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Three years after his massive hit ("Treat Her Right"; easily one of my 100 favorite 45's of all time) the great Roy Head released this moody mod r&b masterpiece that is relatively unknown, and more proof that he is one of history's finest white r&b singers. He still has it, as his performance that I caught at Ponderosa Stomp a few years back showed that Roy's voice is still in fine form, and his energetic stage presence would be exhausting for a person 1/3 his age!
Roy's career began (with his group The Traits) when he was still in high school, and he has been performing for nearly 55 years! Quite staggering to think about.
In a genre full of artists that languished in obscurity and/or had precious few releases, Wales Wallace stands out among the pack. Blessed with an incredible voice, Wallace was a friend of Chi-Lite Eugene Record, and Eugene is co-writer of this track, along with the always amazing Carl Davis. Add production by Willie Henderson, arrangement by Sonny Sanders and the results are soul magic.
And if the excellent song and amazing vocals aren't enough, the high stepping Chicago beat is gonna give you a jam that puts a spring in your step for this Monday. I guarantee it. And it all happens in a brisk 2:17
Brothers Of Soul were Fred Bridges (the leader, who had been performing music since his early adolescence), Ben Knight and Robert Eaton. Shortly before the release of this disc they were known as The Creations ("A Dream") but the name change was inspired by graffiti from the Detroit riots; black business owners would have signs saying "soul brother" on their store fronts as a way to prevent their businesses from being vandalized. While these Brothers Of Soul performed music that was not political, their name was a powerful statement nonetheless.
As regular readers know, my love of Chicago and Detroit soul is unparalleled; I could never pick a "favorite" soul city, as the defining sounds from ALL cities producing records during this era have their moments in the sun and unique beauty. The Brothers Of Soul combined Detroit (the musicians and backing track) with vocals cut in Chicago. A PERFECT match; the Detroit style "piston" drumming matched with the sweet strings and gorgeous Chicago style harmonies make for a listen that is a 2:30 slice of soul heaven.
A mysterious one off! Apparently the only release from this Chicago girl group, and what a fabulous release it is! Even though the label is Golden Gate, the presence of Burgess Gardner's name on the label points this to be a Chicago release.
This record was also issued c1970 on the Down To Earth label (out of Chi-town), but I am willing to bet that was a reissue, as the sound of this record is far more 1965 than 1970. By 1970, this type of sound was definitely an anachronism, but knowing soul fans it was probably already in demand so DTE saw an opportunity to license and reissue the track. Purely speculation on my part, but it makes sense.
What also makes sense is the booty shaking JAM contained in the grooves.
One of the most outrageously infectious records I've ever heard.
This Darwin Teoria (not to be confused with Charles) were a Dutch group relocated to Spain who cut at least two singles, of which THIS is the one. Immediately we are hit with an overload of fuzzed out wah wah guitar and some Hammond organ that takes us on a wild ride whether it's the dance floor, living room or behind the wheel. Almost silly, nursery rhyme like verses make way for the anthemic chant of the chorus; my friend Brian (aka DJ Midnight Cowbwoy, and that is not a misspelling) played this song TWICE at Mod Chicago and when he played it again at around 3 AM Saturday night/ Sunday morning it was a call to arms that hypnotized and brainwashed me that I MUST HAVE THIS RECORD, while those of us still awake were tearing up the dance floor to this massive sound. Luckily I was able to score one of my own rather quickly. It's been stuck in my head ever since.
DARWIN TEORIA - DE LA CECA A LA MECA (SALLY'S UPTIGHT)
Born in Tunisia, Jacqueline Taieb's family moved to France when she was 8 years old. She was discovered at age 16 by a talent scout who relocated her to Paris where this track, one of the most famous of the so-called ye-ye sound, was cut.
I'm the first to admit that I am not the biggest fan of ye-ye; I can't relate to the (mostly) childlike/childish subjects and find the music on the twee side. This song, though, transcends that boundary for my taste. The story of a teenage girl (probably autobiographical, no?) who wakes up at the awful hour of 7 AM, gets inspiration by listening to The Who, then daydreams of Paul McCartney helping her with her English homework. Yes, childlike and as a 37 year old man I feel a bit uncomfortable with these type of lyrics, but as a full backer of both The Who and Paul McCartney I can certainly relate. PLUS, Jacqueline's voice is more fully developed and the music hits harder and swings deeper on this cut than practically any other ye-ye tracks I've heard (please save your hate mail for something else more worldly, Francophiles).
Unfortunately for Lyn Collins, her epic recording of "Think" overshadows the rest of her recorded output. Her debut James Brown production (as heard here today) isn't up to the proportions of that mighty record (as few truly are) but it's a damn fine record with incredible vocals by Lyn and a KILLER groove supplied by the Brown group.
JB discovered Lyn through a demo tape that she sent to the Godfather, and he was so impressed that she was slated to replace Marva Whitney as JB's female foil in the touring Revue. However, Vicki Anderson decided to come back to the group, but JB recognized Lyn's incredible talent, sent the young lady to a session in Georgia which yielded this record.
Thanks to the inclusion of the excellent "Spider Web" on the amazing Florida Funk compilation, groove collectors worldwide were introduced to the excellent vocal stylings of Gainesville, Florida's Weston Prim.
A few years prior, this jaw dropping record was somehow licensed by Los Angeles based Brent records, who were just a few releases away from being out of business. This record hardly ever turns up, and there's also no evidence of a local Florida release which was a common occurrence during the era when labels would license a single for wider distribution.
Weston Prim was part of a groundbreaking scene of musical integration centered around the university in Gainesville; like a smaller scale Memphis, these musicians ignored segregation and were bound together by the music they loved.
This debut 45 from California's Fuller Brothers (Erskin and Major Fuller) is one of the most fully realized debut recordings I've ever heard.
Delivered with pure soul and a restrained confidence, the brothers deliver a sublime, pure harmony vocal that gives me shivers and a big lump at the back of my throat. This is the type of record that exists in that upper echelon- a place where music simply does not get any better.
For the rawer, funkier side of the Fuller Brothers, see this recent post.
A few weeks back I had a lovely time on tour in Barcelona; not only did I get a bit of a suntan but I also brought back a few dozen WONDERFUL Spanish beat singles.
Presented firstly and certainly not lastly, here's the debut from Los Iberios, a group who formed in the mid-60's and were active until 1973. The group spent several years honing their craft in Spanish clubs covering the English favorites of the time, and when it came time to cut their first single, the group traveled to London and cut the record at the famed Decca studios to excellent results.
While the a-side is lovely, the vibe of the b-side is the one that fits in with what we do around here which is why I'm presenting it first. "Hiding Behind My Smile" is a fantastic psychedelic-minded uptempo dancer with cool orchestration and a fabulous, hooky chorus.
"Summertime Girl" is certainly the poppier number of the two, but being as it's summertime and all, I felt it necessary to post. Plus, the chorus is hauntingly beautiful, adding an edge of drama to the sunny choruses, just like a reckless summertime romance. Ahhh those Spaniards...
Produced by soul legend Gene Chandler, this brilliant double sider seems to be a one off from a singer that apparently faded into obscurity after its release. Definitely not the (older, Caucasian) actor/ singer of the same name!
"This Man" is a superb uptempo dance track, propelled along by some great vocals and bubbling congas. This is the type of track that was behind the (twisted) wheel of the English northern soul scene of the '70's.
The flip side, "I've Had Enough" is a very cool subdued track that shows Mr Cox also had a way around a ballad. However, when the chorus kicks in, we're treated to some fabulous fuzz guitar and a chord progression that brings to mind "With A Little Help From My Friends". Very good stuff indeed.
Billy Young (1941-1999) was a singer who was born in Texas but moved to California at a young age, where he began recording as a member of The Classics in the early '60's, with his debut solo disc coming out in 1963. Soon afterwords, Young moved to Macon, GA where he became a protege of sorts to none other than THE BIG O, Otis Redding. Otis' influence completely changed Billy's vocal style, which is STRONGLY reminiscent of Otis on this great track, which was produced by the big man himself.
After Otis passed away, Billy continued recording sides under the supervision of Rick Hall, then began self producing a staggering number of singles (up until around 1984) that incorporated a fair share of social commentary and activism.
This Chicago group is definitely not the same (white New York City) bunch that had a massive hit with "Hushabye" several years prior.
This is the only record that I know of from these Mystics, and it's a damn fine one to boot. Raw to the bone, yet the group harmonies still shout out Chicago quality backed by a group that cooks along with fire fueled intensity. This record has the type of sound that the Daptone gang is so successfully mining.
This is from The Mystics myspace page: "The Mystic band got it's
beginning in 1967, in the Pilsen neighborhood in a garage on the near
southwest side of Chicago. The original band was comprised of 6 members,
largely Hispanic, ages ranging from 15 to 19. Rudy Negron (Lead
singers), Ted (Lead guitar), Joe (Drums), and Phil (Keyboards). The
group played for local High School dances and outdoor festivals. Before
long we had quite a following. In 1969 we merged with a local north side
group, which also consisted of a brass and woodwind section. Now the
Mystics were 12 members. In the fall of that same year a producer named
Ed O'Kelly with Teako Label happened by one of the group's rehearsals.
He was so impressed with what he heard that he offered the group a
recording contract. By the winter of 1969 we went down to Universal
Studios to record our first single "Thats the Kind of Love". A love
ballad written by myself Rudy Negron. In the summer of 1970 the single
hit the airwaves on the predominately black AM stations of WVON and WJPC
of Chicago. The recording did quite well and hit the charts at number
11. "Thats the Kind of Love" was heard thoughout the country as well as
in Viet Nam. Returning Vets made it a popular request song in the
Tri-State area. The Mystics never reaped the reward of the recording.
Like many young artist from that era the group had signed a questionable
contract. The Mystics disbanded in 1971. We perform periodically on
special occasions or as special guest with other bands. .."
Releasing only 5 singles during her recording career which spanned (mostly) from 1963-1970 (when she married guitarist Cal Green), this is the debut release from this gorgeous-voiced Texas singer/ songwriter under her own name (it's said that she worked with Johnny Otis in the 50's and cut a record as "Lovey Lewis" in 1954 as well).
This is the type of record that my words will just get in the way of your enjoyment. Just click play and revel in the fantastic song and performance.
Why is it that the mindless music of the good old days is so much better than today's mindless drivel? Because it was and remains a STONE GROOVE, that's why.
Over some ultra funky Hammond organ and a tambourine that directly instructs your ass to SHAKE, Tommy Tucker (of "High Heeled Sneakers" fame) more or less invents bubblegum music on this track that packs the type of wallop that, for example, some twit repeating he has moves like Jagger (no you don't, mate) or some plastic surgery laden pseudo-hipster rattling on about video games simply DO NOT have.I regret to inform you folks that if you've got soul, it ain't showing.
Of course this track doesn't have the depth of some of the more serious r&b, but I love it just the same. And since you're here, I imagine you will as well.
I'll be back at THE BOOGALOO
(312 Archway Rd, London N6 5AT) tonight (FRIDAY the 13th) for a set starting around
11:00. This is a fantastic spot; one so cool that a certain Raymond
Douglas Davies is known to drink a pint at (no, I've personally never
seen him there). Got the same magic box of wax that I brought to Mod
Chicago, and it's full of some deliriously great 45's. Thanks to Red
(Shindig!) for making it happen.
When I hear this incredible record, my internal temperature raises to a level of pure Texas heat! From the opening drum break onwards, Dallas' Big Bo and the Arrows riase the roof, capped with a fantastic vocal by the impassioned Fred Lowery (of whom I'm afraid I know nothing about, other than that he cut a few more 45's).
"Big Bo" Thomas was a man who learned tenor sax at a young age, and served in WWII in the US Army band. After the war, he formed a big band in Dallas and then quickly set his sights on blues, which he found his greatest success. He also worked as a promoter and club owner before retiring from the music business in 1971.
This record caught national attention and was reissued by Atco; sadly, it never hit big as it deserved to. Perhaps it was simply too raw, too funky for mass consumption.
Johnnie Mae Matthews was a true renaissance woman in music and the business of music. After borrowing money from her husband to start her first label/ production company in the late 50's, Johnnie was a key figure in the formation of Motown records and also in fostering the careers of many major r&b stars (I strongly recommend reading her wikipedia entry).
In addition to her work behind the studio glass and on the business end, Johnnie Mae also cut some excellent records on her own which were a showcase for her raw and powerhouse voice. While this record may be one of her slicker efforts (thanks to the production of Ollie McLaughlin, who was enjoying great success with Barbara Lewis), Johnnie Mae still lays out a vocal that's as soulful as any. Sounds like it may be the Motown band playing on the track as well, but I have no proof of that...
I'll be back at THE BOOGALOO (312 Archway Rd, London N6 5AT) this FRIDAY for a set starting around 11:00. This is a fantastic spot; one so cool that a certain Raymond Douglas Davies is known to drink a pint at (no, I've personally never seen him there). Got the same magic box of wax that I brought to Mod Chicago, and it's full of some deliriously great 45's. Thanks to Red (Shindig!) for making it happen.
The wonderful city of Barcelona is loaded with record stores, hidden in alleys off of La Rambla and beyond. In between my time spent sightseeing, relaxing on the beach and working (yes, I am working during these trips although it doesn't necessarily feel like it) I decided to check some of them out. One of my touring companions went to more shops (he's a CD buyer as well), but I was content with the array of goodies I turned up at two stores in particular.
Thanks to my local friends, I was hipped to Discos Juando (C/ Giralt de
Pelliser, 2B 08003 Barcelona) which is not easy to find but worth every
effort! This is a world class store, ran by the very friendly Marcos. I
had delightful conversation with Marcos (seen in the above center
picture) while I perused the generous 45 racks (and bought a few LP's as
well). His prices are excellent, and no vinyl fiend will walk away
Near the infamous La Rambla is the cool little alleyway called Riera Baixa. This street offers some excellent vintage vibe, and the great record store Discos Edison's. While I regrettably don't speak Spanish (other than a few useful words) and the owner of the shop does not speak much English, his warm demeanor and positive body language made for two enjoyable visits, proving once again that uncommon language does not need to cause a divide between us. This tiny shop is LOADED with great records, and they love to give discounts. I walked away with some fantastic Spanish beat and lovely '60's picture sleeves. This store is a definite must.
Well worth checking out on Riera Baixa for those who like vintage clothing and ephemera is Lullaby Boutique. EXCELLENT pieces and so so friendly!!!
ps- I also scored a great pair of BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER (thank you, Mr Dylan) near Riera Baixa.
The Dontells hailed from Chicago's west side, and released a few records up until the early 70's. The group shows an obvious debt to the Impressions, and I believe that this is their first release (a late effort "I Can't Wait" was featured here a few years back).
A talented group lost in the shuffle with typically fantastic Chicago harmonies and a very nice raw production.
I wouldn't make the claim that this cover of Patti & The Emblems girl group classic is as good as the original, it's incredibly sweet and charming. Chicago's The Chips were a self contained outfit that played their instruments (with some string augmentation heard here) and cut two 45's during their time together (1966-68). PLUS, how could I resist posting this record, with those lovely doe-eyed, well-dressed mod beauties looking so sweet and coy on the picture sleeve?
What a lovely record; dreamy and mysterious as if it's being beamed down from another world.
Jay W. King (aka Windsor King) saw success as the producer of JJ Jackson's big hit "But It's Alright", wrote "Ask Me" (a minor hit for Inez & Charlie Foxx) and led a group called The Cashmeres (who stretched back to the doo wop era). He also released some records as W. King and was also credited simply as King.
It's a pity that he didn't release more records on his own (although there may be more that I'm not aware of), as this lovely deep soul track is a minor masterpiece. King's falsetto and overall vocal delivery is pure class.
A song such as "Money (That's What I Want)" is a song that's been covered ad infinitum; plain and simply, it's an INCREDIBLE song that has a message that cuts thru to the bone. Of course the two most famous versions (Barrett Strong and The Beatles) are tough acts to follow, as both versions are examples of PERFECT recordings. Miami, Florida's Fabulettes (aka The Mar-Vells) waxed a version that in my opinion is just as fabulous. These ladies exhibit some seriously sassy attitude on a song which is mostly performed by men, and when they get to their unique "move on, move on down the line" breakdown I, personally, am ready to open up my wallet and bank account and give them all that I have.
Seemingly a one-off, this is a very mysterious record! I have no idea who Tony & Lynn are, but I certainly know who Van McCoy is! I've featured MANY of Van's 60's work on this site, and there's a whole lot of magic on practically everything he produced/ wrote/ and or arranged during the 60's.
I'd sure love to know more about this record if anybody knows anything. Most of Van's work was east coast, yet this was released by a Chicago label and it certainly sounds like it could have been recorded in the windy city. Simply a very sweet record, with some heroic tambourine driving it along.
My record obsession has been a lifelong quest, and I'm the first to admit that I was a very odd kid; while others in my peer group were all about G.I Joe, Star Wars toys and the like all I really cared about were records and those magic sounds that blasted out of the speakers of my close and play record player. Seeing this obsession, the adults in my life cast away the records of their childhood in my direction, effectively encouraging my anti-social behavior (for which I am eternally grateful!)
One of my favorite 45's to spin when I was very young was The Turtles "It Ain't Me Babe", which was backed by the garage stomper "Almost There". While I remember thinking their take on Dylan's "Babe" was OK, it was the stomping excitement of "Almost There" that kept bringing me back, and it's been a favorite record of mine for the past 30 or so of my 37 years.
Imagine my delight when a European friend offered up this INCREDIBLE record on his for sale list; Italy's I KINGS covered both sides of that immortal Turtles record and, just like the original, it's the side featuring "Almost There" that KICKS. The band somehow ups the intensity of The Turtles original (which is VERY punky) and dishes out a fiery plate of Aglio E Olio attitude.
The first thing that struck me about the Pat & Pam records (of which I have both of their releases, and this is the first of which I'll be featuring here) are how Pat & Pam TRULY sound like one voice. The harmonies heard here are the kind of thing that can only happen through blood relations or one person overdubbing a harmony.
In researching P&P for this post, I learned that they're twins! How appropriate! Turns out that they are the daughters of Chicago DJ Lucky Cordell; himself a very powerful jock at Chicago's WVON ("the Voice Of The Negro"- probably the most influential soul station in the nation during the '60's).
Turns out Pat & Pam were VERY young at the time of these records, but one would never know, given the confidence of their performance.
Both sides are glorious; excellent songs, fantastic Chicago soul backing, and a great vibe; but you know what I love about this record more than anything? I love the fact that the girls' pitch wavers slightly at times! It's so real, so beautiful and so human.
If "I Love You, Yes I Do" does not melt your heart into a warm puddle, you've reached the wrong site, baby.
The lead vocal on this track just breaks my heart (in the best way possible) as it is so full of innocent emotion. I love how the piano delicately tinkles away throughout the track as well, beautifully supporting the glorious vocal atmosphere.
All that is known about the Dolls is that they were from Waco, Texas. Of course producer Dale Hawkins is one of *the* major rockabilly artists who also worked behind the mixing desk for some fantastic r&b in the 60's (in addition to talent scou/a&r).
Here's the debut release from Chicago's excellent Vontastics; featuring leader and songwriter Bobby Newsome, this group' run of 8 singles were ALL excellent or, at the very least, very good.
This record showcases the type of sound that was so uniquely Chicago; the rhythm is very similar to Major Lance's "Um Um Um Um Um Um" (in fact, this influential groove made its way to dozens upon doens of Chicago soul jams), the vocals are top notch (the Vontastics' harmonies definitely took a cue from The Impressions), exciting and dramatic horns, all supporting the excellent songwriting of Bobby Newsome.