Saturday, April 30, 2011
Showcasing the incredible instrumental prowess of this legendary New Jersey band, the b side to their excellent debut single ("I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore") is also one of the groups finest r&b tracks.
"Slow Down", penned by Larry Williams, had already been covered in a more manic Merseybeat style; yet, here the group lays out a deep Stax like groove which was propelled into orbit by Dino Danelli's drumming. After 30 seconds of scorching organ and guitar, Felix Cavaliere's raw vocal comes in and everybody gets real, real gone.
Trivia: the exotic looking Atlantic label is an Australian pressing.
THE YOUNG RASCALS - SLOW DOWN
Friday, April 29, 2011
Fred Hughes truly went out in style with his final three 45 releases ("Baby Boy", a great remake of his '65 hit "Oo We Baby I Love You" and today's entry- his final single).
Fred's story is eerily similar to so many of our soul hero's- he began singing doo wop as a young man, and as musical tastes changed in the early sixties Fred was right there, cultivating a journeyman's voice that is the epitome of the soul sounds. Interestingly enough, Fred was born in Arkansas, moved to Compton, CA as a kid but recorded for two Chicago powerhouse labels (Vee Jay and Brunswick).
This track, recorded in Chicago with the legendary Carl Davis behind the board, is pure class. Fred delivers a jaw dropping performance over a hyper exciting track.
Where is Fred Hughes today?
FRED HUGHES - DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO US
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Starting out in the late doo-wop era, The Delacardos, from South Carolina waxed this delicious uptempo stomper late in their career and...not much else to say, other than that this song is guaranteed to go down smooth and put a smile on your face.
The drummer should be given some type of a medal for those inspired snare drum cracks throughout the song.
THE DELACARDOS - SHE'S THE ONE I LOVE
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Releasing this one single and then disappearing, Connecticut's teenage Bram Rigg Set did a mighty fine job on this record that takes in a strong UK mod influence. Not surprising that the group recorded a cover of "I Can Only Give You Everything" by Them as the b side of this record, and that they also demo'd a version of the Who's "I Can't Explain". Most surprising of all was that this record was licensed and released in France with an ultra rare (and ultra mod) picture sleeve. No, I don't own THAT but certainly dream of coming across one in a French record store.
BRAM RIGG SET - TAKE THE TIME TO BE YOURSELF
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Hailing from San Antonio, The Commands had a handful of releases (this is their debut) waxed in '66-'67; this one must have made some waves on the radio, as it was originally released on a tiny label, then reissued nationally on the great Backbeat label.
The group had a lovely harmony sound that would have fit in very well in the late 60's/ early 70's scene; too bad they didn't stick around! Dan Henderson, writer of this excellent song, was also a group member.
THE COMMANDS - HEY IT'S LOVE
Monday, April 25, 2011
Even though Eddy Giles released around half a dozen records, this is little info about him. What I do know is that he was based in or around Shreveport, LA and this was his debut record for tiny record entrepreneur known only as Mr DesMarais who owned a record store and recording studio, and released some of his talent scouting on the Murco label.
This is one of those magical records where song, performance and production all melt into one glorious gooey mass of deliciousness.
Eddy later recorded this same song in Memphis for STAX, but THIS is the version, in my humble opinion.
EDDY GILES - LOSIN' BOY
Sunday, April 24, 2011
With a rather unique lineup of two male singers backing a female lead, Philadelphia's Brenda & The Tabulations were a consistently successful group that, while they never had massive hits, almost always charted (and for good reason). This lovely record shows the group harmony in full swing, two years before the original lineup splintered.
It's always surprised me that Philly is known for such sweet soul sides, as it is truly a gritty city. The Philadelphia Sound was refined even further in the seventies with sweet, ultra-commercial (and mostly glorious) sounds as well. Perhaps it's no surprise at all, as music can let us all escape from our surroundings.
As an aside, my mind was recently blown hearing Brenda's "The Wash" featured in a commercial for Axe deodorant here in the US. "The Wash" was one of the very first songs that I featured on this blog.
BRENDA & THE TABULATIONS - THE TOUCH OF YOU
Friday, April 22, 2011
Turley Richards is known more for a career as a roots country singer-songwriter, but this early solo side is pure pounding soul!
The man has had quite a life; I strongly suggest checking out his story HERE
TURLEY RICHARDS - I FEEL ALRIGHT
Thursday, April 21, 2011
File under "greatest debut releases"!
At the time of this recording, Laura Lee was all of 21 years old, yet already had 10 years experience in the music business (as a member of gospel group The Meditation Singers).
Lee began her secular career in late 1965, and this single followed shortly thereafter. As many other releases on Ric Tic, this record features the talents of Motown's Funk Brothers moonlighting, secretly, on the track and the record nails the infectious Motown energy.
LAURA LEE - TO WIN YOUR HEART
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Even if this was a terrible record, it would hold a special place in my collection due to the lovely picture sleeve thanks to the two mod princesses! Perhaps Stormie is the brunette and Sunny the blonde? There is practically no information at all available to me regarding this record. If you know anything, please let me know.
The song itself is a gorgeous girl group style number with excellent production that straddles the line of earlier sixties melded with the later sixties sunshine pop era with a definite light soul influence thrown in for good measure.
from c. 1967...
STORMIE & SUNNY - ALL THE WARM IS GONE
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The Spellbinders were a GLORIOUS group from new Jersey closely linked with brilliant writer/ arranger/ producer Van McCoy. This group only released five singles and one LP, and the quality of all the releases is top notch. I really love the dynamic shifts that this song winds through, and while it may not be an immediate grabber, the subtle nuances of this lovely record will lull the listener into soul nirvana.
THE SPELLBINDERS - WE'RE ACTING LIKE LOVERS
Monday, April 18, 2011
Before anyone starts freaking out and worrying that I've veered too far off the path with this post, let me reassure you that (while I dig plenty of 80's music) I am not gonna make a habit of posting anything else from the 80's. It just so happens that this record is so unspeakably scarce (and great) that all of us who have loved Ferris Bueller's Day Off (hell, I've based my life upon the principles set forth in that movie) for so many years truly DESERVE to have this song on their ipod.
When I worked at a record store ('91-'96) one of the most common requests was for the FBDO soundtrack to which I would have to reply, SORRY, there never was one; this was almost certainly followed by a question of the likes of "well where can I get that song that plays while they drive away in the Ferrari"? which was followed by "sorry, NOWHERE."
Turns out, John Hughes had a run of promo singles cut of "Beat City" that were distributed in incredibly limited numbers. After years of searching, I've only seen two, and both have surfaced recently (including the one that now resides in the Northern California 45 Sanctuary (aka my home). The other one (the first to surface) the seller wants a kings ransom for (which I almost paid until this copy popped up).
The big question is: why didn't the Flowerpot Men release this officially? They had 3 or 4 other releases???? And, for the record, these Flower Pot Men have nothing to do with the hippie dippy late 60's Flower Pot Men ('Let's Go To San Francisco').
So, just in time for spring, I present to you the perfect song for top down transportation. Not all that odd that I feature it on this blog afterall; that guitar line is straight out of 1966.
THE FLOWER POT MEN - BEAT CITY
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The only hard facts I know of this Chicago group are that the record was arranged by jazzman Burgess Gardner, and that one of the singers, Walter Jones, became a member of the Notations (shortly) after this gorgeous record was released.
Whatever the rest of the story is (and believe me, I'd love to know more), this is yet another example of thesweet soul/ group harmony sound that was so popular and so GOOD in the late 60's early 70s Chicago scene.
I am guessing the year.
THE FIVE CROWNS - JUST A PART OF LIFE
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Just LISTEN to that groove that the band lays out within the first few seconds...WHOA, absolute magic. Without getting too deep into "musician speak", the bass guitar is SO locked in with the drummer and his kick drum on this cut it's almost as if they're sharing a brain. THEN Otis Clay comes in doing his amazing Otis Clay thing and I'm out cold.
No surprise that the production credit goes to that genius Syl Johnson (I wouldn't be surprised if "LJ Welsh" is a Syl pseudonym, either and that he wrote the track). What an amazing display of TALENT. In this day and age of plastic manufactured groups, American (non) Idols not to mention rock bands that have no heart and guts, it just makes THE REAL THING sound even better. And this is THE REAL THING. Music written and performed by people who spent their lives perfecting their craft and kept going despite the odds.
OTIS CLAY - HARD WORKING WOMAN
Friday, April 15, 2011
Predating Michael Jackson/ The Jackson Five, there was Little Gary Ferguson from Texas, who (the story seems muddled) may have moved to Nashville around 1966 to seek fame and fortune. Hoss Allen, host of the amazing TV show "The !!! Beat" more or less discovered him and featured him on the show a few times and the then 8 year old had a fantastic mini-James Brown stage show happening with a surprisingly developed voice (check out the youtube clips; they don't disappoint!)
This seems to be his only release, although he played at least a few road dates as there is a poster from c1967 advertising a gig at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditiorium featuring Little Gary, The Mothers Of Invention, Count Five and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Oh, to have a time machine and go back and see THAT gig!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I know nothing of this record, other than it's a stone groove cover of a Donovan track.
This is seemingly a one off from this 'group" who was, perhaps, a studio concoction ready made to exploit the psychedelic movement and seems ready made for a trip out party scene in a movie of that era. So, basically, an instant key to my heart, and probably yours as well.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Shortly before she was selected to be a part of hippie Broadway musical sensation HAIR, Delores Hall cut some seriously funky sides (on her own, here, and also with Jackie Lee who happens to have been the producer of this side). Delores has had a long career on the stage and screen, but luckily for us soul lovers she left behind this incredibly brassy memento from the beginning of her career.
Arranger James Carmichael had a long career in the business, and found lots of success working with the Commodores thru the 70's and also Diana Ross in the '80's.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I'll first preface by stating that I posted the amazing Joe Tex original recording of this record two years ago, but this version is so fantastic it deserves to be heard as well.
The V.I.P's were a group formed in remote Carlisle, UK and have a very interesting history. The group released a few failed singles, became known as Art for one glorious 45 ("Rome Take Away Three") and an LP, then morphed into Spooky Tooth. Keith emerson (pre-Nice) was also in the group at (I think) the time this record was recorded.
This was one of the records I featured on a recent piece in Soul Up North 'zine focusing on favorite white covers of soul records. While purists may scoff at these records such as this, one must remember the love and respect that England and the European continent extended towards jazz, blues and r&b musicians during the days of segregation in the United States which was still an ugly reality.
THE V.I.P'S - I WANNA BE FREE
Monday, April 11, 2011
In an interesting twist, years after she left Motown, the great Kim Weston covered this Motown classic (originally cut by the Marvelettes) and made it her OWN. I love how during the first verse she plays it cool, then by the second verse starts unleashing some serious vocal firepower.
Arranger Mickey Stevenson was also Weston's husband, who was also working for Motown and left at the same time as Kim, and co-arranger Clarence Paul was also a Motown employee during Motown's golden era. So here we have a glorious reunion of sorts with three under-appreciated Motown giants; all bask in the glory!
I believe that this was also the debut single release on James Brown's "People" record label.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Straddling the line between being a late period doo-wop ballad and an early proto-deep soul side, this amazing track from L.A's Rivingtons is one that SHOULD be heard as much as their two novelty-like (but fantastic) sides. This number apeared as the b-side of their debut release, the classic "Papa Oom Mow Mow". "Papa..." was covered by the Beach Boys, and then stolen, along with the chorus of their second single ("The Bird's The Word") by midwest surf group the Trashmen. Luckily a lawyer representing the Rivingtons got the songwriting credit fixed on the Trashmen release.
Then there's this beautiful song, showcasing some truly awe inspiring vocals. Should come as a big surprise to anyone who has heard these fellows and did not know that they cut such a serious (and seriously majestic) side.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
A perfect double sider!
This is the debut single recorded by Rochester, NY's Soul Brothers Six for the mighty Atlantic records, and their first release with lead singer/ songwriter John Ellison. Both sides are stunning songs and performances, and while a number of inferior, overblown versions of "Wonderful' are much more well known, I hope that those of you who may have a tainted view of that song will give it a fresh listen here if you have never heard the superior, under heard original.
"I'll Be Loving You" is an uptempo soul ballad, and absolutely sublime.
SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL
I'LL BE LOVING YOU
Friday, April 8, 2011
Today's offering is the type of record that, if it doesn't move you, I'm afraid that you just don't have a pulse!
This side from Marlena Shaw (born in New York state and relocated to Chicago for a singing career) is simply one of the greatest debut records in history! Marlena was discovered by Chess Records A&R while singing at Chicago's Playboy Club, about a year and a half after a nervous Marlena blew it in audition for Columbia Records/ John Hammond. with all due respect to the genius of John Hammond, Chess was the RIGHT place for Marlena, and the combination of the track (which was released as an instrumental by Ramsey Lewis) and her voice is the stuff of legend.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
While most of the San Francisco bands during this era were experimenting with long drawn out jams that soared to new highs of being out of tune and out of time (and just plain boring to this listener), their neighbors 45 minutes south in San Jose and the San Francisco bay peninsula (aka my home turf) were cranking out three minute masterpieces such as this that epitomize the psychedelic experience but distill it to a palatable length.
The Stained Glass, out of San Jose, were signed to RCA for three singles, of which this is the final one and their finest. These fellas obviously spent a lot of time digesting "Revolver" and while it may be looked at as a mere copy, the songwriting of this track is truly top notch.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Here's another great summit of Chicago and Detroit soul!
Arranged by Detroit's legendary Mike Terry, this record finds then 20-year old Ruby Andrews striking the biggest hit of her career (#9 R&B) powering through a song co-written by another Chicago legend (Jo Armstead). I LOVE the lo-fi, late night sound of this record.
RUBY ANDREWS - CASANOVA (YOUR PLAYING DAYS ARE OVER)
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
When it comes to soul records & I, it always comes back to Chicago. Perhaps it's all the years I spent living just outside of Chicago that keeps the music so close to my heart, but I also think that (along with Detroit and Memphis) there waqs SOMETHING in the air during the 60's that resulted in the greatest music ever produced in the United States, and thankfully there is SO MUCH of it to share and enjoy.
Jackie Ross' story is so similar to so many other soul heroes. Born in St Louis, she began singing in church at a young age and became a local radio star (her parents had a radio show). After her father passed away in 1954, the family moved to Chicago where young Jackie (born in 1946) began her recording career in 1962 and also became part of Syl Johnson's soul revue.
Today's entry is an absolutely beautiful track written by the legendary Gerald Sims. I could listen to this song over and over again all day and not grow tired of the song, the performance and THE MESSAGE.
One of my favorite aspects of Chicago soul is the upbeat, positive message; I think of this music as being the soundtrack of the civil rights movement. Continuing in the folk tradition and reporting that equality for ALL was the right way and ONLY way to live.
Monday, April 4, 2011
While "Louie Louie" and "Have Love Will Travel" get the lions share of attention, Richard Berry continued recording throughout the sixties, laying down some cool sides, of which this is my favorite. Sadly, Richard was not receiving royalties "Louie" throughout this period where he should have been very, very rich.
I FULLY support go go girls, and whenever I hear a tribute such as this, I proudly stand up and salute out of respect to go go culture.
On top of having a righteous subject matter, the chord changes during the intro and the choruses drive me wild!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Undoubtedly, this was a studio concoction of a band (the LP is almost entirely instrumental versions of soul hits, perfect for a party at the Playboy Mansion), but this original released on 45 is mighty fine.
This side has a KILLER Boogaloo/ Latin groove and just SWINGS!
Friday, April 1, 2011
Born in Oklahoma and relocated to L.A, Ted Taylor released a staggering number of records throughout the late 50's up until 1978 (he was killed in a car wreck in 1987).
with a wild falsetto voice, Taylor really shines on uptempo numbers such as this, which he recorded far too little of! A real stormer of a track.
TED TAYLOR - DADDY'S BABY