaks for me with one Minit 45, Bent Out Of Shape / No Explanation Needed and two terrific unreleased tracks, Do Yourself A Favor / Reminds Me Of You held in the can for more than thirty years. Having said that, all the 21st Century tracks are good-.-the previously unreleased Search The World Over being a particularly wonderful ballad which exemplifies Lee's symphonic approach to producing and his ear for a great song.
The Jones Brothers have the biggest number of individual credits on the CD with six songs. My favourites are the big ballad sound of That's All Over Baby and their so soulful take on Good Old Days which utilises the same backing track as Nathan Williams' ultra rare (and equally good) Lime recording 'What Price'. Apart from Nathan Williams' 45 there was also a one-off single from Minnie Jones & The Minuettes whose version of Shadow Of A Memory on Sugar Records is highly rated by DJs and collectors and adds a female touch to an otherwise male dominated CD.
However the third major grouping in Lee's stable also featured females. The Primers aka the Vines consisted of three guys and two girls from San Diego, and though they only came out with two released singles, their How Does It Grab You on Hale Records has proved to be one of the biggest Northern Soul vinyl discoveries of recent years. They also cut a follow up called It's Laid On You which is pretty damned hot too and we hope to include that on a later CD of Lee's material.
Lee's music has been one of the delightful surprises of the last few years for me and I'm sure Kent fans will be thrilled too. The fact that he's such a thoroughly nice chap too has been a bonus for me and the many soul fans who have been contacting him to pass on their praise and to see whether he has any old Hale singles lying about anywhere. He doesn't, but you can get all that great music on this little s(S?)ilver disc.
|Ace Records 2003||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Larry Banks' Soul Family Album
It sounds dramatic to say that this CD was Dave Godin’s last musical request, but then Dave wasn’t afraid of drama and was prepared to do almost anything to promote his beloved causes. So: Dave Godin’s last words to me before he left this mortal coil were "Make sure that Larry Banks tribute CD gets done".
Many UK soul fans knew Dave’s work from his championing of the early days of Northern Soul. He loved the concept, the fanaticism and passion and its independence from a music business which he thought cynical and more in love with the pound than the music. Later soul fans were able to share his ultimate passion through the Deep Soul tracks that adorned the four CD volumes of "Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures". Dave often said that these were his proudest achievements. If we look at the front cover of the very first volume (he didn’t really expect it to sell enough to warrant a follow up), we see the first of the selected artists names was Larry Banks. That was a conscious decision to give pride of place to the work of Larry and his two wives, Bessie and Jaibi, who also shine out from that momentous CD cover. Their music was a constant and rewarding chapter in Dave’s musical enlightenment.
He quickly realised that Larry was more of a behind the scenes’ musician than a performer and so took a great interest and pleasure in the songs and productions that Larry was involved with throughout his life. That led to the discovery of such accomplished and often inspired acts as Kenny Carter, the Dynamics and the Geminis.
Kent and Dave had a mutually beneficial relationship and it was nice that we could repay Dave’s faith in us by uncovering more of his heroes’ music in the form of unreleased master tapes. At roughly the same time that Dave’s Soul Treasures, vol 1 came out we issued Rare Collectible And Soulful Vols 1 & 2. These featured unreleased RCA masters including great finished productions of Larry’s songs on Kenny Carter, the Cavaliers and the Metros. There were others that we saved for this project, notably the Kenny Carter and the Cavaliers ballads and the Geminis fast and funky dance numbers.
Getting even closer to the source, we made contact with GWP Productions, for whom Larry had been the main soul A&R man in the 60s. Though some of his work ended up at RCA there were also terrific independent productions on the Devonnes and an unknown male group called the Shaladons. Even better for Dave was the discovery of extra Jaibi tracks including her original demo of You Got Me, which, with a superior tape copy of Go Now and Kenny Carter’s original unreleased take on Lights Out meant this CD met Dave’s highest standards.
Not being limited to Deep Soul meant that I could unleash Northern Soul dancers like Milton Bennett (Larry’s Go Now co-composer)’s What’s One More Lie, the Dynamics’ My Life Is No Better, the Devonnes’ Doin’ The Getting Up and the Shaladons superior take on the Hesitations’ We Can Do It. Larry’s own vocals often matched up to those of his pupils and his Select 45 Will You Wait was a recording Dave had championed since the 60s. His quirky Spring single is absolutely captivating in this setting, whereas when I originally picked it up I just thought it was good but unclassifiable soul.
Bessie Banks’ moving tribute to Dave at his funeral showed that here was more than the usual critic and musicians relationship. Dave had become a regular correspondent with several members of the Banks family and their contributions to this CD have been invaluable, taking us back to that most creative period of the 1960s, when sublime soul music was being created. Even though it’s taken forty years to access and appreciate some of it ; it’s been well worth the wait.
Ady Croasdell (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2007||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Laurie Records Story Vol. 3
When I think “girl group label”, visions of Philles, Red Bird and Dimension do the locomotion in my head. But I’ve always thought of Laurie as the home of Bronx deities Dion and the Belmonts. (I grew up there – let me assure you, we built shrines.) Sure, Laurie had the Chiffons, but otherwise, what else?
Plenty else, as this femmecentric third volume of the Laurie Records Story vividly illustrates. It turns out that several of the genre’s most revered figures made under-the-radar contributions to the imprint’s oeuvre. Ace compiler (and girl group ace) Mick Patrick has rounded up 24 compelling arguments for Laurie’s girl group bona-fides.
Barely resembling Tommy James’ garage-y remake, the original ‘Hanky Panky’ by the Summits name-checks its producers, the Tokens. The song’s co-writer, Brill Building Queen Ellie Greenwich, moonlights as Les Girls with session cohort Mikie Harris. The duo sang countless backups for many years (they’re on Blondie’s 1976 debut LP) and it’s nice to hear them front and centre on ‘I Still Love You’. Another studio stalwart, Jean Thomas, is known to have masqueraded as the Powder Puffs, Rag Dolls and Beach Girls. Here, she’s the Cheese Cakes on the bouncy ‘Heading For A Heartbreak’.
Noms de plumes abound. Brenda Lee Jones (Jean of Dean & Jean) channels Motown and Marie Antoinette (supposedly the notorious Alice Wonder Land) perches atop the wall of sound.
Van McCoy fashioned ‘Shy Guy’ for the Charmers, but scoring with an Essex soundalike was easier said than done. The genre-defining voice of Mary Aiese, our beloved Reparata, is heard at the very beginning and end of her glorious recording career.
There is no shortage of unsung heroines, either. Occasional Angel Bernadette Carroll emotes the bizarre ‘Circus Girl’ and young drama queen Dawn lays on the angst with a trowel borrowed from the Shangri-Las. But of all the unknowns we know, perhaps Beverly Warren was most unjustly denied success with Goffin-King’s majestic ‘Let Me Get Close To You’, backed by the Cookies. A brilliant vocalist, Bev still performs in the New York area.
As valedictorians of Laurie’s girl group class, the Chiffons make four late-60s appearances. Their hit-making heyday behind them, the Bronx quartet settled for artistic triumph on the thumping ‘Stop, Look And Listen’ and the brooding ‘If I Knew Then (What I Know Now)’. Years earlier, the Chiffons’ first visit to the studio had yielded the era’s most successful girl group song (‘He’s So Fine’), but their magnum opus came in 1969. ‘Love Me Like You’re Gonna Lose Me’, produced and written by Irwin Levine and latter-day Brill Building princess Toni Wine, is simply a masterpiece. With a shimmering arrangement by the formidable John Abbott and shared, soulful leads by Judy Craig and Sylvia Peterson, this song deserved to be a mega-hit.
So here’s an opportunity to enjoy some undiscovered classics, many making their CD debut. Not one of the songs herein managed to trouble the Billboard charts. It only sounds like a greatest hits collection.
By Dennis Garvey
|Ace Records 2009||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Let's Crossover Again
||Ace Records 1999||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Love Songs
Elvis, Jackie Wilson, Dino Desi & Billy, Tom Jones, Paul Anka, Bobby Darin, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Brooklyn Bridge,Lulu, Beatles, The Fifth Dimension, Smokey Robinson, The Carpenters, The Mamas & Papas. 63 min. 18 tracks.
|Eagle Vision 2004||DVD||9.00 €
|VA: - Manhattan Soul Vol. 2
Scepter, Wand and Musicor have been a staple of the Kent connoisseur’s diet for nearly thirty years, since Jack Montgomery’s ‘Dearly Beloved’ opened the “Club Soul” Kent LP in 1984. Along with stunning solo compilations from Maxine Brown, Tommy Hunt, Chuck Jackson and the Shirelles there have been about a dozen LP and CD compilations of all the great artists who didn’t have enough tracks for solo albums. These varied from out-and-out Northern Soul, to big city ballads, to Southern Soul to Modern and funk. We don’t categorise quite as much nowadays and Kent has always been liberal in its mixing of the genres, so it is not surprising to see a typically diverse selection on our latest Manhattan Soul volume.
One of the main reasons we’ve re-visited the series is the new access we have had to the multi-track tapes, which either contained previously unheard songs or offered great tape quality on seminal tracks that had been dubbed from disc n the past. The “new to our ears” recordings on this compilation include Jimmy Radcliffe’s original demo (or first stage recording) of his classic self-penned song ‘Deep In The Heart Of Harlem’, a Benny Gordon rousing vocal work-out to his fast and funky ‘Horsin’ Around’ groove, Lois Lane’s rhythm & soul with a touch of gospel ‘No Jealous Lover’ and the Catalinas’ blue eyed beach music of ‘Who Knows Better’.
Greatly improved sound quality can be heard on the Soul Brothers beat ballad ‘The Parade Of Broken Hearts’, Ed Bruce’s sublime study in melancholy ‘I’m Gonna Have A Party’ and the most infectious dancer since ‘Dance To The Music’ in Lou Lawton’s ‘Knick Knack Patty Wack’; don’t let that title phase you.
While we were recreating those sessions from the 60s we looked at the whole of the formidable catalogue and found some wonderful masters that hadn’t been available since the vinyl to CD switch. Tracks from soul legends such as Big Maybelle with ‘How Do You Feel Now’, Roscoe Robinson and his plaintive ‘Lonesome Guy’ and tommy Hunt's ‘New Neighbourhood’ which took me back to those rammed-out, steamy 100 Club all nighters of the mid 80s. Other gems like Willie Hatcher’s magnificent ‘Who Am I Without You Baby’, Joe Perkins’ atmospheric ‘Runaway Slave’ and the close soul harmony of the Premiers on ‘Lonely Weatherman’ had never graced a digital disc before.
Researching the music was no less interesting than listening to it. We unearthed a current member of the US House Of Representatives; a lead singer who flew his plane into a mountain; and a one-single wonder who still plies his trade crooning in Las Vegas.
Apart from the Big Apple, there’s a hunk of Philly, a splash of Chicago and some Memphis grits; all making for a soul food sandwich to savour.
By Ady Croasdell (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2012||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Masterpieces Of Modern Soul
To the uninitiated I won't go into the full explanation of Modern Soul, there are more than enough words in the sleevenotes. Suffice it to say that it is primarily danceable 70s soul music with a solid, as opposed to a funky beat.
Having said that, the Modern Soul crowd has a very liberal view on what is danceable and having emerged at least partly as an antidote to the 100mph Northern Soul stompers, are willing to wander on to the dancefloor to the most laid-back of tunes. In fact the intimacy of many of their venues and the occasional lack of floor space often sees discerning soul fans grooving to their favourites on linoleum, sticky carpet or even table tops. The quality of the song and the singer's performance are given higher priority than the correctness of the rhythm, while clever dance moves are considered less important than say flowery bowling shirts or an encyclopaedic knowledge of Tyrone Davis' recording career.
One of the most typical Modern Soul tracks on this CD would be Ted Taylor's recently discovered master tape Fair Warning. Ted was a southern USA style, emotional soul singer with an accomplished roster of recordings. The song was provided by some of Leon Haywood's admired writing team, has a memorable melody, apt lyrics and moves at an easy mid tempo pace for 30+ year-olders. It has a full production with string and horn sections and a few funky guitar licks thrown in at the change of tempo breaks. Some discerning Modern Soul DJs have been given advance copies of the track to insinuate it into the subconscious of their unquestioning followers (joke!), so as this is the only form in which it is available to the public, sales are assured and I could shut up now.
But checking my word count and the rest of the music on the CD, I won't. Similarly soulful 70s offerings include tracks by Millie Jackson, Jacqueline Jones, the Four Tees (no relation to the 6TS) and Garland Green. Even more laid-back crossover numbers abound in Sam Nesbit's rare and expensive Chase Those Clouds Away and the Millionaires' great soul group sound I'm The One Who Loves You.
Several of the items will appeal to Northern fans too, especially the Houston Outlaws' vinyl rarity Ain't No Telling: a hugely tuneful and attractive song. The opening track, previously unissued, will excite all kinds of soul fans, as Debra Johnson's To Get Love You've Got To Give Love is danceable, soulful and features the kind of classy Miles Grayson arrangement that made Lynn Varnado's Wash And Wear Love such a rare soul classic. This song also features the noteworthy lyric "I don't want to be just your appetiser: now your main course is someone else" (note to self, must approach KFC with view to licensing). Lynn's super rare single Second Hand Love is also featured and, like the Ronnie Walker and Pretenders tracks, is more old school 70s Northern than Modern but falls under the latter's big musical umbrella.
Like most good Kent CDs, there are some pleasant surprises that many might have missed. I was particularly chuffed with the Jean Shy Fantasy track that I found lurking in my racks after collector Dave Welding reminded me of it. Similarly I hadn't realised how much I enjoyed the Renfro Records oddity Love Me Baby by Tender Loving Care until I'd listened through the finished master a couple of times.
Some of the tracks have been out in one form or another but probably have been missed by most Modern Soul devotees. It's not too likely that soul fans would have added the double LP, BGP CD of jazz brother Idris Muhammad just to get the soulful I'm A Believer on to their sound system. Similarly many will have missed out on the early 80s soul of Gil Billingsley as it was featured on a primarily 60s Kent Detroit soul CD. Al Christian's Chant single version of Bobby Wilburn's I'm A Lonely Man is quite different from the original, and as Steve "Guru" Guarnori pointed out to me, is not to be found on either of the Bill Haney Chant CDs on Kent.
We've jumped at the chance to re-release Mary Love Comer's Modern Soul anthem Come Out Of The Sandbox simply because we could. It's not been out since Kent's Mary Love solo CD that combined her early Modern songs with the later Colove recordings. Listening to it again for this compilation, I was bemused as to why it had sold in relatively low numbers-.-it really is a good CD (hint, hint).
Finally I was hit by a piece of glaringly obvious inspiration and managed to license a 2002 recording from Lou Pride to round of this disc. Bringin' Me Back Home is a great soul song for any decade and reflects well on the Modern Soul crowd who are constantly seeking out the best US soul tracks for their appreciation and enjoyment, whatever the date on the disc is.
by Ady Croasdell (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2003||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Masterpieces Of Modern Soul Vol. 3
It’s been two years since the last in our “Masterpieces Of Modern Soul” series. We compilers patiently accumulate a list of ingredients for the forthcoming feast and when it appears that the quantity and quality of the components are just so, into the pot they go. Occasionally the concoction doesn’t taste quite right and we jettison a flavour once its replacement has been lined up.
The fun is in the cooking and this time my initial flavour-burst came with the opening track, an obscure 1978 Los Angeles release by 7 Days Unlimited on the Big Town label, a subsidiary of Modern. It’s so laid back, the guys’ heads touch the floor, but the record has so much quality I’m sure it will be acclaimed a classic once heard.
After such a left-field choice, my conservative nature kicked in and I followed up with two sure-shots. Art Gentry’s 1972 Fame Studios recording of a great George Jackson song, ‘This Is My Chance’ has been played by discerning customers since its debut on Ace in 1997; now at last it is featured on a dedicated dance compilation. Similarly certain will be the positive reaction to Candi Staton’s ‘One More Hurt’ – if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
As with the Art Gentry track, the Hesitations’ ‘Go Away’ and Loleatta Holloway’s ‘This Man’s Arms’ first appeared on Kent promotional vinyl. It seems a bit odd to be illustrating our own records in the booklet, but with limited presses and the passing of up to 16 years, these babies ain’t spotted too often.
The contributions of Eddie Hill, the Sweeteens, Nightchill and James Carpenter have all been on Kent CDs before, but mainly on label- or producer-based collections that may have escaped the busy modern soul man about town.
The CD also boasts its quotient of previously unreleased gems. Marshall McQueen interprets his excellent composition ‘Any Fool Can Feel It’ to a fully orchestrated track produced by evergreen Los Angeles legend Kent Harris. Detroit singer Rose Batiste offers her last-known recording ‘The Feeling Is Gone’, created by writer-producers George McGregor and Jerry Williams. If the credits weren’t enough to excite, listen to the wailing desperation in Rose’s voice and rejoice in this long lost tape’s appearance.
Although the modern vibe tends to be mid-tempo and super-soulful these days, we never forget our Northern roots and records such Charles Russell’s Dave Crawford-produced ‘It Ain’t Easy’ helped mould both dance scenes from its discovery in the late 70s, a handful of years after its release. The admirable Jesse Davis gives us an out-and-out uptempo dancer from his San Diego-produced album “Hollywood Gypsies”.
One to raise the eyebrows of the vinyl hounds is Gloria Lucas’ ‘You Won’t Be True’ on the insanely rare Flodavieur label. I doubt if this has had many plays as copies just aren’t around; we have a label scan to prove it exists, though. The Crusaders and Betty Gouché will also set you back a few quid to own the plastic, while Tommy Bush’s first of two Specialty 45s is reasonably priced now, but get onto this winner sharp-ish, while you still can.
We’ve also got deep soul from Barbara Brown, scat singing from Melvin Sparks’ vocalist Jimmy Scott, modern soul monsters from Tommy Tate and Eddie Billups, slow grooves from Darondo and even some hot-lovin’ from Pat Livingstone. If that don’t turn you on, nowt will.
By Ady Croasdell (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2011||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Memphis Boys - The Story Of American Studios
There can be few with an interest in the music of the American South who didn’t welcome the recent publication of Memphis Boys, Roben Jones’ essential history of American Studios.
Established by songwriter-producer Chips Moman and his business partner Don Crews in 1964, it took a couple of years for American to find its true audio identity, but once the in-house group of key musicians – the Memphis Boys of Roben’s title – were all in place the steady trickle of hits and future classics quickly became a flood. Thanks to those players – Tommy Cogbill, Reggie Young, Bobby Emmons, Gene Chrisman, Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham and others – the American sound became as important a part of recording history as that which emanated from the studios of Motown, Cosimo’s, FAME and Memphis neighbours Sun, Stax and Hi.
The first Hot 100 biggies to be recorded at American – James & Bobby Purify’s ‘Shake A Tail Feather’ and Oscar Toney Jr’s ‘For Your Precious Love’ – were taped at the same session in March 1967, around the same time as Dan Penn was putting the Box Tops through their paces on ‘The Letter’, one of the biggest hits of 1967 and American’s first worldwide chart-topper. Not a bad year by anyone’s standards.
How quickly American’s stock rose in the eyes of others – particularly the companies that used the studio and the Memphis Boys on a regular basis – can be assessed by the fact that, by 1968, American was entertaining a client roster that included Neil Diamond, Petula Clark, B.J. Thomas, Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield and a local boy by the name of Elvis Presley who was looking to make his music as relevant as it had been 15 years earlier.
Although this collection doesn’t contain every major hit that came out of the funky little studio on Thomas Street, Memphis (we’re saving some for a possible second volume), as a listening experience it’s hard to beat – particularly when enjoyed in conjunction with Roben’s brilliant book.
By Tony Rounce (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2012||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - More Miles Than Money 2CD
More Miles Than Money: Journeys Through American Music is a book I researched and wrote between 2006-2008. In many ways I’d been waiting my entire life to write More Miles. Growing up in Mt Roskill – a working class suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, where there were no music venues, cinemas, pubs, nothing but churches and rugby fields – I took refuge in Mark Twain and Jack Kerouac’s adventures while AM radio (modelled on US radio) spun hits by Freddy Fender, the Amazing Rhythm Aces, Little Feat et al. I dreamed of escaping Auckland’s suburbs to ride Route 66 and Highway 61, ears and eyes open. Eventually I got to live my dream and More Miles is the story of those travels.
I didn’t know it back then but Kiwi radio was often playing music akin to that which Charlie Gillett played on his Honky Tonk radio show in London. Discovering Charlie’s book The Sound Of The City sent me scouring through secondhand bookstores in search of old copies of Cream, Creem and Let It Rock, where the writings of Charlie and other likeminded journalists appeared. I’d go so far as to say that a feature Charlie wrote on the great New Orleans producer-arranger Harold Battiste (Cream #5, Sept 1971) was what initially inspired me to want to search out the largely unsung heroes of American music.
At the same time as reading Charlie Gillett I was buying US imports on a variety of labels, with Arhoolie being my favourite. Mexican culture fascinated me, especially that which arose from the borderlands, the Tex-Mex/Tejano music. (Blame this on my dad taking me to see Sam Peckinpah’s westerns.) Discovering a bin full of Arhoolie Records in a downtown record shop introduced me to a treasure trove of magical Mexican American music and reading about Arhoolie founder Chris Strachwitz’s efforts to record the finest American vernacular music provided even more inspiration. Later on, Canyon Records would open my ears to how Native American culture celebrated its survival. Around the same time an uncle who loved jazz gave me Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” album – he found it too funky for his tastes. Talk about life-changing records: to this day Curtis remains my favourite US soul singer.
I dedicated More Miles Than Money to Charlie, Chris and the indomitable spirit of Curtis Mayfield. Tragically, Charlie died earlier this year. He, like Curtis, lives on as an indomitable spirit and continues to inspire me. This compilation is, again, dedicated to Charlie, Chris and Curtis: the three Cs who helped me hear America.
More Miles Than Money reflects on an America that made the mightiest music of the 20th Century. This compilation aims then to salute those who inspired me to ride US highways and document those I encountered as I wandered through honky-tonks, juke joints and barrios. Enjoy!
By Garth Cartwright (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2010||CD||20.00 €
|VA: - More Perfect Harmony - Sweet Soul Groups 1967-1975
The general popularity of 60s and early 70s ‘Group Soul’ seems to continue to be on the rise, an increasingly collectable commodity in recent years. This is due in no small part to the swell of interest among doo wop collectors in the past 10-15 years. The line between the very best doo wop cuts and the very best soul harmony sides is not a very long one. Thus it was perhaps inevitable that those collectors who either have every important group record from the 1950s and early 60s – or can’t afford to invest in the ones they don’t have – would eventually unite them with those of us who have long extended a similar level of appreciation in the other direction.
Kent’s “In Perfect Harmony” series was introduced to cater to both camps, with a mixture of tried and trusted soul favourites – by some of the genre’s most outstanding groups – and previously unissued gems from group soul’s golden decade (approximately 1966-1976, in your compiler’s opinion). Its aims, as a series, are to show that these kind of records were both pan-American and multi-racial in their execution and that, as always, soul – and in this case, sweet soul - is not really about where you’re from or what colour you are. This is especially true of our all-new Volume Two. Within its hour and a bit’s playing time, we feature blue-eyed soulsters from Nashville in the Magnificent 7, the mixed race Soulville All-Stars from Pittsburgh, PA (who also played their own instruments, as well as singing as pretty as you like) and the pride of New York’s latin soul community, brother Joe Bataan. We also have the best in African American vocal groups – of both sexes - from cities as far apart as Memphis and Detroit, Los Angeles and New York, New Jersey and Chicago. All, we’re happy to say, fully dedicated to bringing you MORE PERFECT HARMONY in the sweetest and loveliest way.
Aside from the obvious fact that we are joyfully privileged to bring you hitherto unreleased gems from the vaults of Stax, Twinight and Westbound Records, I’m personally delighted - as series compiler - that so many of our inclusions have never previously been reissued, in any shape or form. There’s something great going on here, almost everywhere you point the CD player’s laser, be it the sultry Island Soul of Foxy’s I Like The Way You Love Me, the endearingly low-budget lilt in Lee Williams and The Cymbals’ Northern favourite A Girl From A Country Town, the relentless beauty of the Climates sublime Memphis masterpiece No You For Me or the overwhelmingly intense Chi-town classic Someone Else’s Arms by Channel 3 – at least twenty times better than its much acclaimed Northern flip The Sweetest Thing (something on which annotator John Ridley and compiler yours truly both agree!).
These are just a few of the many delights in store for you in “More Perfect Harmony” – a CD with a heartbeat that is summed up by Joe Bataan’s exquisite version of the Exits’ essential Under The Streetlamp. Doo wop and group soul devotees alike can both agree that, where this kind of music’s concerned, the “Street”s the same, only the “Lamp” has been changed to protect the heritage!
By Tony Rounce (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2005||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Move With The Groove - Hardcore Chicago Soul 2CD
||Charly Records 2012||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Next Stop Is Vietnam - The War On Record 1961-2008
(13-CD set, LP-sized slipcase with 304page hardcover book. 334 tracks, playing time: more than 16h:49min). The most comprehensive anthology of music inspired by the Vietnam War ever released. Over 330 titles covering all facets of the war and its aftermath featuring The Doors, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Country Joe McDonald and dozens of other artists. Rarely heard documentary material including patriotic Public Service Announcements, field news reports and intercepted North Vietnamese radio transmissions of Jane Fonda and Hanoi Hannah. A heavily illustrated, full-colour 304-page book containing extensive artist/song notes, Vietnam War history and recollections by vets on their favourite songs. Two discs of music exclusively by Vietnam veterans. Never-before-released tracks recorded during the war by in-country soldiers. Mister, Where Is Vietnam ...NEXT STOP IS VIETNAM: The War On Record, 1961-2008 is a stunning, years-in-the-making anthology of the Vietnam War's musical legacy. Presented on 13 CDs with a 304-page book illustrated with numerous archival photographs, this collection examines the war in a powerful and unprecedented way. Over 330 music and spoken word tracks take the listener through a guided tour of this epochal period of modern history. From America's first, na‹ve impressions of a country called Vietnam through the spirited musical debate over the morality of the war to the healing meditations on the conflict's lengthy aftermath, this set captures it all and more. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez,Merle Haggard, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Ochs, Johnny Cash, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, The Doors, Country Joe McDonald and dozens of other artists including many Vietnam veterans are the tour guides through this enlightening and entertaining journey. - The full-color book that accompanies the music is packed with information on the songs and the artists who recorded them by music scholar Hugo A. Keesing; a history of the war by Vietnam historian Lois T. Vietri; and an oral history of the tunes that 'incountry' vets loved best by authors Doug Bradley and Craig Werner. The introduction to this remarkable tome is written by the legendary Country Joe McDonald. Strap in for a long and fascinating ride ...NEXT STOP IS VIETNAM.
|Bear Family 2010||CD-Box||200.00 €
|VA: - Nobody Wins - Stax Southern Soul 1968-1975
One of the projects that we feel proudest of is “Take Me To The River: A Southern Soul Story”. It was a labour of love and a lot of people were very appreciative of it, justifying our own confidence in the project. In the wake of its success we thought it would be good to do some single CD follow-up projects looking at specific areas of the Southern Soul world; unfortunately other things got in the way, including the rather wondrous opportunities we have had with the chaps at Fame, so we put the idea on the back burner until we could do it properly. With “Nobody Wins” I hope we have been able to do so.
Focussing on the output of Stax Records may seem like shooting fish in a barrel, but by 1968 a lot had changed at the label that had effectively codified Southern Soul music with William Bell’s ‘You Don’t Miss Your Water’, and then took it to the world via Otis Redding. Otis had died in a plane crash in 1967 and then, at the termination of the label’s distribution deal with Atlantic, Stax had been left without its back catalogue. To combat these problems label head Al Bell had formulated a plan to make it a full-service record label, recording, manufacturing, distributing and marketing the recordings. To make this viable Stax had to compete with the biggest R&B label Motown and release far more material. With this is mind producer Don Davis was brought in to add some Detroit know-how, and music and ideas were imported from all over the USA.
Stax may not have been exclusively releasing Southern music any more but it was still a Southern label. Most of the acts were came from the local area, and as the biggest label outside R&B’s traditional Northern strongholds, it was a magnet for anyone from the region who hoped to get a record deal. On top of that the Southern sound was so successful that even records that were recorded in other parts of the country tried to emulate the sound (noticeable on Calvin Scott’s Stax album for example). “Nobody Wins” gives an overview of the prevailing developments within Southern Soul, which show a move from a Stax-dominated landscape with our earliest productions, to something that ends up looking towards the styles being championed by Hi Records on the other side of Memphis.
The music is uniformly excellent and sometimes, as on Johnny Daye’s ‘Stay Baby Stay’, William Bell’s ‘Loving On Borrowed Time’ or ‘Shouldn’t I Love Him’ by Mable John, transcendent. It is a great treat to be able to spotlight neglected cuts from Willie Singleton, Mack Rice or Freddie Waters, which have been hidden away as B-sides or on expensive box-sets. We’ve also discovered some previously unreleased gems from the previously unknown Sylvia and the Blue Jays, and from Bettye Crutcher and Chuck Brooks. It is also great to be able to focus on some better-known tracks by the Soul Children and Ollie & The Nightingales and bring them together with the other tracks featured here. From start to finish this is great, great soul music.
By Dean Rudland (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2012||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Northern Soul's Guilty Secrets
The Northern Soul scene started over four decades ago and was never meant to be more than a passing fad. It just got so good we couldn’t bear to let go, or grow up. We still have an emotional attachment to records played by teenagers to teenagers an eon ago. The music was all brand new to us at that time and being brought up in a culture thousands of miles away from its source, we had to make it up as we went along. Knowledge was limited and we had no idea of the circumstances or origins of the recordings. For all we knew, Barnaby Bye could have come straight outta Philly’s black ghetto. Actually, we wouldn’t have cared had we known they had long hair and flares; the beat and sound was all. Dance records were what we wanted. They were usually based on the classic Motown sound, but we veered off up many a dark musical alley. Soul revisionism didn’t happen until the momentum and euphoria finally calmed down in the late 70s.
I think all of the tracks on here were first played in the early 70s days of the scene (the Rumblers may have been a bit later) but hardly any of them have been played as oldies since. They’ve been airbrushed from our musical history. These are the ones we’ve removed from the DJ box, but left close to hand for that nostalgia trip. I can understand why more serious music fans look down on some of these tracks, but it really is their loss.
Ann D’Andrea is so basic I thought they’d sent a demo take, but what an uplifting bouncy, catchy number it is. I recently had a discussion about David & the Giants with a serious soul fan, who claimed their record’s appeal was down to the Fame studio musicians and production. I’m sure that was him trying to justify his love of it. I think it’s the way the group captured the essence and exuberance of young love that makes it.
That same goes for Kiki Dee’s ‘On A Magic Carpet Ride’. As a longhaired left-wing member of the Market Harborough underground in the late 60s, I couldn’t have pictured myself raving about a song featuring “rainbow’s end” lyrics in later years. John Fred’s ‘Hey Hey Bunny’ sounds like an early bubblegum record, but what fun and, if you’re a dancer, a great one to burn some energy off to.
I beg you to get past the artists and titles that have repelled you for years and give this maligned side of Northern Soul an honest appraisal. If it gets one grumpy soul stalwart skipping across the kitchen to ‘Put Me In Your Pocket’ it’ll all have been worthwhile.
By Ady Croasdell (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2011||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Original Up-Town Divas
18 tracks, 60 min Gladys Knight, Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, Tina Turner, Tanya Tucker, Susan Anson..
|GMVS 2004||DVD||9.00 €
|VA: - Pounds Of Soul
24 biisiä vuosilta 1967-1975
|Ace Records 2003||CD||18.00 €
|VA: - Pulp Fiction
||MCA Records 1994||CD||10.00 €
|VA: - Shattered Dreams - Funky Blues 1967-1978
As soul became the music of black America in the late 60s, blues performers had to adapt to survive. Playing to the white rock crowd was an attractive option, but in hundreds of sweaty, run-down clubs across the US an older urban black audience was still there to be entertained. Blues musicians made a few concessions to the age, added funk licks and a few soul screams and created some seriously good music, which has often been ignored by blues scholars. “Shattered Dreams” is BGP’s celebration of that period.
In recent years funky blues has become a sought-after genre, especially with younger collectors. Numbers such as Finis Tasby’s ‘It Took A Long Time’, Slim Green’s ‘Shake It Up’ and Buddy Guy’s ‘I’m Not The Best’ can all fill a dancefloor with their wild energy. The blues guys could certainly hit a groove, but if this CD captures anything it is a sense of despair you can hear as Smokey Wilson sings ‘You Shattered My Dreams’ – despair for an age that was fading away.
Drawn from the vaults of such influential players as Stax, Modern and legendary producer Johnny Otis, this is exciting music from major names such as Little Milton, Lowell Fulson and Albert King, all using the nous gathered through years on the chitlin’ circuit to keep themselves relevant to record-buying audiences of the day. Elsewhere we have some terminally obscure names and cult heroes. Finis Tasby and Smokey Wilson create music of great worth that was rarely heard at the time, never mind 40 years later. This is music that has been hidden away, sometimes ignored for being neither one thing nor the other.
Put “Shattered Dreams” in the player and you will very quickly be brought into a world of older guys still making it in the world. There is a lot of tough talk, but despite being cool, they are still stuck in a world of trouble full of women that make it hard for them, or who are trying to use them. Listen to Albert King on ‘Playin’ On Me’ and you are listening to a man expounding themes that wouldn’t sound out of place on rap records recorded decades later. The same could be said of Smokey Wilson’s previously unreleased ‘High Time’ or Arthur K Adams’ ‘Gimme Some Of Your Lovin’’.
These 21 tracks define an era when bluesmen were not the big stars they had been a decade or so earlier, struggling to keep it together in a world where their music was fast becoming a thing of the past.
By Dean Rudland (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2011||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Soul Of Money Records
High quality 60s and 70s LA soul from an indie label with a fine pedigree and polished productions.
|Ace Records 2002||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Soul Of Money Records Vol. 3
After John Dolphin was shot dead in 1958, his wife Ruth continued to run the business through to the mid 70s. She was very business savvy and knew how to pick the right people and delegate properly. Al Scott, Arthur Wright, Hank Jacobs, Don Julian and Rudy Ray Moore made sure that if it was a Money release it was going to be good.
This final volume of the Money soul story begins with Bettye Swann, the artist whose success was the rock on which this musical history was built. I’m not sure if the Northern soul public, or even the modern soul division, realise how good these tracks are. Virtually all self-penned, Bettye’s tracks manage to combine true emotion with the dance beats and hip sounds of the day. ‘Don’t Take My Mind’ and ‘The Heartache Is Gone’ both sound stunning while the LP version of ‘I Will Not Cry’ is totally different to the flip that sold a million copies on the back of ‘Make Me Yours’; it is far superior. Undoubtedly Bettye’s success in selling so well has led to some rare soul fans bypassing her 45s for scarcer sounds. I have done it myself, only to be extra pleased when I turn up overlooked gems like these.
Other Money, Ten Star, Utopia and Call Me releases on this volume include Bobby Angelle’s three tracks: a super-rare mid 60s dancer; an uptempo take on a great Jimmy Reed number and a churchified southern soul wailer á là James Brown. There’s a stomper and a beautiful ballad from the Larks, and an attempt to cash in on the beat boom by passing themselves off as a bunch of Limeys that fooled nobody apart from me. Other regular label Money contributors include M&M & The Peanuts with a vocal group ballad and a pretty mid-tempo ditty for all you lovers out there, while Hank Jacobs either fronting, or as just part of the TKOs, gives us two, possibly three, organ-led soul/jazz/funk groovers.
Money’s proliferation of great 60s soul sides has meant that its modern soul profile has never been particularly high, despite the excellence of those later releases: Delilah Moore, Pat Livingston and Eddie Horan being particular highlights. The unissued masters are also of very high quality, an example being the Choice Of Colors’ terrific 1971 recording, inexplicably left to gather dust on the shelves.
Other highlights include singer-songwriter Eric Williams’ one shot at stardom and an attempt at being Sam & Dave from Tommy & Eddie. (Earlier in the year they were known as Buster & Eddie of ‘Can’t Be Still’ Northern soul fame.) Both of those singles are scarce and collectable, as is the Question Marks track featured. The Mysteries are a made up “unknown” group name, thereby adding some whodunit action to the story. There are half a dozen catalogue numbers with no record allocated to them; perhaps they will turn out to be the missing releases and the Mysteries will be solved. If you’ve got those missing numbers languishing in your collection, don’t forget to tell us.
Ady Croasdell 2009 (Ace Records)
|Ace Records 2009||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Soul Vocal Groups from The West Coast Vol. 1
15 biisiä The Dupremes / Nights
|Famous Groove Records 1994||CD||12.00 €
|VA: - Soul Vocal Groups Vol. 1
From the West Coast - LA.
15 tracks : The Nights / The Dupremes
|Famous Groove 1994||CD||13.00 €
|VA: - Steppin' Stone - The XL and Sounds Of Memphis Story Vol. 3
When we began to search for the owners of the Sounds Of Memphis and XL record labels, we were aware of a small number of their releases, perhaps a CD or two’s worth of material – an interesting project to do some work on if we could secure a deal. It took us a few years to track down Gene and Linda Lucchesi and then a little bit longer to do the deal and get into the climate-controlled tape vault. Sitting at Ardent Studios in Memphis lining up the tapes and transferring the music contained on the reels we realised that we had something more exciting. This was an untapped mine of great recordings – Southern soul at its very finest. Our first objective was to get a Barbara Brown album completed and then a great compilation. Once we had completed those we realised that we hadn’t even touched the surface of what was available. Gene Lucchesi, who had started the label in the mid-60s, had been fairly free with his studio time while employing the best producers and the best musicians in town. We are now into our third various artists compilation of the material and if anything this contains some of the strongest cuts we have ever had.
My favourites come from the lesser-known artists. The two tracks by Willie Walker (the Goldwax singer) were produced as demos by George Jackson. The wonderful ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ and the equally classy ‘Run Around’, could quite easily have been released, such is their quality. I suspect Otis Wheat’s ‘I’m Your Slave’ comes from the same time and makes you wish that he had recorded more. William Bollinger recorded for Gene Lucchesi in the 60s and we have unearthed two more cuts that could easily become dancefloor winners in ‘People Are Talking’ and ‘I Won’t Have To Cry’. The Jacksonians – from Jackson, Mississippi – recorded six sides for SOM, of which only two were issued. We rectify that by digging out two previously unheard titles.
We have also found recordings from some of the favourites who have graced our earlier anthologies, such as another unreleased George Jackson master and a wonderful alternate take of ‘How Can I Get Next To You’. The Minits have three cuts here, two of which are unreleased. We have found an unissued Ovations gem called ‘The Plumber’ and the title track, an unreleased stepper from Louis Williams. Two other highlights for me are the Dan Greer cuts from the period when he was in-house producer for the label. They shine a light on not only his songwriting talents, but also his exceptional voice. We also venture into the 80s when Gene’s daughter Linda had taken over the business determined to prove that Memphis was still a hotbed of talent. She recorded the exceptionally talented Erma Shaw and Tekelia Kelly, both showcased here.
Will this goldmine ever be exhausted? I can only answer that vaguely: we’re on the case and more music will see the light of day.
By Dean Rudland (ACE Records)
|Ace Records 2010||CD||17.00 €
|VA: - Sweet Soul Music - 1970
1-CD DigiPac with 76-page booklet. 24 tracks, playing time: 85:39) -- Here comes the eagerly anticipated sequel to our first five volumes of 'Sweet Soul Music,' as well as the highly acclaimed, award-winning R&B series 'Blowin' The Fuse.' This is ehe sound that influences musicians who weren't even born when it came out, like Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone! All the greatest and most influential soul hits of the 1960s, including some surprisingly hard-to-find selections! Every song is the original version. The ultimate soul collection spread across ten individual CDs! The soul-searing soundtrack to the 1960s! Massive, beautifully illustrated booklets with detailed notes, incredible vintage photos, and ephemera. -- Over the course of ten spectacular years, R&B morphed into soul music with a side order of funk, and became the soundtrack to a social revolution. The riveting story of that incredible decade is told in full for the first time on Bear Family's 'Sweet Soul Music' series. Some record companies have compiled anthologies from their own vaults, but Bear Family has gone the extra mile... and then some, licensing classic recordings from virtually every record label at the epicenter of '60s soul to compile the greatest hits with the finest sound quality. -- The second five volumes, available now, cover the years 1966-1970. Though gospel remained the bedrock of soul music, the sound was transforming fast, thanks to Motown, Stax, the regional innovations of Chicago, New Orleans, and Muscle Shoals, and the funk revolution, led by James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone. The civil rights and antiwar movements were now rolling full speed ahead, and the messages at the heart of the music were often as powerful and invigorating as the grooves themselves. The second half of this incredible story is just as fascinating as the first. Bill Dahl's track-by-track commentary provides extensive biographical info on every artist on every disc. -- The prelude to this series, 'Blowin' The Fuse,' definitively covered the history of R&B from 1945- 1960, garnering awards and general acclaim. The first five volumes of 'Sweet Soul Music' earned the same enthusiastic response. Now here come the other five jam-packed volumes of 'Sweet Soul Music,' compiled with love by Dave 'Daddy Cool' Booth. -- Hits' Too many to mention! Consult the track listing!
|Bear Family 2009||CD||22.00 €
|VA: - Take Me To The River - A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977 3CD
selection of 75 songs that tell the story of the golden era of Southern Soul 1961-1977 with full notes and lavish illustrations in a 72 page booklet
|Ace Records 2008||CD-Box||48.00 €
LEVYMESSUT / TAPAHTUMAT
GOOFIN' RECORDS TULEVIA JULKAISUJA
GOOFIN' RECORDS VESIVAHINKO / WATER DAMAGE