Tuesday, November 30, 2010
While Hawkins is typically thought of as a rockabilly legend, this record is pure, unadulterated r&b! Hawkins, an American (born in Arkansas) relocated permanently to Canada in 1958, found his brand of rockabilly found huge favor with the rowdy bar crowds in and around Toronto. when he decided to call Canada home, all of his "Hawks" decided to leave the band with the exception of drummer Levon Helm. Young native American (also relocated to Canada) Robbie Robertson joined the band as well; first on bass, then switched to guitar. These two men became the core of roots rock revolutionaries THE BAND after a few years of playing on their own as well as backing Bob Dylan as The Hawks on his tumultuous "gone electric" tours of '65-'66.
Going back to today's selection; as this group progressed, more and more r&b was added to their repertoire which was also a huge hit with the Canadian crowds they were performing for. This is one of the greatest ever white r&b covers, as this group ups the intensity of Bo Diddley's original to near incinerator levels, Helm's drumming is as solid and danceable as it gets, Hawkins is laying out some of the greatest ever hillbilly soul vocals and it's all capped off by Robbie Robertson's BLAZING guitar break.
Monday, November 29, 2010
A long time Daily 45 subscriber/ friend wrote and recently asked me why I never featured this song; it was yet another instance where I was almost positive that I had (in the very early days of this blog) but I did a quick search and found I hadn't (shame on me!)
This record is not only (yet another) highpoint of Chicago soul delivered by Jerry Butler's younger brother, but was also one of the defining tracks of the early days of the UK's northern soul movement. The driving beat, uplifting lyrics and overall excitement set the standard for a disc that would find favor on the northern scene (for those who don't know this phenomenon here it is in a nutshell; in the late 60s, British record dealers noticed that buyers from the north of England liked a certain type of record. Namely, ones with the driving Motown style beat, tuneful vocals and high excitement leading to the classification "northern soul". The movement was massive throughout the seventies with all night dance parties, and has continued in popularity with diehards worldwide of which I include myself within the ranks! If any of my English friends who read this blog and want to chime in, feel free!) Also, big thanks to the UK scene who gave these artists a second life in their careers that they so justly deserve.
I am always amazed at how this record remains so tuneful holding onto one chord as it builds up excitement in such a subtle way, all the while Billy pushes his vocals just a LITTLE bit more throughout the song until the downright explosive final verse and chorus take it home. Just listen to the way he starts enunciating certain words; pure GENIUS! Practically every record bearing the names Gerald Sims and Carl Davis are worth hearing; these two had a knack for this sort of thing which created some of the most sublime music ever cut to wax.
BILLY BUTLER - RIGHT TRACK
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Portland, OR's first racially integrated band only had a chance to cut this lone 45. As the legend goes, Lanny was walking past a house where he heard a band practicing (first known as the Majestics) and he boldly asked them if he wanted to form a band together! After a name change to the Themes, the group cut this 45, which shows a STRONG early James Brown influence (to my ears). Lanny kept the band going up until the early 70's, apparently. Too bad there aren't more recordings, as his unique vocals are very, very strong. The song has also grown on me more and more with repeated listens; it has that "late night mysterious radio broadcast" kinda sound; the type of thing you hope to come across while driving on a long road trip twisting the dials late into night, blows your mind for two and a half minutes and makes you wonder what the HELL was that!
Friday, November 26, 2010
Initially formed in Dayton, OH as an a capella group while still in high school, The Continentals eventually enlisted a group started by a classmate called the London Fog to be their backing group. In turn, these youngsters formed Dayton's first integrated band! This great record was picked up for national distribution by Imperial Records; sadly, they couldn't get it into the hit status that it deserved. This is one of those songs where arrangement and delivery tell the story so well; the slow burning groove and vocals that are laid back but soulful as all get out!
The song was written by Brenda Lee Jones (who we heard from a few weeks back on the kinda silly but still infectious "Love Game" side recorded as Brenda Lee Mason).
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
The other day, I had a memory from around 30 years ago (I would have been around 5 years old) get triggered into my head; who knows where these things come from, but it popped into my mind and I was very pleased to remember! I grew up in a very musical environment- my mom is a musician, and my uncle had a drool worthy record collection and state of the art 1977 hi-fi. Both of them gave me piles of records from the 60s in my very early days that began my collecting obsession. But back to this memory; mom and I were driving somewhere in her c1971 Chevy Malibu listening to the Rascals Greatest Hits on the 8 track when THIS jam came on. She cranked it up louder and told me this was always one of her favorites and my young mind certainly agreed; it's impossible to resist Dino Danelli's relentless drumming, Felix Cavaliere's Hammond organ and vocals added to the tight and the overall butt kicking soulful ensemble playing of these guys. Plus, it's one of those songs that just MOVES you; Come On Up? Where? It doesn't matter- just have a good time.
As a musician myself, I am always reminded of my childhood days when I see little kids reacting and being excited when they hear and see someone playing music and THAT'S a kick. One of the greatest gifts a parent can give is to share these things with their kids. I know this from experience! And that is something to be very, very thankful for!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I try my best to keep things well balanced over here, but with the massive amount of Chicago soul records that I love it can be very difficult to feature anything BUT Chicago soul. Today's offering is yet another example of that 60's Chi-town magic.
Almost punk rock-like in its velocity and brevity (would have fit perfectly on Elvis Costello's "Get Happy" LP), this track just keeps firing off one hook after another in just over a minute and a half. While the label doesn't say it, Curtis Mayfield probably produced this track, and allegedly it was the first session recorded for his newly formed Curtom records. For whatever reason, it was not released on Curtom but one of Mayfield's other labels that was relatively dormant at the time.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
It's no surprise when hearing this track that Sly & The Family Stone are the backing group! All of the signs of their greatness are in the grooves- funky as hell, tight as a well tuned snare drum and rhythmically popping in a way that drove all of the great Sly hits into immortality.
As for Joe Hicks himself? I'm afraid to say I don't really know much about him; he puts on a great performance in this record, though. He cut an LP a few years later for Stax offshoot Enterprise records.
Also notice how 'We Got To Live Together" on the Hendrix Band Of Gypsies record cops the hook from this song, released just a few months before the Gypsies recording on new year's eve 1969.
Monday, November 22, 2010
There's plenty of serendipity involved in today's entry. While I was researching this record (which I love but knew nothing about) I came across some very valuable info here. Not only was I happy to see some info that related this record to Jimmy Dobbins (I featured his "Little Miss Perfect" on this blog a few years back- turns out Ray & Dave sing the harmonies on THAT record), but also that the post linked back to MY blog and the Jimmy Dobbins post!
As for the record, it's yet another one of those records from what is possibly my favorite soul city; Chicago. While it was a local hit, for some reason it never broke through nationally. A travesty, as the record has it all; strong hooks, great lyrics, creative arrangement, and those heavenly voices of Ray & Dave.
As this is Thanksgiving week, I will say it again- I am so thankful that music like this was made and that we have ears to hear it.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I'm gonna go on record and say that Johnny Daye is the greatest of all white soul singers. Pittsburgh native Johnny cut a few records that went nowhere beginning in 1965; during this time, he met and became friends with Otis Redding, who took young Johnny under his wing as a protege of sorts and brought him to Stax records.
Paired up with Steve Cropper (another incredibly soulful white fellow and one of my biggest personal guitar heroes), this record is pure magic and stands up to the repertoire of his mentor. Too bad more people didn't get to hear the record, full of gritty, gutbucket vocals, guitar licks that are dripping with grease and of course the laid back but slamming Stax rhythm section.
Sadly, Johnny dropped out of the music biz shortly after this record was cut; perhaps it was no coincidence that it was also around the time of the tragic death of his mentor.
WHAT'LL I DO FOR SATISFACTION
I NEED SOMEBODY
Friday, November 19, 2010
With his voice soaring over the gritty, funky band, this record shows off the RAW Detroit sound that was happening just before the slicker Motown sound was stamped out and adopted by virtually everyone in the motor city.
Nate was only 19 when he cut this record (a year after his debut hit "Village Of Love".) By 1966, he was off of Fortune records and off of the scene. His whereabouts were unknown until he staged a comeback in 2002, releasing a few albums and touring (in fine voice and energy) until his untimely death two years ago.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
This New York group released only a small handful of singles, and their lack of chart success did not match their high level of talent. INCREDIBLE group vocals on both sides of this record, and both songs are strong; I love the unexpected twists and turns on "The Boy & The Girl".
This is yet another one of those records that when listening to it I feel very privileged to be able to HEAR this stuff, let alone own the actual artifact (but when it comes down to it, that's the same with every record I post; sometimes I just think about it more than others!). A huge thank you to all of the trailblazing, brave artists (and also those in the biz that believed in this music) who struggled, kept trying, and shared their talents with the world. As long as there are ears and turntables you will never be forgotten!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
This record just flat out SWINGS!
Walter Scott was the lead singer for Bub Kuban & The In Men (of "The Cheater" fame; an absolutely brilliant record), and he released some excellent solo sides (including "Silly Girl" which was featured here a few years back). Walter was white and possessed a very strong set of soulful pipes which are shown to great effect on this record.
In a horrible twist of fate, Walter was murdered in the early 1980's by the man his own wife was cheating on him with (along with the killer's own wife). At least "the cheaters" were caught, convicted and thrown in jail (Walter's wife was an accessory). Luckily, a handful of records were cut that show off the talent of this man, snuffed out well before his time.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I know nothing about Joe-L, but I *THINK* this is a Detroit record. I really love the odd twists and turns in the song and the vocal melody. Doesn't have that potential hit sound to my ears, but I find this record so strangely compelling.
I'm guessing at the year; any other info would be appreciated!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Here we have the greatest British one shot of all time.
Relocated from Yorkshire to London, The Accent sadly only had one chance to record, and luckily the groundbreaking and creative Mike Vernon was behind the boards which led to this creating this absolute masterpiece of mood, folky guitars and some of the heaviest psychedelic beat committed to wax, this side of the Open Mind (remember "Magic Potion", posted here last spring?)
A real tragedy that this band wasn't given a chance to cut an LP or at least a few more singles as who KNOWS what else they may have come up with. However, it's kinda cool in a way that their one release is simply flawless. Too bad more people haven't heard it throughout the years. Kind of amazing that this record was released in the US at all; however, as this was the day when creativity ran free and the suits had no idea what those crazy kids were doing, musicians were able to freely explore their creativity. Too bad that hasn't been the case for a LONG time.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Made up of three Drew sisters (Patti, Erma, & Micki) plus one fella (Carlton Black), Evanston, IL's Drew-Vels simply had too-short of a career which comprised only four singles. All of their sides show off those beautiful family/sisterly close harmonies and Patti's rich, sexy voice (Patti later cut some excellent solo singles including the hit 'Workin' On A Groovy Thing' but her career was allegedly cut short due to a drug problem).
I love the breezy, Caribbean-like groove that was so popular in Chicago soul at the time, and the simple, direct nature of the song that seemingly ends just as it begins begging to be played more than once!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
One of many consistently great Chicago groups, practically every release from the Artistics is top notch in their performance, execution and songwriting.
Released shortly after lead singer Marvin Smith left the group, he did contribute some lead vocals to studio sessions. I'm pretty sure he's singing the glorious falsetto lead on this track, but if you know otherwise, please let me know!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thee Midnighters were possibly thee most versatile band on the L.A scene in the sixties; whether it was the deep soul of "Dreaming Casually", the prideful "Chicano Power", lowrider anthem "Whittier Blvd" or their huge hit version of "Land Of 1000 Dances", this great band was equally adept at virtually any style of music and their superb musicianship and stellar vocals are as good as they get.
However, THIS track finds the group whipping out what is perhaps the greatest garage soul record ever made. While I love practically everything the group ever recorded, for my ears this is their peak, and if I were to compile a list of the 100 best 45's of the 60's, this side would certainly have an important place. Luckily, I haven't had to compile a list like that, as it would be a tortuous task! I've wanted to feature this song since day one of the blog, but I've been hunting down a copy for ages and only recently did it make it into my clutches.
I can only IMAGINE what this song sounded like live back in the day from the band radio man Casey Kasem described as "the greatest band I ever hired"(although the raw recording full of fuzz guitar, fuzz bass, and even fuzz vocals, probably gives a good idea of this bands' live abilities).
THEE MIDNITERS - JUMP, JIVE, AND HARMONIZE
Thursday, November 11, 2010
A friend/ list member turned me on to this one; I'd never heard it before and he sent it to me as one he thought I'd like. I like it indeed and couldn't believe I hadn't heard it before!
I can't seem to find any info about this group, or even if they released any other records. Oddly enough, they recorded for country musician/ producer's label Stop records out of Nashville.
whatever the story of the group is, the story in the grooves is an intense one; the vocals are incredible and the arrangement is unique with that unusual, cooled out breakdown part that builds the song to an explosive ending. Hot stuff!
Once again, I'm guessing at the year.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Man, what a FUNKY version of this Motown classic!!!! Brenda has an ultra cool vocal delivery, the drumming is outtasite, the truly odd thing is that the bass is mixed ridiculously loud (but I'm not complaining- it just makes for a nice garage/ basement kinda sound).
I know nothing of this record; web searches on the artist and Rare Bird records leave me empty handed. Anybody know anything??? I'm guessing on the year as well.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Buried as a b-side on one of Joe Simon's final (non-hit) singles for the Sound Stage 7 label, there's something about this track that overcomes its own weaknesses. While the song itself is a very simple statement of purpose, the excellent arrangement and Joe's rich vocal help transcend very average material into an uplifting track that jumped out of my speakers and just seemed RIGHT for a Monday morning.
Joe Simon was born in Louisiana, moved with his family to Richmond, CA (where he began his recording career) and as a young adult ended up in Nashville, TN where he signed to Monument records soul subsidiary Sound Stage 7. We just don't hear voices anymore with the kind of depth that Joe Simon sang with.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
It's a real shame that Spaniels lead singer James "Pookie' Hudson didn't record more solo singles during the 60's. His sweet voice was perfect for the soul sounds of the day, as heard here and on the absolutely glorious "This Gets To Me" (a past 45 of the day).
"Jealous Heart" itself is also a model for classic songwriting; the strong structure, melody and lyrics yield the type of song that can be part of ANY genre depending on the arrangement.
Friday, November 5, 2010
In the ongoing saga of presenting every release from the amazing Darrow Fletcher, here is perhaps his ultimate record. Doesn't get any better, my friends!
This blazing record is also a nice cross section of Chicago and Detroit talent; Darrow was born in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, moved to Chicago (where he began his career at age 15) but cut this (as well as other sides) with Detroit arranger/ musician Mike Terry.
DARROW FLETCHER - WHAT GOOD AM I WITHOUT YOU
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Chicago's fantastic reissue label Numero Group has just released an epic box set covering the first decade of the incredible Syl Johnson's recorded legacy, and I give it my absolute highest recommendation as an essential purchase for anyone reading this blog.
I'm very proud to say that I have a very tiny part in this set in that Numero used a scan of my copy of "Do You Know What Love Is" for the beautiful, lavish booklet included in the set. There's no better time than now to repost that incredible gem of a song, released in 1966 and until now has been one of Syl's toughest tracks to track down.
I can say without hesitation that Syl is not only one of my all time favorite artists, and hopefully this set will spread the word to those who are unaware of this man's genius. Syl is highly skilled at song writing, guitar slinging, producing and THAT VOICE... That voice is soul music personified. I've seen him live recently and it's incredible to see and hear a man in his 70's have so much energy with a voice that has lost none of its power and majesty. All hail Syl!!!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Featuring some of the wildest phase shifting sounds this side of The Small Faces "Itchycoo Park", Santa Barbara, CA's Giant Crab bid farewell with this single after two LP's failed to go anywhere.
This cracker of a song would have been perfect for any number of psych out party scenes that were oh so common in films of the late 60s/early 70s.
THE GIANT CRAB - ESP
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
A super cool double sider, made even more exciting by the presence of none other than Jimi Hendrix blazing on guitar during one of his earliest sessions.
Just like Hendrix, vocal and sax man Youngblood was transplanted into the bustling New York City music scene (he was born in Augusta, Georgia) and odds are the two met while playing with Curtis Knight & The Squires. Lonnie & Jimi obviously had a great chemistry that was demonstrated on this record (as well as on their other single together, "Go Go Shoes") and while Jimi only gets scant opportunities to cut loose, it's clear from Jimi's breaks on "Bessie Mae" that all the pieces were in place for Hendrix to turn the music world upside down only mere months after this record was cut.
This record has erroneously been credited to 1963 many times, due to the "mistake" date on the label, common to so many Cameo-Parkway (and Motown) record labels.