Friday, December 31, 2010
Here's a red hot stormer from New Orleans' own Jean Wells; I love how the drummer controls this song so well with slightly changing the tempo! Plus, Ms Wells always delivered top notch, saucy and sassy vocals on top of a killer song.
Have a great New Year's eve celebration, everyone!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Here's a great record from a singer that is unjustifiably obscure; produced, arranged and written by the great Eugene Record (Chi-Lites), this top notch song should have been a massive hit. It was released on a Brunswick subsidiary so distribution wasn't a factor. Another example of a great one lost in the shuffle. Little is known about Wales, other than that he later became a member of the Steelers, and he was a friend of Eugene Record and Barbara Acklin.
The song itself is of the typical high quality of Eugene's writing (which was some of the finest of the early 70's), the arrangement is fantastic, and Wales vocal delivery is simply awesome. Great backing vocals (probably the Chi-Lites) and a particularly cool ending tag. It all adds up to a perfect side.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Produced by Carl Davis (although he's not credited on the label) and with a song co-written by Tony Clarke (Landslide, They Call Me A wrong Man) you know it's gonna be a great record, and this one DOES NOT disappoint! Cracking drums, driving organ, superb vocals and overall a fantastic song; another example of a massive Detroit-Chicago soul summit!
Starting and ending his career in Detroit (Ty became lead singer with Motown hitmakers THE ORIGINALS), Ty cut a few records in Chicago for Chess. Sometimes it even surprises ME that over 1000 posts later, there are still records of this quality that I'm able to feature; just another bit of evidence that 1963-1969 was the most creative and magic time for soul and rock n roll.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
While they weren't blood brothers, Richard Dunbar & James Diggs (aka the Knight Brothers) were certainly joined together in a deep bond as singers. Soul duo records (whether it's Sam & Dave, Etta James & Sugar Pie DeSanto, Otis & Carla) had a tendency to bring some very hot stuff to wax, and this record is a mighty fine example of call and response soul at its best.
Monday, December 27, 2010
My advance apologies if this song gets stuck in your head ALL DAY and you just wanna play it over and over again. I certainly do!
My lady Angeline & I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Frost the other night and we had a great time talking about what it was like to be a mod in the bay area in the mid '60's. Unlike virtually every other US city, San Francisco didn't have much of a rock n roll scene before the hippie invasion (with the exception of the Beau Brummels, one of my ten favorite rock n roll bands of all time). However, heading south down the peninsula and into San Jose it was another matter, where bands like the Art Collection (who evolved into Powder and featured the Frost brothers) and The Chocolate Watchband were playing incredible British inspired R&B/ psych.
Cutting forward a few years to the late '60's, The Frost brothers relocated to Los Angeles, became part of Sonny & Cher's backing group and cut some records of their own. This single was a minor hit, but it should have been massive. Superb songwriting, a fantastic arrangement, and those excellent brotherly harmonies.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
This seems to a be a one off from this group from Miami, and what a gorgeous one-off it is!
This record was originally released on a small Miami label called DEEP CITY (before it was picked up by Brent records) and I have read that the Moovers (who were a vocal quartet) worked as backing singers on almost all of the other Deep City label releases. It's certainly believable, as these guys have an incredibly smooth and lush vocal blend. Stellar stuff.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Here's an incredible double-sided bit of holiday wonderment from the master. Released in 1968 (exactly one year after Otis' tragic death), this superb record showcases the two sides of Otis; his reading of the perennial "Merry Christmas Baby" shows his uptempo driving vocals, while his take on "White Christmas" shows that this man could pull so much emotion out of a ballad and turn a song completely into his own.
Happy holidays, all: thank you for your kind words and comments which help keep this labor of loving going strong, three years down the line!
MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Even though New York based Billy Hambric released a handful of 45's, little is known about him, and even the exact release date of this record is unknown (Fury records catalog numbers did not seem to follow a logical sequence)!
Whatever the story, this is an incredible slice of driving r&b with some fantastic, gritty vocals from Mr Hambric. I'm guessing the year.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
How many soul records feature pedal steel guitar? Not many (although the great 'Soulshake" by Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson is another example), and this one features it in such an amazing way on the intro creating an eerie hook that just blows my mind.
This haunting record is easily in my all time top ten favorite deep soul tracks; the vocals, both lead and backing are simply divine.
This is a record that I NEVER thought I'd find, as it is so hard to find it's practically non-existent. It was reissued by the Numero Group on the incredible Chicago soul collection 'Twinight's Lunar Rotation' and subsequently used to great effect ending an episode of "Mad Men".
GEORGE MCGREGOR & THE BRONZETTES - TEMPTATION IS HARD TO FIGHT
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Perhaps this group was a studio concoction? I dunno, but it's a fine fine sound indeed and I know nothing and haven't found any info on this record or the group itself.
You know me; I love these pounding beat girl group numbers, so it's only natural that this one, with its pounding beat and sassy female vocals is gonna tickle my fancy. Hope it does yours, as well.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Out of all the early compositions written by Jagger/ Richards, "I'm Free" is one that had so much promise but was seemingly very rushed in the Rolling Stones own recording and didn't meet its potential until the band revived it in their 1969 concerts.
However, one year before the Stones revival, upstate New York show band Wilmer & The Dukes cut a fully realized version of the song that, to my ears, takes it to its full potential (perhaps the Stones themselves heard this version which caused them to revisit the song? hmmmmm)
Wilmer & The Dukes were one of those bands that played the bar/ fraternity circuit that were oh-so-common in the 60's; judging by their brilliant reading of this song, the band must have been a fantastic live group.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
This is not the famous UK band that began life in the late '70's, but a Chicago based group that seemingly only cut this one record. That's all I know, I'm afraid (and have no idea of the actual year, either).
Whatever the story (and if you know more, please write!), this is an absolutely gorgeous piece from the group harmony resurgence that started in the late '60's.
Friday, December 17, 2010
My oh my this is SUCH a fantastic double sider!
Early in his career (and before he turned 20!) Gino Washington cut a handful of incredible records (most of which have been featured here) until he was drafted in 1964, just as 'Out Of This World" seemed poised to become a national hit. Many tales have been told of his legendary performances that were full of infectious energy, and his music crossed over strongly to white kids in the Detroit area and became a massive influence on the fantastic Detroit rock scene, as spearheaded by the MC5 (whose own Rob Tyner was massively influenced by Gino)
Sadly, Gino's musical career never recovered after his release from service, and it didn't help that there was an American calling himself Geno Washington that was masquerading around England pretending to be the real thing.
Even with strong national distribution (which very few of Gino's records ever saw), this record never became a hit; perhaps the raw recording and backing hurt its chances, but to these ears it only adds to the charm and power of the record. While it's not as manic as his earlier sides, it's dripping with sincerity and verve. Gino later found celebrity as a Detroit talk show host, and his music continues to be revered worldwide by those in the know.
LIKE MY BABY
I'LL BE AROUND (WHEN YOU WANT ME)
Thursday, December 16, 2010
A complete mystery! I know nothing of this Mary B(anks), and cannot find any info ANYWHERE other than that she may have released another record, and may be from my home turf (San Francisco bay area).
As you may have guessed, I'm a massive fan of uptempo, hard driving songs with brassy and sassy female vocals. This one has plenty of sass, brass and the lyrics just absolutely slay me. Too bad we didn't hear more from Mary, but if this is her only record, it's truly one marvelous one shot.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
For some odd reason, this "maximum r&b"/ mod UK band never scored ANY hits in England or elsewhere during their existence. The musicianship was top notch (organist Jon Lord later went on to Deep Purple, drummer Keef Hartley his own Keef Hartley Band, singer and namesake Art Wood is the brother of Ron Wood) and the quality of their singles is uniformly excellent (they also cut a scorching version of Marvin Gaye's "One More Heartache" for their lone LP release).
The song itself was written by New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint under his occasion pseudonym "Naomi Neville" and was originally cut by Benny Spellman (which itself is a great version, but I actually prefer the Artwoods revved up, fuzzed out rendition in this case, although Spellamn's vocals are far superior in my opinion).
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
What a phenomenal record! An early composition from the legendary Al Kooper (who is on record saying that the song was written as a replica of Martha & The Vandellas "Heat Wave") is certainly strong enough that it should have been a massive hit.
With stellar backing and other worldly vocals, this is an absolutely perfect record.
PAT LUNDY - IT'S RAININ' OUTSIDE
Monday, December 13, 2010
The Daylighters, from Birmingham, Alabama, relocated to Chicago in the 1950's to find their fortune as a doo wop group. Eventually embracing the Chicago r&b soul sounds in the early sixties (as well as once counting writer and producer Gerald Sims amongst their ranks) the group had a few minor hits that seemed close to breaking nationally. This, their fine final single, found the group reduced to just a duo (original members Tony Gideon and Eddie Thomas) showcasing fantastic vocals and chemistry between two fellas who, by this point, had been performing together for over a decade.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
One area that wasn't explored very deeply by US garage bands was the Christmas record; however, Chicago's Saturday's Children were way too sophisticated to be called a garage band.
Here, the band (deeply influenced by the Beatles) melds "Deck The Halls" with Dave Brubeck's jazz standard "Take Five' and turns it into a jazzy, quasi-psychedelic number that I almost guarantee will bring on some holiday cheer. This group had an incredible knack for harmonies, and tackle the tricky 5/4 time signature with ease making for the most hypnotic Christmas record I've ever heard. The other side is an exceptional holiday original showcasing their excellent group harmonies and songwriting skill.
I don't know what was in the water and air in Chicago & Detroit during the 60s, but whatever it was it propelled soul and rock music into the stratosphere, with massive amounts of high quality records being released.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
An absolutely STORMING track! Every second of this track from the double time drum intro to Gigi's massive performance just flat out COOKS.
Other than the familiar name Vernon Harrell on the label (he wrote "Seven Days Too Long" for Chuck Wood among a handful of other incredible tracks) I can't find any hard facts on who Little Gigi is/ was, other than she cut a duo record with Vernon (haven't heard it, but it's certainly on my radar as one to check out.)
Friday, December 10, 2010
43 years ago today, the world lost the greatest singer who ever walked the face of the earth. While I've never featured any Otis records on this blog (as they are such a part of our consciousness, I never felt it necessary to spread the word), I would count myself as his biggest fan and feel it's about time to pay tribute (and way past due, I might add).
With some of the most incredible backing ever put to wax, thanks to Booker T & The MG's, Otis turns the Stones classic protest/ gripe song into an AFFIRMATIVE statement; got to GET some satisfaction. Where Mick was just content to complain, Otis took matters into his own hands on this reworking where he DEMANDS satisfaction.
The music of Otis Redding will live on as long as human beings continue to have ears and hearts.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
With a very complex history of different lineups, bogus groups and cash ins, there were many great Detroit productions using a group called the Holidays (and, in some cases "The Hollidays".)
I especially dig the sweet strings countering the raw vocals and hard hitting drums and bass. Motown's "Funk Brothers" were known to have done some moonlighting around town, playing on sessions for Revilot and Ric Tic. while there is no documentation (this was done on the hush hush to save the musicians the wrath of Berry Gordy), I would bet that they are heard on this track (especially in the bubbling bass sound as exemplified by the legendary James Jamerson). Exciting stuff!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
In dedication to John Lennon; thirty years gone today, here is one of the selections that was inside John's personal jukebox that featured his favorite singles. I have mentioned this many times, but it needs to be mentioned again- I am eternally grateful to the Beatles not only for their own music, but the fact that they introduced me (and so many others) to deep rhythm and blues.
I can certainly see why John liked this one, as he especially appreciated the funky, gritty soul sounds and incorporated plenty of that influence into his personal vocal stylings.
From the deep south but transplanted to Detroit, Timmy Shaw had a minor hit with this one. Sadly, he died just a few years later in 1968.
Thanks to all of the great artists who have passed on; thankfully, the music lives forever whether it's on wax or a digital file, the soul is forever.
Monday, December 6, 2010
I'm a sucker for a great stop-start arrangement, and this one keeps on pulling it out to such great effect! Also dig that snare drum rattle (sounds like there was a mic placed right next to a loose snare bottom)- what a cool effect!
Detroiter Silky Hargraves is quite a mystery figure; he only released 4 45's, and this was his first. I know of no biographical info about him, nor could I find any this morning doing a quick search to see if there was any info out there (came up with zilch). He must have been a powerful figure to get his name listed as co-producer on his debut record!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Showcasing the punchier side of sweet Philly soul, the (almost always exceptional) Ambassadors turn in a lovely record here. Uniquely structured, this song shows some nice dynamics and a great tiwst for the verses (or are those the choruses? I just don't know! This isn't structured like a standard verse-chorus- verse-bridge kinda song). For all of their talent (and releases on two different labels), the Ambassadors never found the success they deserved.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
If this group sounds similar to the Del-Vetts that were featured a while back ("Last Time Around") it's no coincidence- they are the same group. Allegedly, the Del-Vetts fan club suggested that they change their name to The Pride & Joy and the group obliged (such nice Chicago boys!)
This record also boils over with driving fuzz tone intensity but adds an amazing melodic sense that, in a perfect world, would have been a massive hit. These guys were VERY good- listen to those spot-on group harmonies on the chorus as well as the fantastic musicianship that seems ready made for your very own perfect world mod freakout dance scene complete with flashing lights and beautiful go-go girls dancing in, out, or around cages. Ah, for a perfect world...
Friday, December 3, 2010
Pure genius happens for the first time in this song at the 15 second mark; a brilliant hook that reappears throughout the song that I just can't get enough of!
The Apollas were a glorious group (who apparently are active again entertaining on cruise ships!) of southern women relocated to (I think) Los Angeles during their recording career. Most famous for their stunning cut "Mr Creator" (a past 45 of the day), this underrated track showcases their lovely vocal blend on a song that explodes out of the speakers. Extra credit goes to whoever plays the driving bass (mixed LOUD) that helps propel this record into the stratosphere.
Another incredible song from the pens of Ashford-Simpson-Armstead.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
With a long and varied career (beginning in the doo wop years as The Jay Hawks who hit with "Stranded In The Jungle" and also a detour as the Marathons and the hit "Peanut Butter"), the Vibrations were a consistently exciting group with always excellent group vocals and songs that, more often than not, were uptempo pounders.
While the Vibrations recorded for two of the Chicago soul label biggies, they were in fact a Los Angeles group. This record features a great Motown style baritone sax solo and superb lyrics.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I'm clearing out some more doubles and things HERE:
Derek's current ebay auctions
As usual, cheap starting prices, no reserve, and sound samples!
Plus, my good pal mod9933 has some great records up for auction ending today, all with sound samples. Check his out here!
From Tulsa, OK singer Paulette Parker (briefly) was one of Ike & Tina's Ikettes circa 1967. This was her debut record as a solo artist, and she had one followup on Duke records in 1970. After these releases she went back to her given name (I think) Maxayn Lewis and recorded some highly regarded funk throughout the 70's. With a voice like hers, she could seemingly have done anything!
My question for the day is WHERE are singers of this caliber today in popular music???? With the exception of Sharon Jones, I am not hearing the caliber of singers that were seemingly everywhere during this era. Please let me know if I'm missing something.