Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
So I just so happen to play guitar in a girl group...We are performing at the Make Out Room in San Francisco SUNDAY night 11/29 at 9 PM. Hope to see you there!
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
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
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
Friday, November 13, 2009
Composed of Barbara Gaskins & niece Brenda Gaskins, this group released a half dozen or so 45's before Brenda, burned by the music business, quit. Barbara continued on, playing guitar for Inez & Charlie Foxx and eventually ending up in disco group Ecstasy, Passion & Pain. A google search reveals she is still playing guitar and singing professionally. Yeah, that's always nice to hear.
This record has a great, female Sam & Dave kinda feel...
BARBARA & BRENDA - HURTIN' INSIDE
Thursday, November 12, 2009
No, not the same group that cut massive slick hits (such as the incredible "I'll Be Around") in the 70's, but yes, the same group that cut "It's A Shame" in 1970!
Discovered by doo-wop legend Harvey Fuqua, this record (their third) is a stone classic of new breed r&b that swings so hard it HURTS!
HE SPINNERS - ITCHING FOR MY BABY (BUT I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO SCRATCH)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
For as big as this record has been on the northern soul scene since the beginning (note this is a UK issue from 1974 released to meet the demand since the original is close to impossible to find) there is surprisingly little (downright no) info on this group that I have been able to find.
I am hoping someone reading may be able to fill in SOME blanks...To my ears, sounds like it might be a west coast/ L.A record but that's just a guess.
This would be an amazing record even if it were only the intro!
THE VEL-VETS - I GOT TO FIND ME SOMEBODY
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
This is the second to last single by this great 3 girl/ 1 guy group who had their biggest hit with "South Street" (where all the hippies meet, hahahaha).
Lead singer Rosetta Hightower continued on in the UK as a solo singer.
THE ORLONS - SPINNIN' TOP
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This record was the final release from this Detroit group that got its' start in 1958 and made the transformation from Doo Wop to soul. This incredibly catchy song was also arranged by legendary Detroit whiz Joe Hunter (also a member of Motown's "funk brothers").
ROYAL JOKERS - LOVE GAME (FROM A TO Z)
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Originally known simply as the Marvelows ("I Do" was one of the very first records featured on this blog) this Chicago group added the "Mighty" adjective when an L.A based group called The Marvellos (see "Somethin's Burnin'" posted here a few weeks back).
They certainly were one of the mightiest of Chicago vocal groups. I just realized that I haven't posted another smash of theirs "Talkin Bout You Baby" so look forward to that one in a future posting.
MIGHTY MARVELOWS - I'M SO CONFUSED
Monday, November 2, 2009
I've featured a number of sides by this under appreciated Detroiter, and this one really cooks. Notice the misspelling on the label...
ps- I am gonna be in Sao Paulo, Brazil for a week, but thru the wonders of wi-fi I will do my best to deliver a (hopefully) consistent daily 45!
LEE ROGERS - CRACKED UP OVER YOU
Sunday, November 1, 2009
This track is a recent (to me) discovery which has a great Mary Wells/ Barbara Lewis type smooth sound (Dee Edwards was a Detroit based singer, and Tuba was a local label trying their best to be a mini-Motown). Dee had a long career in music which culminated in a big disco hit with "Strangers On The Shore" in 1979. She passed away too young (age 60) in 2006.
DEE EDWARDS - YOU SAY YOU LOVE ME