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All music presented on this site is shared under the premise of "fair use"; this site is solely intended for the purpose of education and critique. If you are a rights holder to any of the music presented and wish for it to be removed, simply contact me directly and it will be taken down.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

FBI - RHYTHM TRIP b/w DO SOMETHING FREE

This record is a complete mystery; not only is it the only known release from this mysterious group called F B I, but it also seems to be the only release from the Oakland, CA based Daisy Records.

Whatever the back story, this is a FREAKY double sided psychedelic funk slab. It kinda goes without saying that this record is RARE (like, REALLY rare); however, I'm not one that freaks out on records just because they're 'grails'. There has to be something captivating in the grooves, and this one has IT. Drum breaks, fuzzed-out wah wah'ed guitar, a SUPER bad bass player, excellent group vocals, creative horn charts? Check. Both sides flat out COOK, and there's just no more words needed for these two jams. I'm taking a guess at the year; if you know more, please write.

I won't say how many exactly, but I traded off BOXES of 45's to score this record a few months back. No joke! Granted, they were mostly cheapies, but it helped stock up my pals Allen and Michael's store (Needle To The Groove, San Jose, CA) with 45's for a LONG time.

from c1971...

FBI - RHYTHM TRIP

DO SOMETHING FREE

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

SATURDAY'S CHILDREN - CHRISTMAS SOUNDS b/w DECK FIVE


While I don't generally pick favorites, as each year passes this record has gotten deeper and deeper into my soul, and I could probably say that it's my favorite rock n roll Christmas single.

One area that wasn't explored very deeply by US garage bands was the Christmas record; however, Chicago's Saturday's Children were way too sophisticated to be called a garage band.

Here, the band (deeply influenced by the Beatles) melds "Deck The Halls" with Dave Brubeck's jazz standard "Take Five' and turns it into a jazzy, quasi-psychedelic number that I almost guarantee will bring on some holiday cheer. This group had an incredible knack for harmonies, and tackle the tricky 5/4 time signature with ease making for the most hypnotic Christmas record I've ever heard. The other side ("Christmas Sounds") is an exceptional holiday original showcasing their excellent group harmonies and songwriting skill.


from 1966...

SATURDAY'S CHILDREN - CHRISTMAS SOUNDS

b/w DECK FIVE

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

BETTY LLOYD - SNOWFLAKES


(Originally posted 12/24/11)

One of the prettiest, yet little known soul Christmas singles.

I'm not sure if this Betty Lloyd is the same singer who was a member of the east coast girl group The Percells; Thomas Records  was a Chicago label, and this track certainly has an indelible Chicago stamp on it.

The lyrics brilliantly capture the feeling of being alone at Christmas, but without self pity. Oozing with quality, this song should be a holiday standard.

from 1969...

BETTY LLOYD - SNOWFLAKES

Monday, December 22, 2014

THE MONKEES - CHRISTMAS IS MY TIME OF YEAR b/w WHITE CHRISTMAS

This was a record that I'd been chasing for YEARS until I finally scored a copy a few years back.

Issued both in 1976 (to the fan club in limited numbers) and again in 1986 (this copy), this single hardly ever turns up for sale because both pressings were so limited, and most people tend to hang onto them. I have no idea where the '86 release was even SOLD, as I was both a Monkees fan and reading Goldmine magazine as a youngster during this era and I never remember seeing it for sale, and certainly have never seen it in any record stores. Perhaps producer Chip Douglas repressed it for the fan club only, I'm not sure. I've had both sides of this 45 on a lo-fi bootleg LP for over 20 years, but nothing beats having this copy with the uber-cool picture sleeve showing the fellas in the studio, reunited.

Chip Douglas and (Turtle) Howard Kaylan wrote the song back in 1968, and it was issued as a single by a group calling themselves The Christmas Spirit, which was made up of several Turtles and Linda Ronstadt. While the song was revisited for The Monkees version, it was completely re-arranged in a far superior way for their track, which is pure magic.

The group was unable to use the name Monkees due to legal restrictions, so the record was cleverly released as We Three Monkees. Michael Nesmith chose not to participate, but the rumor mill claims that it's none other than Nez playing pedal steel guitar on both sides. Micky and Davy take turns on the lead vocal, which is heartfelt and lovely, and the song itself is a wonderful thing. What's in the grooves makes it obvious that everyone involved was having a ball when they made the record. Davy takes the lead for a very moving, country flavored version of "White Christmas" on the flip side, which shows how this man could croon with the best of them and how missed he is.

The words written on the back of the picture sleeve, "An expression of friendship and togetherness to make the holidays a little brighter for all of us" couldn't be more spot on.

Whatever it is that you celebrate, I wish you peace, love, and happiness today, tomorrow and everyday.

from 1976...

THE MONKEES - CHRISTMAS IS MY TIME OF YEAR

b/w WHITE CHRISTMAS



Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas with the Godfather; James Brown wishes you a Merry Christmas

Of course "The Christmas Song" is one of the most-recorded standards of the season, but James Brown beautifully croons the number in a way that wasn't his norm, yet, as usual, he makes the song all his own. His spoken outro is priceless as well.

This single has two takes of the same song, one on each side; both sides were also featured on JB's first (scarce!) Christmas album. 

from 1966...

THE CHRISTMAS SONG

"Don't Leave Nothing for me, I've had my chance you see" is my favorite line on this great track from JB. James Brown and co-lyricist Hank Ballard definitely share the true spirit of giving during the holiday season here, and it's a lesson to all of us. The Godfather remembers that the child without toys was once himself...

YOU can be a Santa Claus yourself by donating to one of my charities of choice - Toys For Tots. Help put a smile on the face of a child this year, and every year. 

from 1968...

SANTA CLAUS GO STRAIGHT TO THE GHETTO

While a few years of shouting the funk may have started putting a strain on James' voice, he returns to his lovely croon on another JB original; "It's Christmas Time". While a lonely Christmas theme may have been used on numerous holiday classics, JB once again puts his own spin on the theme with excellent results and a poetic side that shows the versatility and talent of this legend.

from 1969...

IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In tribute to Wendy Rene (1947-2014)

With a yearning voice that is unrestrained and full of emotion, some of my favorite records on the Stax label were cut by Mary Frierson, aka Wendy Rene. Not only did Mary possess a unique and powerful voice, but she had a hand in writing all of her records, as well. I was very sad to read that Mary passed away yesterday. "Wendy" was given her stage name by fellow Stax legend Otis Redding, and this was the name which she used for all of her records. Even though none of Wendy Rene's records sold well, she toured regularly with other Stax artists in the mid-60's, and was initially scheduled to be a part of Otis Redding's final (tragic) tour. Wendy became pregnant shortly before, and dropped out of the tour and ended her musical career.

Wendy's solo career began after releasing a few Stax 45's with her brother and two friends in a group called The Drapels (whose records are by far among the rarest Stax releases, and probably the hardest records to find on the label in general). "After Laughter", written with her brother, is the record which Wendy is most known for; this record was initially supposed to be a Drapels release, but became the first Wendy Rene release in 1964.

No matter how many times I've heard this record, its undeniable spook factor still scares the heck out of me- something about the performance here sounds like something a tad bit too personal; something we're not SUPPOSED to hear, as if listening in on an audio diary.The backing (provided by Booker T. And The MG's) is an unbelievable performance in itself. WuTang Clan famously sampled this record, and it also appeared on the soundtrack of the film Lucky Number Slevin in 2006.



Wendy's next single (also released in '64) was an amazing, double sided masterpiece: "Young And Foolish" carries on the type of almost-too-personal emotion found on "After Laughter", while the flip side "Bar-B-Q" is as rollicking a tribute to soul food as one could ever wax.As silly as Bar-B-Q may seem on the surface, Wendy hits a few notes with incredible soul power and force, while MG Steve Cropper lays out a NASTY soul that drips grease 'n' sauce all over the place.

YOUNG AND FOOLISH


Bar-B-Q


Wendy's final release, 1965's "Give You What I Got" may well be my favorite of her records. Booker T & The MG's seem especially inspired (Cropper co-wrote, dig how Duck Dunn mimics her vocal line on bass!), while Wendy turns in a performance of Otis stye intensity, pushed along by a brilliant female backing vocal section.


Thankfully, Light In The Attic records compiled all of Wendy's singles a few years back (both solo and with The Drapels) and added a few non-released tracks as well; the amazing "Crying All By Myself" is worth the price of admission alone. The vinyl pressing sounds great, as well.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

CURT DARIN - TWO ON A CLOUD

This beautiful track seems to be a one off for Curt Darin, unless this is another singer working under a pseudonym. Considering that both Ivy Hunter and Robert Bateman (both Motown alums) are credited on the label, all signs point to this being a Detroit production.

from 1976...

CURT DARIN - TWO ON A CLOUD


Thursday, December 4, 2014

THE MONTANAS - THAT'S WHEN HAPPINESS BEGAN

Phew...What a RAVER!

The Montanas hailed from Wolverhampton, UK ("the Midlands") and had a rather long run together which later produced two minor US hit singles. Most of the groups releases found more of a pop flavor, but this track matches two of my favorite things; namely, a strong R&B influence and devastating FUZZ guitar.

from 1966...

THE MONTANAS - THAT'S WHEN HAPPINESS BEGAN

Monday, December 1, 2014

LAMONT DOZIER - BREAKING OUT ALL OVER

As one of the most successful songwriting teams in history (Holland/Dozier/Holland), Lamont Dozier also released several records as a performer that didn't achieve the hit status that they deserved.

Lamont didn't have a hand in writing this song, but it is certainly up to the quality of his work. Co-writer/ producer/ co-arranger McKinley Jackson was a very prolific writer whose name appears as the writer of many excellent Detroit soul tracks of the '60's, released on some of the many labels that modeled themselves as "mini-Motowns".  This track has the propulsive, positive feel that highlights so many of the best early to mid '70's soul singles.

from 1973...

LAMONT DOZIER - BREAKING OUT ALL OVER

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

LITTLE RICHARD - I DON'T WANT TO DISCUSS IT

After spending several years away from R&B or rock 'n' roll after a brush with death on an airplane that made this star turn his back to fame and embrace the life of a minister, Little Richard's mid-'60's return to recording secular music (his stage return was earlier) waxed some of his most devastating records.

Richard shared some history with musician/ Okeh Records A&R man/ real life gangster Larry Williams, as they both recorded for Specialty Records in the 1950's (Larry was groomed to be Specialty's replacement for Richard when he went to the cloth in the late '50's), but they didn't become close friends until the mid '60's. By this point, Williams was working with Johnny "Guitar" Watson in L.A as musicians and an A&R team for Chicago based Okeh (essentially as a west coast branch). The Williams/ Watson soul revue band worked the California clubs with Little Richard to great acclaim, and eventually the team made some stellar records, none of which achieved the success they deserved.

'Discuss It' sports a massive groove, and some phenomenal dual vocals from Richard and Larry Williams (that's Larry heard on the semi-spoken intro).

from 1966...

 LITTLE RICHARD - I DON'T WANT TO DISCUSS IT
 

Monday, November 3, 2014

JOHNNY "K" - COME OUT

A funky groove, fuzzed out, wah-wah'ed, acid fried guitar, and a raw vocal- yes, all of the above!

This track would fit right in (right on?) in the soundtrack of any late '60's/ early '70's LSD  exploitation film, and would work very well to enliven the scene where everybody freaks out. It's not the type of record that I would classify as a great song per se, but the arrangement and performance make it interesting and create a definite vibe.

Johnny K(illens) was (is?) a Florida based artist who released half a dozen or so singles between the mid '60's up to the mid '70's.

from 1970...

JOHNNY "K" - COME OUT

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BA BA THOMAS - MISS SHAKE IT

Perhaps the greatest record that Little Richard never cut????

I haven't a clue who Ba Ba Thomas is (there are 2 45's on King records from this mysterious figure), but it sure is a convincing imitation of a style that Little Richard had given up (and not yet come back to), and was also a complete anachronism at the time of its release in 1964. However, a wild slab of pure adrenalized rock n roll/ R&B never goes out of style, so I'm proud to present to you the excellent sounds of 'Miss Shake It'. Use this stuff with caution; it's lethal!

from 1964...

BA BA THOMAS - MISS SHAKE IT

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MAGIC SAM - I'LL PAY YOU BACK

Magic Sam. Two words that send a chill up my spine...

Sam Maghett was a master of the electric guitar, born in Mississippi and transplanted to Chicago at a young age). As Sam was born in 1937 and a bit younger than the others on the electrified Chicago scene of the fifties and sixties, he took the blues into a whole new bag by incorporating not only the influence of soul but some rockabilly as well (check out his genius track '21 Days In Jail' from 1958). Sam's 1967 LP on Delmark, West Side Soul, is easily among the top ten blues LP's ever cut to wax, and in many ways may be my personal favorite.

On this side, fellow new breed Chicago bluesman Bobby Rush is credited as songwriter and producer. I'm not gonna lie; 'I'll Pay You Back' is essentially a plagiarized rewrite of The Isley Brothers' 'It's Your Thing'. However, the record is bad ass and infectious, and elevated Sam into a whole new thing that matched his always powerful vocals and guitar work into a very contemporary, hard hitting funk bag. 

Tragically, this 45 was Sam's final release, as he died of a heart attack on December 1, 1969 at the age of 32 years old. I can only imagine how many more raw, from the gut records he would have given us had he lived.

from 1969...

MAGIC SAM - I'LL PAY YOU BACK


As a bonus, here's an incredible clip of Magic Sam performing live in Europe, probably from 1969 as well. Not only is he demonstrating his earthy, straight from the soul guitar playing, but the opening interview show the man to be a soft spoken gentleman as well.


Monday, October 20, 2014

THE SHOWMEN - IN PARADISE b/w TAKE IT BABY

Phew, what an EXCELLENT double sider, oozing with vibe and Northern Soul goodness.

'In Paradise' has a mysterious, dramatic intro that leads way to an easy tempo stomper full of hooks, great vocals and hypnotic strings. Flip it over, and 'Take It Baby' is sure to amaze with a strong Motown-like groove and those always fantastic lead vocals, courtesy of the late, great General Johnson.

While the Swan Record label was releasing a slew of fantastic singles during '65-'66, they were having great difficulty getting their records distributed, and were verging on the brink of bankruptcy which turned out to be their fate in '66.

Led by the incredibly powerful vocals of Atlanta native General Johnson, The Showmen scored one national hit with their debut single (the anthemic "It will Stand", which hit the charts twice- once in '61 then again in '64). The music of the Showmen played a very important role in the "beach music" craze of the Carolina coast.

from 1965...

THE SHOWMEN - IN PARADISE

b/w TAKE IT BABY


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

JOHNNY COLON - MOMBO SUZIE

Bizarrely, this righteous boogaloo track was buried on the flip side of a Dickie Goodman (of 'Flying Saucer' "break-in" fame) novelty record.

Johnny Colon (a New Yorker of Puerto Rican heritage) was an important figure on the development of the boogaloo sound, although he isn't as well known today as some of his contemporaries.

from 1969...

JOHNNY COLON - MOMBO SUZIE

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

THE FI-DELS - TRY A LITTLE HARDER b/w YOU NEVER DO RIGHT (MY BABY)


Here's one of those amazing one-off records that, when listening today, one wonders why it wasn't a massive hit in its time. Producer and co-writer Bob Relf was one half of Bob & Earl ('Harlem Shuffle' fame) and 'Try A Little Harder' is a great example of Los Angeles aping Motown with glorious results.

The flip side is an excellent deep soul track in its own right. Nothing else seems to be known about who The Fi-Dels were, but it wouldn't surprise me if Mr. Relf himself is singing on the record; the only release from The Fi-Dels.

from 1967...

THE FI-DELS - TRY A LITTLE HARDER
 
b/w YOU NEVER DO RIGHT (MY BABY)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A BAND OF ANGELS - INVITATION


I know, I know... it's been a LONG time since my last post. I promise that things are gonna be more frequent, as I have lots of new discovery, killer 45's  that I'm ready to share.

'Invitation' is the final single from this oddly named group of British fellows, and shortly after its release vocalist Mike D'Abo went on to far greater success as lead singer with Manfred Mann (that's Mike singing lead vocals on Mann's huge hit 'The Mighty Quinn').

'Invitation' is a superb example of the type of influence that American soul music was having upon MOD British youngsters, and it's such a success that I could easily hear someone such as James Carr singing this song in a deep southern soul recording. However, this great composition from Mike D'Abo seems to have only been cut this one time only and a splendid recording it is.

from 1966...

A BAND OF ANGELS - INVITATION

Friday, August 29, 2014

THE TROPICS - AS TIME'S GONE


Whoop! Whoop! In many cases, a song with a repeated chanted such as this would prove obnoxious, but in the hands of these cats, it's quite alright. Maybe it's the stomping beat, trippy drone-out guitars, and overall outrageous attitude that's in these grooves...

Hailing from the tropics of southwest Florida, legend has it that the group traveled to Chicago in 1966 to compete at the International Battle Of The Bands in which they took first place- a contract with Columbia Records.

The group released a handful of singles (showing a strong British Invasion/ folk rock influence) on Columbia that never broke nationally. The group was fantastic, boasting strong vocals and musicianship, as well as excellent production work from Teo Macero, known mostly as a jazz producer who is immortalized by his groundbreaking work with Miles Davis, among others.

from 1967...

THE TROPICS - AS TIME'S GONE

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

the final 45 RPM release from The Bang Girl Group Revue; a few copies left!


The Bang have broken up, but we have a very LIMITED (200 copies) colored vinyl 45 RPM epitaph available. It's a red hot little number titled 'Hey Mr Beatmaker', and it finds The Bang joined by none other than Joel Gion (Brian Jonestown Massacre) on tambourine. The b-side is 'Drink In Hand', from The Bang's debut LP, and is released in a special mono mix to appease DJ's worldwide who have requested this song on 45 RPM wax.

Give a listen to the video below for a sneak preview.

USA:



Canada/ Mexico:


UK/ Europe/ Japan:

THE EPSILONS - THE ECHO

By the time this record was released in 1968, the sweet soul sound heard in these groups was becoming as prominent in soul music as the (James Brown influenced) hard hitting funk. The sweet soul sound (heard most prominently at the time in Chicago soul) took a cue from Doo Wop vocals and matched it to a slow grooving soul beat that is one of those magical combinations of styles that produced a whole lot of great records.

The Epsilons were a soul group based from Philadelphia (but based in Memphis at the time of this recording) that only released two records; however, (falsetto) vocalist Lloyd Parks was also heard on Arthur Conley's smash hit "Sweet Soul Music" and became an early '70's member of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.

It's a beautiful track showcasing an incredible group vocal performance.

from 1968...

THE EPSILONS - THE ECHO

Monday, August 11, 2014

WILLIE BOBO - GOTTA HUSTLE ON

Willie Bobo is a legendary figure in the world of Latin/ Afro-Cuban jazz; not only did the man play percussion (with a focus on his timbale work) alongside Tito Puente, but Mr. Bobo also played on several Latin-influenced jazz records by the likes of George Shearing and Cal Tjader, as well as cutting several LP's on his own.

This track took his percussion work into the proto-disco era in a VERY appealing way. On top of a relentless groove, the percussion drives HARD on top of a very jazzy piano (which reminds me a whole lot of Willie Tee's playing), a spaced out guitar and electric piano, and superb horns.

from 1974...

WILLIE BOBO - GOTTA HUSTLE ON

Sunday, July 27, 2014

ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS - SHE'S MY WOMAN, SHE'S MY GIRL

Behold, the sublime and gorgeous debut from Houston, TX's Archie Bell & The Drells. This record was cut a year before their massive smash 'Tighten Up', and finds the group exploring a deep soul vocal harmony sound. Archie's vocal here is so smooth and when he slides into falsetto it has the power to take you anywhere...

from 1966...

ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS - SHE'S MY WOMAN, SHE'S MY GIRL



Sunday, July 6, 2014

RONNIE SPECTOR - PARADISE

Yes, I know; it's been a LONG time since I've posted anything here (it *is* the Occasional 45 these days after all). However, after seeing the fabulous Ronnie Spector live last night (for the second glorious time), I was reminded that I'd never featured this glorious single here and it was time to remedy that.

'Paradise', while released in 1976 (where it sadly sank without a trace), is a Ronettes master that was cut in 1965 but never released during the groups' lifetime (along with the majestic 'I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine'). A pity, as this glorious P. Spector/ Harry Nillsson penned track certainly is a little slice of what the title states, and then some. Ronnie's vocal is at its most majestic, and the Wall of Sound is at its epic best as well. The only sad thing about this record is thinking about the torture that the madman maestro inflicted upon this poor woman, which is well documented and harrowing. Ronnie, we love you.

Also, I have been posting lots of album tracks (and other goodness) to my other site - The Record Collector's Journal; check it out!

from 1965/1976...

RONNIE SPECTOR - PARADISE



Thursday, April 24, 2014

LEE 'SHOT' WILLIAMS - IT AIN'T ME NO MORE

Lee Williams nickname 'Shot' came from his mother, who called him 'Big Shot' as young Lee liked to dress up in fancy clothes at any opportunity. 'Shot' was born and raised in Mississippi, and moved north (first to Detroit, then to Chicago) for a career as a blues musician.

This track, while not a blues number, showcases Lee's vocals in a raw, deep soul setting that works perfectly for the man's style.

from 1972...

LEE 'SHOT' WILLIAMS - IT AIN'T ME NO MORE


Also, check out my tribute to the recently departed Deon Jackson here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

THE JELLY BEANS - YOU DON'T MEAN ME NO GOOD b/w I'M HIP TO YOU

The Jelly Beans scored a massive hit (US Top 10) with their debut release ('I Wanna Love Him So Bad'), but it proved to be their only successful release in a scant three single discography. This (final) release from the group found them exploring more depth to their sound with a harder soul edge; one side being an uptempo stomper, and the flip being a brilliant soul ballad. Sadly, this single failed completely and is very, very scarce. While the northern soul favored 'You Don't Mean No Good' was the side that initially drew me to seek out this record (dig those infectious handclaps and the attitude laden backing vocals!), 'I'm Hip To You' was a very pleasant surprise to me on first listen, and I would rate it as perhaps the greatest thing the group ever cut. The mood, arrangement, vocals, and the song itself are top notch; it has the type of dreamy qualities that are favored by the Lowrider/ underground oldies crowd as well.

The story of the Jelly Beans is a familiar one in the annals of girl group lore; high school friends (in this case 4 young ladies and one young man) formed a group which was 'discovered' and signed by legendary songwriters Leiber-Stoller to their newly formed Red Bird label.

from 1965...

THE JELLY BEANS - YOU DON'T MEAN ME NO GOOD

b/w I'M HIP TO YOU


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

BABY WASHINGTON - DOODLIN

The combination of New York producer (and Sue Records label owner) Juggy Murray and vocalist Justine 'Baby' Washington was one of pure musical chemistry; Juggy placed Baby's husky, intense vocals inside productions that showcased the strength of her voice in the perfect setting.

'Doodlin' is a track that was written by the great jazz pianist Horace Silver, and while the original recording from 1954 (Horace Silver and The Jazz Messengers) is a relatively straight (but swingin') hard bop performance, this reworking takes on the Latin style rhythms that Horace Silver was also exploring in his music during the 1960's to brilliant effect. While the original is an instrumental, lyrics are added here; strangely, though, the lyricist isn't credited (it may very well have been Baby herself). The end result is a unique vocal melody with jazzy phrasing and a phenomenal performance from everyone on the track.

Possessing an incredible, earth voice, Justine's "Baby" Washington's professional music career began in 1956 when she was all of 16 years old as a member of New York City group The Hearts. By 1959, she was recording as a solo artist.

Justine continues to sing to this day, performing occasionally on the east coast. Sadly, she was working on tracks with producer Juggy Murray (of Sue Records fame) who was quoted as saying he would "rather record Baby Washington than eat" when Juggy died in 2005.
from 1963...

BABY WASHINGTON - DOODLIN

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

JOHNNY MOORE - LONELY HEART IN THE CITY

'Lonely Heart In The City' is one of those records that commands attention from the very first revolution per minute- the band lays down a swirling intro, a killer guitar hook sets the mood, and a simple but incredibly effective female vocalist duo sings the title in a way that shows that this record means business. Johnny Moore delivers the vocal with pure soul, and just when it seems that this record is a relatively straight (but deeply grooving) soul-blues, the bridge comes in, shifts the mood, and propels the song upward in a bit of masterful song craft. 

Chicago based producer/ songwriter Jack Daniels was involved in several cool records, but the majority of them seem a bit half baked and not up to their full potential. However, this one is fully realized and one of THE great Chicago soul tracks of the late '60's. 

Chicago vocalist Johnny Moore had a powerful, appealing voice and released several great records. For whatever reason, his records charted locally in Chi-town but never made a mark in any other markets. No surprise that when several of his sides were compiled onto CD that the title of this record was used as the name of the compilation.

from 1969...

JOHNNY MOORE - LONELY HEART IN THE CITY

Monday, March 31, 2014

THE 21ST - THE SUN CAME OUT

Mike Terry, the producer and arranger of this record, is one of the lesser known names of Detroit soul, but his work is strongly revered by soul aficionados and his baritone sax work at Motown Records proper is one of the key ingredients to the Motown Sound.

Mike produced, arranged, and wrote dozens of excellent records after he went on his own in the mid 60's, and this lovely side is essentially a one off from this group (the record was released with another flip side but the same catalog number as well). It's one of those records whose greatness is subtle; on the surface it's a simple song and production that isn't really laden with hooks, but it has a very special charm and the message rings through beautifully.

from 1972...

THE 21ST - THE SUN CAME OUT


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE MAR-J'S - GOT TO FIND A WAY OUT

What a GLORIOUS one off we have here!!! Girl group perfection of the highest order.

Producer (and co-writer) Lennie LaCour moved from his Louisiana home to Chicago as a young man in the early 1950's, and established himself as one of the earliest progenitors of rock n roll music as a singer and songwriter. Throughout the 50's, Lennie was a renaissance man of sorts who was involved in publishing and producing vocal groups in Chicago.

Around 1964, Lennie moved to Milwaukee, WI and put his focus to the musicians and songwriters in that city, and it was there that today's record was cut and released on Lennie's Magic Touch label. Dig the adorably cute rabbit with magic wand on the label!

This seems to be the only Mar-J's release, and it's fabulous- with a big and brassy arrangement, the records swings like crazy and the vocals are enthusiastic, charming, powerful and sincere.

This is the type of record that, had it seen better promotion and distribution, easily could have been a massive hit.

from 1965...

THE MAR-J'S - GOT TO FIND A WAY OUT

Sunday, March 23, 2014

GILL & MORGAN - MOGAMBO b/w MAMA PLEASE

This record plain and simply has a VIBE. 'Mogambo' has a vaguely Latin feel, and although it is a simple blues song, the arrangement (heavy on the keys and percussion) just GROOVES. The flip side, 'Mama Please' has a great feel as well- almost veering into country fried soul. Great stuff, and an obscure private press from who-knows-where.

from 1976...

GILL & MORGAN - MOGAMBO

b/w MAMA PLEASE

Sunday, March 16, 2014

THE ELECTRAS - ANOTHER MAN'S WOMAN

New York based producer Richard Tee cranked out a near-perfect replica of the late 60's/ early 70's Chicago soul sound here, right down to the bubbling bass lines ala Bernard Reed (the amazing bassist heard on records from The Chi-Lites, Barbara Acklin, Syl Johnson and so many others). For all I know, it may BE Bernard on the track, it sounds so close to his style. The lyric, track and vocal style is straight out of the Lovelites school as well.

from 1970...

THE ELECTRAS - ANOTHER MAN'S WOMAN


Sunday, March 9, 2014

THE INTREPIDS - IT'S JUST A PICTURE

A total mystery! This group appears to have released this one record only, and what a lovely one shot it is.

Thanks to the Norman Keith (aka Tommy Keith) credit (himself a very prolific songwriter and performing artist), it's safe to assume that the group was probably out of Philadelphia or New York City.

Whatever the story, it's a gorgeous group harmony record.

from 1970...

THE INTREPIDS - IT'S JUST A PICTURE

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

MARVA WHITNEY - I MADE A MISTAKE BECAUSE IT'S ONLY YOU

Phew...James Brown's production work from the late '60's early '70's hits HARD, and captured music in such a raw, spontaneous state that it downright hurts!

Here, fireball vocalist Marva Whitney sounds as though she's a part of the horn section, and lays down a chant so deep that it easily crosses into the intensity of the Godfather's own recordings of the era.
from 1969...

MARVA WHITNEY - I MADE A MISTAKE BECAUSE IT'S ONLY YOU

Sunday, March 2, 2014

VIVIAN COPELAND - HE KNOWS MY KEY (IS ALWAYS IN THE MAILBOX)

Vivian Copeland released a few singles, but this single (which was a minor hit in some regions) is the only one that this writer has heard. She didn't have the strongest voice (even though her performance here is very charming), but the material and production here is top notch, thanks to New York based producer George Kerr.

from 1969...

VIVIAN COPELAND - HE KNOWS MY KEY (IS ALWAYS IN THE MAILBOX)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

MOSES DILLARD AND TEX-TOWN DISPLAY - THANK GOD FOR THIS THING CALLED LOVE


This is one of those tracks that, plain and simply, just feels GOOD. A positive message, a fantastic groove, excellent vocals, and musicianship? Pure soul, baby.

Moses Dillard, a very talented man who formed a touring r&b revue called The Dynamic Showmen in South Carolina while he was still a teenager c1963, had a long career as both vocalist and hot shot session guitarist in Muscle Shoals.

from 1971...

MOSES DILLARD AND TEX-TOWN DISPLAY - THANK GOD FOR THIS THING CALLED LOVE

Thursday, February 27, 2014

THE EYES - I'M ROWED OUT b/w WHEN THE NIGHT FALLS

While 'I'm Rowed Out' may be a blatant re-write of The Who's 'Can't Explain', something about the energy of the record and the performance practically trumps the record that it was aping. To be fair, though, 'Can't Explain' was a record that was basically rewriting 'Louie Louie', and there's no denying that imitation can bring about great art. 'I'm Rowed Out' captures the excitement and nose thumbing of the beat era as good as any other record of the era. This record completely tanked commercially (along with the rest of The Eyes catalog), was never released outside of the UK, and as such it's exceedingly scarce- it's one that was on my want list for a LONG time. In my opinion, this record is the greatest of all the so-called 'freakbeat' records of the era!

Unlike many singles of the era, both sides are equally stellar, and the moody and raving 'When The Night Falls' (the A side when the record was released) is probably the more unique of the two tracks.

The Eyes, from the Ealing district of west London,  saw no fewer than SIX name changes during their brief existence between 1964-67.

from 1966...

THE EYES - I'M ROWED OUT

b/w WHEN THE NIGHT FALLS