Monday, August 31, 2009
Does ANYBODY know anything about this record?
Other than the fact that it's a masterpiece of song arrangement and was a northern soul staple in the early days of the scene, this is one of those big "head scratcher" records. The label says c1963 but I just don't believe that year; sounds much more like '65-'66 to me, but who knows.
TARI STEVENS - (YOUR LOVE WAS JUST A ) FALSE ALARM
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Even though this track was arranged by a major artist (Donny Hathaway) there is surprisingly little info out there about it. I can't even find a date that is accurate! It's a superb, feel good Chicago track with great vocals. It WAS reissued by RCA records, so someone saw the hit potential..
CENTER STAGE - HEY LADY
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Recorded during the in-between period of his career (Johnny started out as a bit of a teen idol in the 50's, then became immersed in Jamaican music c1967 where he began not only recording on the island but also became involved with Bob Marley and the Wailers) this incredible track was yet another flop for Johnny before his "comeback".
I would love to know who the backing musicians are on this track. It was arranged by the great Chicago fixture Johnny Pate.
JOHNNY NASH - LOVE AIN'T NOTHIN'
Friday, August 28, 2009
Not to be confused with Tyrone Davis' 1970 masterpiece with the same title, this stomper from Los Angeles based (born in Nebraska) singer Vernon Garrett is a thing unto itself.
Vernon is a journeyman singer who worked the L.A and bay area circuit, oftentimes with his wife at the time (Jewel) who died tragically in 1968. Vernon was despondent for a few years, but came back in a bluesier vein and continues to work to this day in a blues or gospel bag.
This is a wonderful example of a song that is perfectly written.
VERNON GARRETT - IF I COULD TURN BACK THE HANDS OF TIME
Thursday, August 27, 2009
It's been a while since I've featured any straight ahead r&b so what better choice than this wild Chicago blaster! This style was pretty much on its' way out at this time, replaced by the more sophisticated soul sounds. While I sure love those sophisticated sounds, sometimes these primal jams simply sound divine.
THE IDEALS - GO GET A WIG
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Ellie Greenwich, one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived (not to mention the fact that her work was trailblazing for women in music; not only as writer but also a producer), has passed away. Thank you for the music, Ellie.
I am breaking with tradition in featuring this song today as this version was never released on 45 (and not released at all for many years after it was recorded). This is my favorite Phil Spector production, and one of the most sublime songs of the sixties. It was released years later by Ronnie in a re-recorded version which is good but does not come close to the epic majesty of this track. This version is taken from the (vinyl) LP Phil Spector: Wall Of Sound Volume 6 (Rare Masters) Another example where writer, producer, musician and singers click to create magic. Perhaps this track was deemed too long to be a hit, but for my dollar, this is the greatest "unreleased" 45 ever.
I still get chills thinking about hearing Ronnie sing this at the Ponderosa Stomp in 2008.
TRIBUTE TO ELLIE GREENWICH: THE RONETTES - I WISH I NEVER SAW THE SUNSHINE
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
After a few hits and lineup changes, this group took on a surprising, harder edged sound for this single that wasn't a hit but should have been. What an incredible song.
The Orlons story is a bit too complex to get into here (their wikipedia entry is well written and comprehensive) but they hit big with "South Street" and "The Wah Wahtusi" in the pre-British Invasion days; kept making records such as this one but never had another hit).
THE ORLONS - DON'T YOU WANT MY LOVIN'
Monday, August 24, 2009
Can't seem to find much info (other than a discography) about this British group. This is their final single and they work wonders with this already great song from the Young Rascals, turning it into a psychedelic beat masterpiece with an incredible rave up ending.
THE TRUTH - SUENO
Sunday, August 23, 2009
No, it's not a typo...For his first release, this New Orleans legend's name was spelled Arron instead of Aaron.
Writen and recorded by a 19 year old Neville, this wonderful debut is actually the "b" side but an absolutely perfect Sunday oldie. HArd to believe that it would be another 6 years before he hit in a massive way with "Tell It Like It Is".
ARRON NEVILLE - EVERY DAY
Friday, August 21, 2009
Another mystery record! And SUCH A GREAT ONE! As you can probably tell, I'm an absolute sucker for these uptempo records with powerful female vocals, and I scoop up every one in sight (within reason). This one has especially slayed me. Being as it is written and co-produced by Chicago based Fred Hughes, I'll go out on a limb and say it's a Chicago record but who knows. If YOU know more, please don't hesitate to write!
ALDER RAY - MY HEART IS IN DANGER
Thursday, August 20, 2009
This debut of sorts (they recorded a few other records as The Dynamics - *not* the Dynamics that recorded "Misery", but another Detroit based Dynamics!) finds this group confidently making their mark right from the start, four years before they hit BIG with "Whatcha See Is What You Get".
THE DRAMATICS - ALL BECAUSE OF YOU
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Wish I knew something about this group to share, but I haven't found any info about them (if you know any, please write!)
This is a great, pulsating psych/ garage track with great harmonies and guitar work.
ERIK & THE SMOKE PONIES - I'LL GIVE YOU MORE
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Recorded 5 years before Teddy Pendergrass took over lead vocal duties from John Atkins (who is heard here on one of his first lead vocals after Bernard Williams left to form The Original Blue Notes. Huh? One of the rare cases when the named person in the band (Harold Melvin) was hardly ever a lead singer.
This Philadelphia group lasted from the early '50's until Melvin's death in the late 90's, but in this writer's humble opinion, this is the best thing they ever did. Incredibly passionate lead vocals and wonderful group backing with an arrangement to die for. I have learned that just about any record that has Richard Barrett's name on the label as writer producer or arranger is gonna be a winner (for instance, "Are You Satis-fied" by the 3 Degrees a few weeks ago).
HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES - GET OUT (AND LET ME CRY)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Formed in Jersey City, NJ in 1962, this group has seen many lineup changes over their long existence. However, this record finds the original lineup in all their glory.
A beautiful double sider. (Note: The Boston Monkey here is a completely different song than the one with the same title by Billy Butler).
THE MANHATTANS - FOLLOW YOUR HEART
Saturday, August 15, 2009
This slow burning cover of The Beatles psychedelic epic opus is a thing of wonder!
While the original recording is hard to beat, legendary blues and soul vocalist Parker transforms the number into something uniquely his own, but still retains an ominous, psychedelic vibe.
Sadly, Junior died of a brain tumor the year after this record was cut at only 39 years old.
JUNIOR PARKER - TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS
Friday, August 14, 2009
Here's a wonderful track from a Columbus, OH group that I have just read also recorded as The Soul Partners. This is an excellent track that, with better promotion and distribution, easily could have been a hit.
THE VONDORS - LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Thursday, August 13, 2009
One Of the greatest (and quite possibly THE finest) west coast soul record, this sublime 2 sider is a record I dreamed of owning for a long time, and happily it now resides in a special place in my collection. Sure, the labels may be in rough condition but the record sounds great and I am just glad to have it any any condition, and very happy to share it with everyone here. Part of the fun in collecting records is the anticipation of getting certain ones, and if we had 'em all, there's nowhere else to go (so I don't mind if it takes me many years to get that particular record; it's worth the wait).
The Seven Souls were formed at the University of Oregon, and were an integrated group who moved south to Los Angeles and were taken under the tutelage of musician/ producer/ pimp Larry Williams who cut this absolutely perfect record with them. Sadly, they only released one other record (OK but not at the other worldly level of this one). The group sported not only two phenomenal lead singers (Ivory Hudson takes the lead on 'I Still Love You", and sax player Henry Moore sings I'm No Stranger) but young Bob Welch (later of the early 70's lineup of Fleetwood Mac which gave us "Sentimental Lady") is playing those tasty guitar licks.
THE SEVEN SOULS - I STILL LOVE YOU
b/w I'M NO STRANGER
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
An absolutely incredible record, seems as though this is the only release from both the group and the label. I am assuming they were from the L.A area, as the label lists a Beverly Hills address. As always, if anyone has any more info, PLEASE write!
The song has a vaguely Latin flavor, with an arrangement and vocal to die for.
THE ISONICS - SUGAR
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
While this track is not up to the epic status of the later Lorraine track 'Stay With Me" (and what else COULD be?) this is a gorgeous, catchy song.
A superb vocal and arrangement, it's also cool to see that this was co-produced by daily 45 fave Lou Courtney- yet another underappreciated artist/ producer of 60's soul.
LORRAINE ELLISON - DON'T LET IT GO TO YOUR HEAD
Friday, August 7, 2009
Another mysterious singer! We do know that her real name is Gloria Barnes (she recorded an album in 1973 under that name) and that she was most likely from the Bronx, NYC. She also cut some tracks with the Ohio Players (all are great) but this one, her debut, is absolutely incredible.
TOWANDA BARNES - IF I'M GUILTY
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Here's another Chicago BURNER!
The Artistics were one of the most consistently great groups on the Chicago scene, and this lesser heard track from them has been a real favorite of mine as of late.
I love the interesting arrangement with the breakdown early on. Another masterpiece from Carl Davis & Eugene Record!
THE ARTISTICS - PRICE OF LOVE
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
From Chicago's southside The Cheers were made up of brothers and cousins from the Norfleet family. They recorded variously as Little Ben & The Cheers, made gospel records as the Norfleets and, after Ben was drafted, simply The Cheers.
This is one of those sublime late period Chicago soul records with gorgeous, soaring harmonies. Absolutely incredible.
THE CHEERS - TAKE ME TO PARADISE
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Sadly beautiful, this track is the last gasp from the original lineup of the Byrds (minus brooding genius Gene Clark). Written by David Crosby and an absolute flop of a single, a very sad exit for a glorious band. Crosby was fired right after this single was cut, and Chris Hillman & Michael Clark quit not too long after (all during the makings of their masterpiece "Notorious Byrds Brothers" LP). Of course, "The Byrds" continued on in name only (while I like a good chunk of the later stuff, it was a completely different group with different mindset and spirit).
This 45 is EXTREMELY hard to find and the reissues are usually (I think always, but I don't follow recent CD reissues) in stereo and don't sound anywhere near as good as this punchy 45 mix.
THE BYRDS - LADY FRIEND
Monday, August 3, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
One of the iconic female voices in Detroit soul, 20 year old Pat turns in such an impassioned performance on this incredible song that is mature beyond her years. The arrangement with its' stops and starts is a masterpiece as well. An absolutely gorgeous song.
PAT LEWIS - THE LOSER
Saturday, August 1, 2009
This is a track that I first became of aware of through Alex Chilton's fantastic cover; in addition to being exposed to soul hits through oldies radio in the 80's, my fandom of John Lennon and Alex Chilton (both fanatical r&b heads) introduced me on the quest for more underground, non-hit sounds. I thank them every day for helping me on this path.
Ain't it the truth?
SLIM HARPO - TEE NI NEE NI NU