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All music presented on this site is shared under the premise of "fair use"; this site is solely intended for the purpose of education and critique. If you are a rights holder to any of the music presented and wish for it to be removed, simply contact me directly and it will be taken down.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Can't think of ANYTHING better for new year's eve than this cooker!
The Show Stoppers were a Philadelphia group that included brothers Laddie & Alec Burke (who themselves were siblings to Solomon Burke!), and this song was written by the Vibrations' Carl Fisher (under a pseudonym!) who also wrote "Storm Warning" for the Vibrations around this time (all familiar names if you've been following this blog for any length of time.
So friends, have a happy and SAFE new year's, and I hope the new year is filled with peace and prosperity!
THE SHOW STOPPERS - AIN'T NOTHING BUT A HOUSE PARTY
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Transplanted to Chicago via her stints with Ike & Tina Turner and Little Milton, Mississippian Mamie Galore added a RAW powerhouse vocal styling to far too few records. If you ain't mesmerized by the incredible opening hook, by the time Mamie steps in with her vocal if you ain't movin' I'm afraid to tell you that you must not have a pulse.
MAMIE P. GALORE - YOU GOT THE POWER
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Here's another example of a record that I had practically forgotten about. If you're ever curious about how I pick stuff for the blog, it typically goes like this; when I get something new/exciting/rare/etc that typically takes top priority and gets posted quickly. However, I have well over a thousand other records that have already been digitized over the years and have never been used on the blog sitting in reserves. This is one of those; thanks to my trusty itunes playlist of available jams and the SHUFFLE mode, this song came on and I had simply forgotten how fun the record is.
I am very happy to see that Ned is still at it, in Las Vegas. Starting life in Memphis, he moved to New York City and was signed to Atlantic records, cutting this gem (the b-side 'How Can You Baby Sit A Man" is a cool deep soul cut as well, which I believe is the one that got him signed.)
NED TOWNS - HOW CAN YOU BABYSIT A MAN
A true "brother from another mother", Eric Colin is not only one of the finest DJ's on the scene, possesses an incredible knowledge of great music in all shapes and forms and is also an incredible drummer and all around raconteur. I am very pleased to have a guest posting from him! The photo is him and I (me on the left, Eric on the right) from this past September when we had a friendly turntable dual at the Burlington Bar in Chicago which was one of the most fun nights I've ever had DJ'ing. Here's what Eric has to say...
YACO LARA – VIEJO TOM
Columbia Records 1972
I’ve have no idea what it was with the Spanish in the 60’s and 70’s and their penchant for making monster dance records.
Perhaps it was the proverbial “something in the water theory” but god damn, it was a trend that even their crooner types got in on.
Case in point is Yaco Lara; a native of Valencia Spain (I think) who has been making records either solo or as part of a group since the late 60’s but even more to the point is his monster B-Side from 1972 entitled “Viejo Tom”.
Made for the dance floors and proven to get you movin; this is record is a veritable bunch of do’s (as opposed to don’ts) crammed into a mere 3:25.
More horns than you can shake a stick at, a propulsive, prominent bass, female backing vox and Yaro’s predilection for taking his voice into a glass shattering falsetto!
I could liken this record to some of Tom Jones funky as hell late 60’s moments shot through the mind set of a bull fighter and we might have something approximating this wicked groove!
So kick back enjoy this cut and raise a hearty glass of Rioja to Mr. Lara and his death defying vocal range!
Monday, December 28, 2009
Landy is Landy McNeil, who was a small player in 60's soul (and briefly a member of the group the Corsairs), eventually forming a group called We The People in the early 70's then apparently fading out from view entirely. This is an excellent one-off single he released on the Moonshot label. Not sure if he was from North Carolina (as the Corsairs were); wherever he is from, this record definitely captures the Chicago soul sound, right at the moment when that sound was about to disappear completely.
LANDY - DOCTOR GOOD SOUL
Sunday, December 27, 2009
While the Falcons began recording in Detroit in 1955, by the time this record was cut, NONE of the original (or for that matter replacement Falcons) were still in the group (former members at this point included Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, and Mack Rice). Producer and manager Robert West took on another group called the Fabulous Playboys, renamed them the Falcons and began recording records in the current Detroit sound. While this reeks of exploitation, the records were truly wonderful.
THE FALCONS - I'M A FOOL (I MUST LOVE YOU)
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Cut by William Bell for the Stax/ Atlantic Soul Christmas LP release, "Every Day Is Like A Holiday" is a favorite Christmas style song that doesn't go over the top oozing with Christmas sentiment (although I admit I'm a sucker for lots of Xmas music). I wanted to feature the William Bell version, but I don't have it on 45. Then I remembered this gem that I picked up at Domino Sound Records in New Orleans (one of the best little record stores on the planet, as a matter of fact).
Turns out "Van" is Van Broussard, one of the progenitors of the Louisiana "swamp pop" sound; this 45 finds him in deep southern soul mode and both sides are truly excellent. Luckily for you, while researching this record I flipped it over and played "Feed The Flame" and I had forgotten how incredibly haunting the song is (written by the genius Dan Penn/ Spooner Oldham duo). "Feed The Flame" was also issued nationally on Mala records, but with a different flip side.
Merry Christmas, everybody.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Quite simply, what can be better than having someone to tell you "just be yourself". As for me, during the holidays, I am especially thankful to have someone in my life who not only tells me to be myself but encourages my obsessive record related behavior and tolerates the kind of time that I put into said obsession, including this blog! She's a keeper, for sho.
This is a gorgeous record that is shrouded in complete mystery. seems to be the only record cut by this Philadelphia group, and no one even seems to know when it was cut! Quite often, records have matrix numbers in the run off groove that have date codes. Not this one. Almost as if it were meant to be a mystery from the minute it was cut. I love how the singer almost chokes a few times reaching for certain notes. Sublime. I'm guessing at the year...
THE COMPANIONS - BE YOURSELF
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
One look at the record shown in the scan and you wouldn't think it would play at all, right? It actually sounds pretty good, with only some surface noise on the quieter parts. I wish this 45 could talk; its previous owner certainly played the hell out of it, and I bet it rocked many a party in its day. While this record is somewhat easy to find (although not cheap), I'm happy with this beat to shreds copy, and it's a testament to the durability of the 45 RPM single.
As so many others, I first heard this song as recorded by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and while that version is certainly incredible in its own right, the original by Earl King is simply outstanding with its slow burn feel, not to mention the liberty it takes with timing for dramatic effect (although in itself "Come On" it was a remake of King's song "Darling Honey Angel Child" recorded by King earlier in 1960). Thankfully, New orleans musician Earl King made quite a bit of dough from the Hendrix cover version, and he continued performing up until his death in 2003.
EARL KING - COME ON (PART ONE)
Monday, December 21, 2009
While there isn't much in the way of biographical information about Godoy Colbert, his name pops up quite a bit on the fringes of doo wop, soul and gospel music as both a vocalist and writer. This release was a one-off for Revue records, right around the time he sang on the Exits "Got To Have Money" (a previous 45 of the day) and shortly before he joined the group the Free Movement. Such a smooth voice!
Sure sounds great on a grey December morning, with such a superb upbeat (and uplifting) sound.
GODOY COLBERT - BABY I LIKE IT
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Another mysterious figure...Yvonne released a handful of records, and this one is probably most well known, due to the popularity of the flipside ("Gee What Guy") in the Lowrider oldies crowd. While I enjoy that side just fine, I especially dig THIS side; it has a great sense of urgency that seems like it's on the verge of collapse at any time and it's powered by a sublime lead vocal with (I assume) The Roulettes following closely behind on backups.
YVONNE CAROLL & THE ROULETTES - STUCK ON YOU
Friday, December 18, 2009
This is the type of record that, after I post, I may need to take a day off and contemplate what the next choice is gonna be. This is a stormer of the most extreme type, and a record of such amplitude that it's gonna be a tough act to follow.
Possessing an AWE inspiring voice, it seems as though Ms Banks only had the chance to make three (known) records, and this is the only one which I have heard (I'd love to hear the others at some point). This is the type of record that once I hear it, the quest to add a copy to my collection becomes an indelible quest.
If this song was just the intro it would be incredible on its own, but Barbara and the band take off to such incredible heights of soulful wonderment throughout that by the time the key change happens near the end of the song the world practically blows up, and we like it.
Quite an unusual amount of hyperbole for one of my entries, huh? Well, the record WILL NOT disappoint.
BARBARA BANKS - RIVER OF TEARS
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Quite possibly my favorite thing they ever; this cut sums up everything that made the Elevators such an incredible force; Roky Erickson's otherworldly vocals, Stacy Sutherlands reverb-drenched blues dipped in acid guitar stylings, and Tommy Hall's bizarre jug blowing. Not to mention a rhythym section that knew how to get the party moving.
This was one of those 45's that I had been outbid on so many times for so many years that it never seemed like I'd be able to score a copy. Thankfully, I recently did and it's never gonna leave my collection.
THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS - LEVITATION
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
NEWS FLASH! I was contacted by Mr Jean Thomas, who was the lead singer for Epitome Of Sound! He is still singing, and it turns out the band itself were white dudes, and Jean is a black man. I saw an amazing photo of the band from back in the day.
Allegedly a "blue eyed soul" track (not entirely!), no one seems to know much of anything about the group behind this legendary record. we do know that this was one of the big records at the Wigan (UK) Casino, home of the massive soul nights throughout the seventies that helped bring records like this out of obscurity and onto the want lists of people for the last thirty years.
This record has that great, low budget production crackle with so much energy and passion, and the song has all the characteristics of an "anthem".
I'm guessing at the year. As always, if any readers have any more info you'd like to share, it's always welcome and appreciated.
EPITOME OF SOUND - YOU DON'T LOVE ME
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The Bell Brothers were Alex & Leroy Bell, who hailed from Florida. They released a scant 3 singles on the Texas based Sure Shot label, and this song was cut in Memphis and it truly has a great Stax like sound. Great duo vocal interplay, and the those "family" harmonies; the type with such an excellent blend that they could only be "in the family".
Note that my copy is on the UK ACTION label; this label licensed American records released on small labels to help satisfy the strong demand for American soul to UK audiences (who were scooping up indie label soul records like this as expensive and elusive imports otherwise)
THE BELL BROTHERS - TELL HIM NO
Sunday, December 13, 2009
For quite a while now since I've been publishing this blog, I have had a great friend in Ana. She grew up in New Orleans and is incredibly knowledgable about the music and culture of the city (not to mention great music in general). She also publishes one of my favorite blogs, THE SINGING BONES, and contrary to what she says below, I have been hipped to a handful of records I'd never heard, thanks to her excellent blog. I am delighted and honored to have a guest post from her today.
Here's what she has to say...
"When Derek asked me to guest on his blog, my first thought was....yikes! do I even own a record he hasn't already posted? In short, going toe to toe with Derek's collection is a little intimidating. Or, at least it is to me. But ya know, of course I do own some cool 45's which Derek hasn't posted, maybe even a few he hasn't scooped up yet. So, there's really no reason why I should get all twisted-up about this, right? [uh huh]
Anyway, I recently added a sixth Diamond Joe Maryland 45 to my collection. This is out of seven possible. So, in honor of my dogged pursuit of fairly obscure singles.....I'm offering up a song which I don't think has been posted on any of the soul blogs before. At least, I haven't seen it posted before and a quick search didn't turn up anything either.
This surprises me. It's a great tune...full of twists, turns, and stops. Most of all, stops. Heavy on the stops. Allen Toussaint produced it. I love it.
The title is, Don't Set Me Back. From 1966..."
Acknowledged by many as the one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) vocalist who ever came out of New Orleans, this record definitely holds a stake to that claim.Sadly, he never received much national attention, up until his death in 1998. Johnny's performance completely OWNS the record (no mean feat, considering Wardell Quezergue's incredible arrangement).
Much thanks to Ana B, who turned me on to this record. She also happens to have written today's guest post!
JOHNNY ADAMS - PART OF ME
Saturday, December 12, 2009
While I tend to focus on records that are relatively obscure or under appreciated on this blog, this record has been on my mind quite a bit lately and I just couldn't resist sharing it, although I would reckon most people listening and reading have heard it before. The hits were typically hits for a reason, as during this era they are almost always great songs.
Forging a partnership around 1957 as members of the Impressions (after meeting in their church choir) Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield cut the hit single "For Your Precious Love" (which added Jerry's name as billing over the Impressions) in 1958. One single later, Jerry was off on a solo career, although his partnership with Mayfield continued on, in my opinion most perfectly on this 45.
Butler's voice, as blustery as a Chicago winter wind, matched with Curtis' sweet as molasses high tenor seem an unlikely pair for harmony, but what they do on the choruses of this song are achingly, hauntingly beautiful. No surprise that this not only hit number one on the r&b charts but also crossed over to the pop top ten. An absolutely sublime record, made even more incredible by Mayfield's incredibly soulful, cautionary guitar playing which, like a third voice, tells the story along with the vocalists.
JERRY BUTLER - HE WILL BREAK YOUR HEART
Friday, December 11, 2009
Hailing from California's so-called "inland empire" (a mostly desolate locale that includes such inland cities such as Pomona and Riverside), this group was made up of members of a number of popular local groups who came to the attention of Brian Ross (producer of LA wild men the Music Machine) and this single was cut for A&M. The other side is a very lightweight piece of whimsy, but THIS SIDE is a perfect psycedelicized mover.
Thanks to Eric Colin for hipping me to this record and filling me in about who these guys were.
THE LIGHT - BACK UP
Thursday, December 10, 2009
While this group released at least 2 records (this apparently being the second), I can't find out ANY information whatsoever about them. I've also never seen the name George Wilson listed as producer on any of the other records I own. Help, anybody?
Once the first notes start hitting and the slightly out of tune (but oh so great- they sound a bit like cats in heat) backing vocals kick in, there's no doubt that this song is gonna be a heater of the first degree. I just love how the lead singer shouts herself hoarse by the last verse.
THE SYMPHONICS - NO MORE
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
With a long-running career that began in the early 50's climate of doo wop, teenaged Otis Williams and his backing vocal group the Charms were discovered by King records producer Syd Nathan (who initially only wanted Otis, who insisted that the Charms stay with him.) After a string of r&b hits throughout the fifties, Otis was drafted into the army. Upon his exit (and also during his leave time in the army), he cut a few more sides for Syd Nathan/ King records, then quit music temporarily and attended school to become a barber(!) in 1963.
In 1965, Otis put down the scissors and cut some sessions for Okeh records, where he embraced the current soul stylings and cut this whopper of a record in late '65. Surprisingly, this slamming, raw records was produced in Nashville by country-politan producer Billy Sherill.
OTIS WILLIAMS AND THE CHARMS - I GOTTA GET MYSELF TOGETHER
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
As a guitarist, i have to say that I'm completely obsessed with the guitar playing on this record. Definitely rooted in the Curtis Mayfield school (although I don't think it's him due to a legal dispute between Curtis and Chess records) it propels and drives this song into sublime territory on it's own. Add Jan's gorgeous vocals and that lonesome harmonica and groovy bongos and out comes a subdued arrangement of utter genius.
Jan Bradley was discovered singing while still in high school, and shortly after graduating recorded the incredible "Mama Didn't Lie" with Curtis Mayfield behind the boards (it was a huge r&b hit which also crossed over to the pop charts). She continued releasing records til the early seventies when she left the biz. She became a social worker on the Chicago south side, but still continues singing in her church choir. Lucky parishioners!
JAN BRADLEY - IT'S JUST YOUR WAY
Monday, December 7, 2009
This record, while cut and released in 1967, has a sound that to my ears is much more 1970-71. The ladies behind it have very interesting lineage; Bongi (Makeba) was the daughter of African singing legend Miriam Makeba (Bongi died tragically in 1985) and Judy (White) is daughter of folk/ blues/ jazz legend Josh White.
The vocal duet on this record is riveting, and I really dig the proto-funk arrangement. It's also no surprise that the song, which is full of power and dynamics is from the pens of another superb duo...Ashford & Simpson!
BONGI & JUDY - RUNNING OUT
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Alejandro posts another favorite blog of mine...La Colmena de Humo. As Alejandro's native language is Spanish, I am thankful for google translator, to be able to read about the great records he posts. Here's his entry; in the EARLY days of this blog, I posted the other side (Break Away) which is a mod/ northern soul favorite that gets plenty of spins. Admittedly, I too had forgotten how beautiful the other side of the record is and I am very thankful that Alejandro brought it back to my attention. Here's what he has to say about it:
IRMA THOMAS - WISH SOMEONE WOULD CARE
I originally arrived to this song by chance, looking for the B side. When I finally got it and flipped it I had no idea what was waiting for me there. It is no exageration to say that to me this is one of the most beautiful Soul recordings of all time.
The arrangement by H.B. Barnum is simple and restrained starting with the drums, bass, organ and adding layers as the songs develops (very cool drumming, by the way). Everything is set up just to frame the voice. And what a voice that is. Irma’s delivery conveys real emotions and heartbreak without relying on any theatrics. Although there’s a real feel of loneliness to the song, it is not drowned in melodrama.
Irma Thomas recorded many other great songs for Imperial (including the B side of this single, the mighty “Break A Way”), but in my opinion it is this song that reigns supreme. Just listen to that moment towards the end where she sings at unison “The Good, The Bad, The Hurt”; that little piece alone could have been enough for other songs, but here it is just another subtle touch (it doesn’t even get repeated!).
The lyrics have autobiographic undertones and was written by Irma herself at age 23 who once said about it “I was just looking back at life. I was a 14-year-old mother, I had three kids when I was 17, and I was on my second marriage. At the time, I was breaking up with my husband, because he was giving me a hard time about being on stage. It was a song from my heart, that's probably why it sold so well; I really wanted someone to care, to stand beside me and care." It was her first single with Imperial and her most succesful one, reaching #17 on the charts. It was recorded in 1964 probably in L.A (while her later singles were recorded in New York) and I have also heard that Darlene Love provided some of the backup vocals for both sides.
I hope you enjoy it and I want to thank Derek for inviting me to present this record that I like so much in one of my absolute favorite sites. I will be posting the B side “Brea-a-way” on my Blog, so please stop by when you have a minute and say Hi.
For years this record was thought to be Ronnie Spector in disguise; it was later discovered that the singer of this record is a woman who went by the name of Charlotte O'Hara. Charlotte not only was a regular backup singer at Phil Spector sessions but also had an alternate career in the bizarre world of song poem records (in short, a production company offered to "make songs out of your poems" for a fee, creating some of the weirdest records ever made in return).
While not produced by Spector (although he was allegedly in the studio and Phi-Dan was a label he owned), Jerry Riopelle captures the wall of sound uncannily like Spector on this glorious record.
BONNIE & THE TREASURES - HOME OF THE BRAVE
for those who are so inclined, there's lots more about Charlotte/ Bonnie here at the excellent Spectropop website.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
After a long run of Chicago soul greatness produced by Curtis Mayfield for Okeh records, Major Lance cut this record with Chicago producer Willie Henderson and it finds him moving in a slightly funkier direction, but still retains the stomping, uplifting feel of earlier sides. Typical of the best of Major Lance's work; he wasn't the strongest singer but he had a way of cutting transcendent record after transcendent record.
MAJOR LANCE - SHADOWS OF A MEMORY
Friday, December 4, 2009
Brothers and sisters, dig these CRAZY, WILD SOUNDS!
From rural Richmond, Indiana and relocated to Chicago at age 19 Baby Huey (James Raney) was a giant of a man who met a tragic end at age 26 after cutting an extremely influential LP for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom records.
This single, however, is equally revered by both r&b and garage fanatics for its' crazed vibe, and for good reasons! "Monkey Man" tends to get most of the attention, but in my opinion the flip side version of blues standard "Messin' With The Kid" quite simply is the hottest version of that song ever cut.
BABY HUEY & THE BABYSITTERS - MONKEY MAN
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Along with his daughter Carla, Rufus was one of the first stars in the Stax empire, and his career, filled with gritty jams like this one, continued on until the Stax empire crumbled around 1974. A quintessential entertainer, Rufus had moves that envied James Brown.
Today's entry is one of the most all out, gravity defying funk monsters ever cut.
RUFUS THOMAS - ITCH & SCRATCH
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Philadelphia singer Cindy Scott (real name Sundray Tucker), still performing today, has had a long and varied career which at one time included chorus line dancer and singer at traveling carnivals. On this track, we find her absolutely soaring through this Motown inspired track (the twists and turns especially remind me of Martha & The Vandellas "Ready For Love" and that, of course, is a very good thing).
It's no surprise that this song has long been a staple on the UK northern soul scene, with its stomping beat and chord progression that keeps reaching higher and higher into the stratosphere. To think; this was actually the B-side! The A side is an OK but unremarkable ballad.
CINDY SCOTT - TIME CAN CHANGE A LOVE
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Here's a jumpin' little record that I assumed was a Detroit record, due to its' release on the superb Detroit label Revilot. In doing a little bit of research today, I realized that it was actually cut in Columbus, OH for the Capsoul label and was picked up by Revilot.
Sadly, this seems to be the only record he ever released.
RONNIE TAYLOR - I CAN'T TAKE IT
I am happy to announce the first in a series of guest posts from fellow bloggers, DJ's and vinyl junkies. Today's post is brought to you by David Ma. In addition to being an excellent DJ, David is a very prolific writer and has been published by Wax Poetics, Pitchfork, The Source, URB, XLR8R and Soul Culture. He publishes a great blog of his own as well; www.NERDTORIOUS.com
Here's what David has to say...
Arthur Ponder - “Dr. Strangelove”
By David Ma
I first heard this on a mixtape years ago. “You know, that song where he says ‘Doctor Strangelove, that’s my name’ in the chorus,” I’d ask every music lover I knew. No one had info besides the occasional, “Does it have anything to do with the film?” “No” I’d say.
This year, I finally got it. I wish I could say I found it digging somewhere in Georgia, but it was Ebay. So here we are.
Arthur Ponder began his career singing with Johnny Jenkins, a left-handed guitarist and known influence on Jimi Hendrix who played on Otis Redding’s early work. Not much info exists on Arthur himself, who recorded for Capricorn Records, a Georgian label founded in the late ‘60s known for spearheading Southern Rock led by their biggest artist, The Allman Brothers Band.
Arthur’s credited for additional vocals on other projects and also cut singles for Trey Records, another local Georgian label. He continually, albeit very quietly, put out material well into the ‘80s as far as I know.
I’ve since heard Arthur’s other work, but “Dr. Strangelove” is his defining opus: a song where he teeters on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the chorus, and where steady drums and a beautiful bassline propel the arrangement for roughly 3-minutes. The singing is so pained but the music is so sunny. It was both written and produced by Eugene Davis. It’s killer Georgian soul, overtly filled with so many warm elements that can grab you. Enjoy.
ARTHUR PONDER - DR STRANGELOVE part one
Sunday, November 29, 2009
An absolutely lovely Detroit track with a most excellent intro guitar hook. INCREDIBLE propulsive drumming on this track! Yet another great record that was lost in the pool of Detroit's talent overflow.
LOUIS CURRY - CAPTIVATED
Friday, November 27, 2009
One of the trickier 'Bo 45's to find (I also don't think this has ever been reissued but I may be wrong) this wild track certainly deserves to be heard!
For some reason (a favor?) the writing credit was given to Knight Records/ studio owner Traci Borges, although there is no doubt that it was written by Eddie.
Between this and Popcorn Wylie's "Funky Rubber Band" (sure to be a future 45 of the day), I really wanna know what this rubber band dance was.
If you wanna hear part two, drop me a line!
EDDIE BO - THE RUBBER BAND (part one)
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Lotsa people write and ask about technical things relating to how I present the songs for this blog, typically complimenting how good the records sound (even the ones that looked thrashed).
Here's the process.
1) Start with a clean record: The first thing I do before I listen to any record is deep clean it. Most of these things have years of dust and filth caked in the grooves so a deep cleaning will bring out MORE sound that is, well, cleaner. Sure, there are fancy machines on the market that cost hundreds of dollars but I do it the old fashioned way (as demonstrated by Joe Bussard in "Desperate Man Blues"). I use the kitchen sink, mild dish soap and a sponge. First wet the record, then scrub it groove-ways with a soapy sponge then rinse. I then place it on a dish drying rag as seen in the picture. If a label is porous paper, you may suffer label damage. As for me, I'd rather have a clean record and I don't worry so much about possible water damage to a label.
2) Playback: Grado makes an EXCELLENT mono stylus; the mono stylus is wider which covers more of the groove and brings out more sound, as well as removing lots of surface noise.
3) Preamp: Hi fi receivers from the 60's and 70's tend to have excellent quality phono preamps, the likes of which would cost well over a thousand bucks for a modern equivalent! These vintage receivers (mine is circa 1966 and tube powered) tend to be found for CHEAP and they will help make your records sound better. 60's tube gear is more for maniacs like myself who don't mind maintenance; 70's solid state amps are very reliable and cheaper yet. I have a backup 70's Scott that i bought for $25 that sounds almost as good as the tube unit.
4) digitizing: I've used a bunch of different methods, but for the last 2 years I've stuck with a Zoom H2 digital recorder. The analog to digital converters have improved drastically and these units have surprisingly good sound.
Hopefully this will help make YOUR records sound better!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Here's another great track from Philadelphia's "Percolator"; one of the finest blue eyed soul singers of the sixties!
Look at the writers credit, however; POLTERGEIST??? Really?
BILLY HARNER - SALLY SAYIN' SOMETHIN'
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A very nice Southern Soul record from North Carolina. A very interesting song full of twists and turns which also contains a very sweet tribute to the recently killed Otis Redding in the lyrics.
NICK ALLEN - HARD WAY TO GO
Monday, November 23, 2009
The sexy, sultry lead vocal on this track is none other than one of the all time greats...BRENDA HOLLOWAY! Her sister Patrice is also heard on backing vocals, along with Sherlie Matthews (a songwriter of great reknown) . They were signed to the Mirwood contract under fake names, since Brenda was a Motown artist. Oh how I love Brenda Holloway!
THE BELLES - DON'T PRETEND
THE BELLES - DON'T PRETEND
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Alex Chilton, RIP.
Not only have I been a massive fan of his work with the Box Tops, Big Star and on his own, Alex introduced me to so much great r&b (Willie Tee, Eddie Floyd, etc) and I am very thankful for that.
The voice of Alex Chilton was a national treasure; taking elements of his hometown (Memphis) and absorbing that city's soul, blues and rockabilly and distilling it through British invasion splendor this was a man that saw no color boundaries in music; the true spirit of this blog, actually. The last time I saw him perform was at the Ponderosa Stomp (was it last year or the year before- can't remember) where he was playing guitar (he was an unsung, incredible guitarist as well) in one of the backing groups, seemingly happy as can be in the shadows. You will be sorely missed, Mr Chilton.
Now this has been a band that has been on almost constant rotation since I was working at a great independent record store back when I was 16 or so and my boss introduced me to more great music that has been a constant inspiration.
With the exception of some wise critics, at the time of their existence Big Star were all but ignored. However, their Memphis bred power pop (with a whole lot of homegrown hometown grit and soul- notice Ardent records was part of the crumbling Stax records empire) has been slow burning over the years which has culminated in Rhino Records' recently issued box set which is a real work of art and one of the best all time archival releases (and remember, that's coming from someone who really can't stand CD's).
Big Star's albums are superb, but this track is just such a perfect match for the 45 RPM format and the fact that it wasn't massive just kills me. Also, I look at the failure of this record as being a metaphor of the end of the glory years of rock and roll. From this point on, with rare exceptions, the days of music such as this succeeding was over, thanks to big business taking over, segregating radio and effectively killing the single. How interesting that with the download/ itunes revolution, we are now back to the single revolution...
Oh yeah; the other side of this 45 is "In The Street"; used years later (in an inferior version) as the theme song to "That 70's Show". Finally, Alex Chilton got the pay day he deserved.
BIG STAR - WHEN MY BABY'S BESIDE ME
Friday, November 20, 2009
"Storming" is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit when describing soul records and that certainly sprang to mind while I was listening to this track to write the description. To me, the best 'stormers' are tracks that have the stomping Motown beat but add the musical tension as is heard on this track.
Mary Love, still active in the gospel bag, is a Sacramento, California native who began recording in the mid-60's in Los Angeles. She released a handful of records through the 70's which included a few songs used in Rudy Ray Moore movies. This record is the peak, in my opinion and simply an incredible song and performance. The type of which makes me devote so much of my time towards collecting records!
MARY LOVE - LAY THIS BURDEN DOWN
Thursday, November 19, 2009
With its' epic, sweeping production (I especially love the fuzz guitar and massive drums) one would think there would be more known info about this duo. Leads me to believe (and I may be very wrong) that this is either a new York or L.A studio concoction.
Anyone know any more about them?
DIANE & ANNITA - ALL CRIED OUT
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
First off, I have to say that the image used for this posting is not mine. If you own the image and want it removed contact me and I'll immediately take it down.
This is perhaps the second most valuable/ rare soul 45 of all time (second to the legendary Frank Wilson "Do I Love You...").
Of course I do not own an original (there are maybe only 2 known copies), but thanks to the fine folks at Jazzman records in the UK, this record is available as a high quality reissue 45. In fact, I just submitted a transfer of my copy of Barbara Lynn's "Mellow Feeling" to Jazzman for a reissue they will be releasing next year. Glad to play a part in making THAT incredible record (only 20 or so known copies, of which I'm lucky enough to own one!) available to anyone who is interested.
Back to Junior; sadly, right at the time this record was scheduled to be released, Cincinnati singer Junior died at age 24, either of a brain tumor or motorcycle accident (depending on the report). Out of respect for his families' wishes, this record was pulled from release. It's always a tragedy when one dies so young, and it's especially a tragedy that this record was not released (at least one, maybe two, white label promos escaped) as it is an incredible song and performance. Many records that sell for thousands of dollars just leave me scratching my head in confusion; sure, they may be rare but the price typically does not add up to the music in the grooves. One of the promo copies turned up on ebay about a year ago and reached the epic number of $15,099 when the hammer dropped.
JUNIOR MCCANTS - TRY ME FOR YOUR NEW LOVE
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sure, they wore matching suits and had great mod haircuts and, as this single (their third and last) shows they could rave with the best of them, the Liverpool Set were in fact...Canadian! To top it all off, the record was cut in Nashville.
In fairness, their drummer was a British emigre, and other members hailed from Latvia and Scotland. This 6 piece band also had THREE guitarists up front, years before southern rock.
The tightest connection to Liverpool, however, was that 14 years after this record was cut Liverpool Set bassist, Jack Douglas, produced Liverpudlian John Lennon's final LP, "Double Fantasy".
THE LIVERPOOL SET - SEVENTEEN TEARS TO THE END
Monday, November 16, 2009
The history of this group is incredibly complex, and I prefer not to get too wordy on my posts so I'll leave it at this. While the Blossoms had a number of personnel changes since their 50's inception, the Blossoms who are most well known (appeared on the Shindig TV show) included Gloria Jones and (lead singer) Darlene Love (who also recorded with Phil Spector not only under her own name but as a backing singer and also a lead on cuts by The Crystals (who were actually the Blossoms under another name).
This track was recorded shortly after Gloria Jones left for her solo career.
Darlene Love went on singing (which she does to this day) and has added acting to her already impressive resume.
I find this track to be the peak of her glories. Girl group soul simply doesn't get any better. Also note that this is another superb composition by Van McCoy.
THE BLOSSOMS - THAT'S WHEN THE TEARS START
Sunday, November 15, 2009
If you have only heard Bobby Vinton's watered down version of this song, you're in for a major treat!
The Clovers were one of the longest running and most popular of all doo wop era vocal groups. The group started in 1946(!) while the members were in school, and began recording in 1950 and continued releasing records with at least one original member until 1968.
While "soul music" is a term that typically describes Sam Cooke and after, just the way lead singer Buddy Bailey enunciates "Velvet" in the opening line makes for some of the most beautifully soulful singing I've ever heard.
THE CLOVERS - BLUE VELVET