Wednesday, June 30, 2010
There are mere records and then there are RECORDS...Tunes that reach epic proportions of energy and verve. This is one of the latter, a song so hot that it can melt the brain if not a stylus!
Written by the Stax team of Hayes/Porter, this Homer Banks was truly the Stax artists that never recorded for Stax, but certainly SHOULD have, as his voice and feel were a perfect match for that label's vibe and soul.
HOMER BANKS - 60 MINUTES OF YOUR LOVE
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
This mysterious and moody Scottish band, managed and produced by Stones Svengali Andrew Loog Oldham, waxed one of the finest beat singles of the entire era on this incredible cut which combines the mysterious aura of their debut ("Now We're Thru", itself a past 45 of the day) with driving, uptempo urgency.
THE POETS - THAT'S THE WAY IT'S GOT TO BE
Monday, June 28, 2010
It's not often that a song takes on a second life; in the case of "All Around The World", it was re-written as "Grits Ain't Groceries" and became a huge hit for Little Milton in 1969.
"All Around The World" is also the debut release from the great Little Willie John which began a run of jaw droppingly brilliant records with some of the greatest male vocals ever cut onto wax.
LITTLE WILLIE JOHN - ALL AROUND THE WORLD
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Made up of two sisters (Patti Hamilton and Rozena Petty) and friend Ardell McDaniel, the Lovelites, on this record, found huge local success in Chicago and a slight ripple nationally), which addresses a very taboo subject.
Co-written by lead singer Patti (the group was later known as Patti & The Lovelites), this song is full of humility and honesty and features an absolutely mesmerizing vocal performance from the girls, in addition to be a top-notch song.
THE LOVELITES - HOW CAN I TELL MY MOM AND DAD?
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Group soul PERFECTION! Incredible vocal interplay on top of a wonderful song rooted with smooth Philadelphia production. The epitome of a CLASS record from this group that deserved widespread fame.
THE ETHICS - I WANT MY BABY BACK
Friday, June 25, 2010
In between recording in New York, then on to a long run in Memphis with Stax offshoot Koko records, Luther Ingram cut this mind blowing track in Detroit with the legendary Detroit figurehead musician/arranger/writer/producer Richard "Popcorn" Wylie.
An incredibly in-demand and very hard to find record, I have been relatively content with a reissue for years. Makes me even happier to own this battered original though! The amazing thing is (yet another testament to the righteous nature of 45's) this record looks like it was dragged behind a truck but as the MP3 shows, it still sounds GREAT.
LUTHER INGRAM - IF IT'S ALL THE SAME TO YOU BABE
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Perhaps it was a sarcastic, flippant comment, but in "Don't Look Back", Dylan himself said, when asked, that Manfred Mann cut his favorite cover versions of his own songs.
Whether he was serious or taking the mickey, there's no doubt that this swingin' beat version of Dylan's classic bit of female manipulation is indeed a great version.
MANFRED MANN - IF YOU GOTTA GO, GO NOW
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sassy and brassy, The Lullabyes contradict their name on these four-on-the-floor stomper! The story of this group (the same singers released records going back to their high school days in the 50's under names such as the De Vaurs, Baby Jane and The Rock-abyes and Henrietta and the Hairdos) is the type of story that could only happen in the sixties. This group was bounced around by a number of producers that saw potential and gave them yet another shot. Sadly, they never had a hit and eventually packed it in in 1968. (There is an excellent, comprehensive history HERE at the always excellent Spectropop website).
THE LULLABYES - YOU TOUCH ME
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Behold, perhaps the greatest two sided blues 45 ever released! Although in the case of this record, blues is a tag that only partially applies (and truly, pigeonholing music can be very limiting anyhow)
These two tracks from Louisiana's Lazy Lester bridge the gap where blues, rock n roll and proto-soul intersect.
Sadly, Lester has claimed that he wrote both of these numbers although he was not credited, and was cheated out of the royalties not only from his own recordings but from the numerous covers of these songs that have been cut throughout the years. This bad scene eventually caused Lester to quit the music business for several years.
LAZY LESTER - SUGAR COATED LOVE
I'M A LOVER NOT A FIGHTER
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Thanks to genius Detroit producer Mike Terry, this song has an intro hook that's so strong that it absolutely mesmerizes me. Add in the lovely vocals from the ladies and I'm completely hypnotized! Terry recorded this Chicago group (formerly known as the Versalettes) in Detroit for this, their final single (for a Chicago label no less- you know how I love it anytime there's a Chicago and Detroit connection!). Incredibly, the group didn't even know this record was released until 30 years later, and had no knowledge of the name The Little Foxes!
THE LITTLE FOXES - LOVE MADE TO ORDER
Saturday, June 19, 2010
What a hot track this is!!!!! The Fabulous Playboys, shortly after this record, became known as the Flacons (as the original Falcons were no more and management needed a group with that name). This track is yet another one of those late doo wop period records that combines strong group vocals with the harder edged sounds of the sixties.
FABULOUS PLAYBOYS - NERVOUS
Friday, June 18, 2010
This is one of those songs that for many years I would hear it and think "yeah, cool but I don't really need to own it". Right?
THEN, I heard my mate Dean spin it in London and I realized yes, I most certainly DO!
Somewhat unexpected from Trini, but then again perfectly reasonable. Trini has lots of uptempo gems in his ouvre (such as his versions of "Jailer Bring Me Water" and "Unchain My Heart" for instance), although with out a doubt this is the hottest and most soulful side ever cut by this ultra cool fella. I should also mention that this track was written by Shel Talmy shortly before he moved to the UK and began his brilliant production streak (Kinks, The Who, Creation, etc) who also allegedly had to do some arm twisting to convince Trini to cut this track.
TRINI LOPEZ - SINNER NOT A SAINT
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Centered around leader (bass vocalist) Jay Johnson, the Four Sonics (here joined by a fifth member, hence the "Plus One"!) were a Detroit group that spanned two decades but never grabbed the brass ring of having a big hit single.
This lovely song has one foot in doo wop and another in what was the contemporary late sixties Detroit soul sound.
THE FOUR SONICS PLUS ONE - TELL ME YOU'RE MINE
While this record was released in 1972, the sound screams "1967"! R&B saw many changes in those five short years and this record must have seemed like a relic when it was released.
The Heartstoppers released 3 45's on New Jersey's All Platinum records (this is the only one I've ever heard) and details about the group are shaky although apparently the lead singer on this record is Betty Baker (who also cut some solo sides).
This is another one of those records that with better exposure (and perhaps an earlier release date) could have been huge.
THE HEARTSTOPPERS - MARCHING OUT OF YOUR LIFE
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Seemingly a one-off record? I can't say for sure (there was a group that recorded for Bell called the Attractions as well, but I'm quite positive they were a different group, and of course this isn't Elvis Costello's group either!)
This is one hot Detroit side, and with the quality of the vocalists I would truly be surprised if they weren't members of other groups. As always, any information is appreciated.
THE ATTRACTIONS - BURN UP SOME ROAD (BACK TO MY BABY)
Monday, June 14, 2010
Here's my entire set from MOD Chicago, 11 June 2010 at the Dark Room, Chicago. No edits, no trickery or funny business.
Lonely For You Baby- Sam Dees
This Gets To Me- Pookie Hudson
Adorable Lola- Los Shakers
Out Of Sight- James Brown
If I'm Guilty- Towanda Barnes
I'll Be Gone- Freddie Scott
Hide & Seek- Lillian Dupree
Why- The Dirty Wurds
Crooked Woman- Edd Henry
Levitation- 13th Floor Elevators
No More- The Symphonics
Are You Satis-fied- The Three Degrees
Slow Fizz- The Sapphires
Landslide- Tony Clarke
Nobody But You- The Wooden Nickles
Feathered Fish- Sons Of Adam
I've Gotta Face The World- The Bobbettes
Sugar- The Isonics
I'm Stuck On My Baby- Irene & The Scotts
Midnight To Six Man- The Pretty Things
Monkey Man- Gene Burks
My Heart Is In Danger- Alder Ray
I Lost A Good Thing- Gwen Owens
I Wanna Be Your Dog- Stooges
Magic Potion- Open Mind
Beginning as a gospel family group in Chicago in the fifties, the Kelly Brothers spent most of the sixties recording secular material that is deeply rooted in the call and response of gospel music. This incredible track was recorded in Memphis by the legendary Willie Mitchell.
THE KELLY BROTHERS - THAT'S WHAT YOU MEAN TO ME
Friday, June 11, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Am I a sucker for puns? Check. Chicago soul? check check. Major Lance? check check CHECK!
Behold, all 3 three traits are found in this very 45. Although one could argue that since this was recorded in NYC it's not a true Chicago soul record, my argument would be that Major Lance simply is the epitome of Chicago soul, no matter WHERE he recorded.
Off to MOD Chicago!
MAJOR LANCE - AIN'T NO SOUL (LEFT IN THESE OLD SHOES)
The term "journeyman" gets thrown around quite often in describing soul/blues/r&b singers that had long careers but never quite had a breakthrough hit. Jean Wells is a true journey woman, in that she left her home in Florida to look for gigs in Philadelphia, and most likely ended up in New York during the time this record was cut. While I own a handful of her records, I've realized this morning that she has been far too unrepresented on this blog (it's been almost two years since I featured the sublime "With My Love And What You've Got")
Jean's vocal performance drives this already powerful song well into the soul stratosphere.
JEAN WELLS - PUTTING THE BEST ON THE OUTSIDE
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
After their foray at ABC records, this excellent Oakland, CA group found themselves back at local Boola Boola Records for, in my opinion, their finest release (and also perhaps my favorite ever bay area soul cut).
All elements of a classic are contained within these grooves- a strong song, heavenly harmonies, and a very unique arrangement with an incredible horn section. No doubt about it, this is as good as they get!
THE NATURAL FOUR - HANGING ON TO A LIE
Monday, June 7, 2010
Buried as the b-side of UK hit "Brontosaurus" is this gem written by Move guitarist Rick Price and Birmingham singer Mike Tyler (aka Mike Sheridan). Unlike practically anything else in the (mostly excellent) Move catalog, this song has all the elements of a perfect single; excellent song, production and incredible hooks and harmonies.
THE MOVE - LIGHTNIN' NEVER STRIKES TWICE
Sunday, June 6, 2010
As purveyors of some of the finest dance records ever made ("Tighten Up", anyone?) in this release we find this Texas group showing their ballad side, and what an incredible song and performance it is.
ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS - LOVE WILL RAIN ON YOU
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Over time, I've featured just about every record ever cut by Darrow! Yes, I truly love this guy and his career which is full of incredibly classy records. This record, recorded when he was 24 years old and already a veteran recording artist of almost a decade, finds him comfortably moved into the funkier sounds of the day and propelled by an excellent tune.
DARROW FLETCHER - WE'VE GOT TO GET AN UNDERSTANDING
Friday, June 4, 2010
With an incredible line up of DJ's (of which I am honored to be a part of- see the full lineup HERE) MOD Chicago is among us, with the weekender starting next Thursday.
Hope to see you there! My set starts at 9;30 Friday night. Don't be late!!!!!
During the period which saw this records' release, Marvin Smith was also lead singer for the Artistics (one of THE greatest Chicago vocal groups); a group which he didn't want to join but was urged to by genius producer Carl Davis.
The Artistics released a batch of incredible records with Smith on lead, and the vocal backing on this track is none other than the rest of the Artistics!
As for the record, it's an incredible uptempo slammer from the pen of the legendary Barrett Strong (of Detroit/"Money Thats What I Want" fame)
MARVIN SMITH - HAVE MORE TIME
Thursday, June 3, 2010
This incredible Detroit slow burner two sider finds two songs that are in such a similar groove that they feel like a natural continuance. Possibly not a coincidence; another classic on the Groovesville label (Steve Mancha's Friday Night/ Monday Through Thursday - a former 45 of the day- is set up in a similar way)
With a career that not only included his role as lead vocalist, Melvin Davis also has had his hands in drumming, songwriting and a long career with the Detroit post office (there's a great article about him HERE
MELVIN DAVIS - I MUST LOVE YOU
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
This Detroit record has so much of the raw-but-sophisticated Chicago sound of the late 60's/ early 70's I would have pegged it as Chi-town for sure if it didn't say Detroit on the label. Carol Anderson was definitely a Detroit based singer who recorded quite a few records before her sad, untimely death in 1984. Although there was a CD compilation released which (I think) features all of her known recordings, not much is known about her at all. I don't even know what year this was released, but I'm taking a guess by the sound and also the fact that the label points out that it's mono (many 45's were being pressed in stereo by 1970, unfortunately. I could go into a tirade about how stereo 45's ruined the magic of 45 RPM, but I'll save that for sometime after I've had a few pints and really, no one wants to listen anyhow!)
But back to this record; a superb vocal delivery and an absolutely lovely musical arrangement make for yet another forgotten single full of magic. And, of course, if you know any more info please don't hesitate to write.
CAROL ANDERSON - HOLDING ON
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
It looks as though this singer released only two singles for Brunswick Records; perhaps there are more, but I've only seen evidence of those two. Arranged by the great Bert De Coteaux (most famous for his use of strings on BB King's "The Thrill Is Gone"), I am assuming that this is a New York record. while the song itself is cool, it shows how an expert arrangement and excellent performance can take something that could easily be average and turn it into an awe inspiring monster of a record!
CHUCK CARTER - I CAN'T HELP MYSELF