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For some inexplicable reason, the final single on Cameo Records (before they moved to the Scepter label) by Philadelphia girl group Candy & The Kisses found them billed as Honey Love and The Love Notes. The song is gorgeous, and I almost wonder if part of the problem with this song not reaching its hit potential was the loss of momentum with a new name.
Candy & The Kisses, made up of sisters Candy & Suzanne Nelson
along with friend Jeanette Johnson, seemed destined to break out
nationally. Their single 'The 81" (a glorious former 45 of the day) was a
smash in their hometown area (Philadelphia). They continued on releasing some more excellent singles for Scepter and Decca, but none of them reached any level of (deserved) success.
HONEY LOVE AND THE LOVE NOTES - WE BELONG TOGETHER
Clarence Reid (misspelled as Ried here) was quite possibly THE most important figure on the Miami soul scene that blossomed in the late '60's and became massive throughout the '70's. Although he was very prolific as an artist himself (both on his own and later as Blowfly), Clarence saw far greater success as a brilliant songwriter (Betty Wright's "Clean Up Woman" being a shining example).
Clarence turns in a superb performance here that is wrought with emotion, and the expressive drumming pushes the song into a mini-masterpiece of souther soul.
One piece of info has surfaced about UK group Truth since I last featured a 45 from them back in 2009 (their cover of The Young Rascals "Sueno"); they were a vocal duo (with studio musician backing, most likely Jimmy Page on guitar) made up of Frank Aiello and Steve Jameson.
Here we find the group taking Donovan's amazing early composition "Hey Gyp" and turning it into a freakbeat rave up, dropping the parenthetical "(Dig The Slowness)" from Donovan's original. There's also an American raveup version of "Gyp" by The Soul Survivors that I featured here back in 2007, and The Truth's version predates it by about a year. I'm thinking that The Soul Survivors were definitely influenced by this (obscure) single.
Ladies, are you having trouble with the fellas? Let Patti guide the way! This jam rates a SOLID 10 on the cool scale.
Both in her solo career and (earlier) as a member of The Drew-Vels,
Patti Drew's lovely voice is heard on nearly two dozen singles before
she left the music biz in 1971.
One obvious difference with the
music business in the '60's was that labels gave many great artists time
to grow and prosper; while Patti only had one major hit (1968's sublime
"Workin' On A Groovy Thing') yet Capitol believed in her talent enough
to keep her signed to the label for many years. Lucky for us! In my
opinion, the downfall of the music industry was completely brought on by
their about face which focused more on the quick buck and less on the
longevity of artists.
Little Bob (Camille Bob) has been active on the New Orleans music scene for over fifty years!
few years back I featured his genius boozin' anthem "I Got Loaded", and
I have been hot on the trail of this particular 45 for YEARS. Very
tricky to find, but I recently scored a copy. It's a lovely rollicking
summertime groove that showcases Bob's sweet vocals in the most raw,
direct way possible. I love the stripped to the bone sound of this
record, straight out of the basement.
Coming across like an even rawer Wilson Pickett, Chris Bernard apparently only had one shot to record. I can't find any evidence that he cut any other records. Johnny Cameron was a Chicago based producer, so it's safe to say this is a Chicago record- the band sure sounds like the Brunswick house band (who eventually became Pieces Of Peace) as well.
As was common for the funkier sounds that were developing (under the guidance of James Brown) at the time, the emphasis here is less on a song than the groove; and what a bad ass groove it is, punctuated by some raw emotion from the vocalist.
Vocalist/ actress Vivian Reed is known far more for her long time career as a Broadway performer (WHAT a voice!), and "The Shape Of Things To Come" is known more for the version by the faux-group Max Frost And The Troopers (as heard in the teen exploitation flick Wild In The Streets).
While the "Max Frost" version is lots of fun, Vivian's take allows the song to truly reach the potential of the lyrics without any irony or cornball factor. Considering the year that it was released (which was full of turmoil, unrest and horrifying assassinations), this version completely levels the original.
From Miami, All The People released three 45's, lead singer Robert Moore a few solo sides, and also a few with a group called Miami. All of these records sank without a trace, although one of All The People's other 45's has been sampled several times.
I really dig the easy groovin' sound of this record, the lyrics are clever, and Robert Moore turns in an excellent vocal performance.
Sir Douglas is (of course) the late, great Doug Sahm from Austin, TX. Doug was a musical melting pot who absorbed country music (he was a child prodigy musician), blues, rock n roll, soul, Tejano, and Tex Mex musics, sliced it all up and cooked up a career that was one of the most diverse in the history of music. I'm a massive fan of this man's music and spirit; his love of diversity in music AND people is a guiding light.
By 1967, the original Sir Douglas Quintet had broken up, thanks to an unfortunate pot bust in Texas; Most of the band was landlocked in Texas on probation, but Doug himself split for San Francisco; California became his home base for many years, and was the site for SDQ MK II (the group which scored their second massive hit, "Mendocino' in '68). The freakout guitar intro was undoubtedly influenced by Doug's new home in San Francisco, and the vocal is one of Doug's most upfront and raw.
As for THIS record, I'm guessing that Doug went back to Texas to record with Huey P Meaux one last time; although it's not a quintet record, Augie Meyer's unmistakable organ is present, and the two-step beat (ala "She's About A Mover") was probably also bashed out by Johnny Perez.
This song came on my ipod shuffle play, and I had all but forgotten how great it is; I had to double check my archives to make sure I didn't feature it at some point on this site. I thought I did, back in 2008 or so, but NOPE, it's making its debut here. This is a VERY scarce record, and even though it hardly ever turns up, it's usually quite inexpensive when it does.
Entering into SERIOUS soul stomping territory with this jam...
Little Archie (Himons) only cut two 45's, but his life in music extends far beyond that; he began as a drummer while still a teenager, and eventually made his way to the attention of Dial Records chief Buddy Killen, who saw his potential as a lead singer. Not only did Archie show off a husky vocal style, but he wrote the track as well. Archie has lived around the world, started reggae and blues bands, busked, and apparently now performs acoustic soul in West Virginia (which I'd love to hear).
It's a sad realization at this point to realize that I've just about exhausted all of the records from this era in this style; there's still a FEW wants on my list, but at this point I've just about filled every gap in my collection of records in this style (which happens to be a real favorite kind of sound). Sure, there's more out there, but some of them I could never afford or they just don't move me personally, for whatever reason. It sure has been fun sharing them here, though!
What this song lacks in lyrics (they are nearly as simple as a haiku) it more than makes up for that deficiency in its hard hitting groove and the amazing, vibrato laden vocals of Chicagoan Larry Houston. Larry released most of his records on his own, and hasn't been heard from since the early '80's.
I've had the greatness of Jackie Lomax on my mind practically non-stop for the last 24 hours, and it makes me sad to think that this man was oozing so much talent but (for the most part) went unnoticed during his lifetime.
This gorgeous ballad (covered by Percy Sledge) showcases not only his excellent vocal stylings, but also his songwriting chops. Even though Jackie had a glowing endorsement from the Beatles (as well as superb production from George Harrison), he may have done better on another label, as the drama of the looming Beatles breakup had a negative effect on the promotion of other artists on the Apple roster.
I'm also a big fan of the simple, elegant graphic design of the Apple Records picture sleeves, and this one is a stellar example.
(originally posted 11/12/08)
One of the most soulful English voices of the '60's (and beyond) has passed away; you were fabulous, Jackie Lomax.
As part of the Mersey Beat scene, it's no surprise that Jackie Lomax and George Harrison rubbed shoulders early on in their careers (Jackie was in the Undertakers at the time). Jackie was one of the first artists signed to Apple Records, and his brilliant Apple album "Is This What You Want" was produced by George Harrison, and all the Beatles except John Lennon appear on the record. The first single from that LP, "Sour Milk Sea" is stellar, but the b side is a CRACKING piece of psychedelic English soul (I recommend listening to 'The Eagle Laughs At You" first). Jackie released several other (some excellent) solo LP's (as well as a non-LP 45 on Apple), and was also a member of the groups Heavy Jelly and Badger in the '70's. Percy Sledge also notably covered Jackie's beautiful ballad 'I Fall Inside Your Eyes" in 2004.
The American Breed are best known for their '67 worldwide smash hit "Bend Me Shape Me", and this Chicago based band wore their soul influence so well that they eventually evolved into funk superstars Rufus in the '70's.
"Green Light" was one of several follow up singles to "Bend", and while it made only a slight impression on the charts, is a fine example of an interracial group laying down some fantastic, stomping soul sounds on top of a catchy-veering-into-bubblegum territory song. Basically, a perfect single.
I've been on a serious hard driving r&b kick lately, as evidenced by yesterday and today's posts.
is one WILD record, from a group known more for smooth vocal harmonies.
The Uncle Willie dance was a massive sensation in Chicago during
'63-'64, and spawned many records related to the craze. Out of all of
them that I've heard (I have a handful of them) this is by far my
favorite and it's so much more EXTREME than the other Uncle Willie
records! The Uncle Willie itself is a cool, simple step that involves
shuffling the feet heel to toe; dancing the Uncle Willie to this song is
sure to be a great way to lose weight and have fun in the process.
THE DAYLIGHTERS - OH MOM (TEACH ME HOW TO UNCLE WILLIE)
No, it's not a gospel record (although the duo name could easily leave that impression), and while there may not be any brimstone in the grooves, there's plenty of fire!
Moses is 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, and had a long career as both vocalist and hot shot session guitarist in Muscle Shoals.
By '66, he was paired up as a duo with James Moore ("Joshua") for a few singles released during '66-'68, of which this was their peak, in my opinion. "Get Out Of My Heart" is an uptempo stormer with some fabulous dual vocals, undoubtedly influenced by Sam & Dave; however, these two are not mere copyists as they perform with their own identities. The flip side, "They Don't Want Us Together" is a heart melting, gorgeous deep soul track that showcases the crooning ability of these fine singers.
The Lost Weekend were a group from Gary, IN (25min or so outside of Chicago) that are best known for their (minor hit) group harmony 45 "The Bridge Of Love". This side is something else entirely; a fuzz guitar leads a jazzy soul track (punctuated by driving congas), alongside the social commentary delivered by some top notch vocals.
This record is one of the most heartfelt, soulful tributes ever cut to wax.
William Bell wrote this song days after Otis' tragic death in 1967 and sent it to Otis' widow Zelda more as a private message of sympathy. Legend has it that Zelda loved the track so much she insisted that Stax release it, immediately. Thankfully, they did.
The beautiful picture sleeve shown here is a French issue.
WILLIAM BELL - A TRIBUTE TO OTIS (A TRIBUTE TO A KING)
From what I can gather, this is the only release from the mysterious C.C. Jones, and what an amazing record it is. With a moody backging track, C.C's voice is so loaded down with echo and reverb it sounds as though he's floating in from another track entirely!
Definitely not hit record material, but it's a great example of how psychedelia had infiltrated soul by the end of the '60's. This song could easily fit on one of Lee Fields recent albums as well.
This is the final 45 from The Ikettes on their own, and they went out SWINGIN' with this funky little double sider groover showcasing some powerhouse vocals. The Ikettes lineup was in flux over the years, but I think that twin sisters Alesia and Tiresia Butler are part of the trio here (it sure sounds like sisterly harmony on the tracks) and either Lynda Shuford Jones or Stonye Figueroa rounding out the trio.
The Natural Four were one of the finest harmony groups of the late '60's, and they hailed from Oakland, CA. The groups' debut single was "I Thought You Were Mine" on the local label Boola-Boola, which became a massive bay area smash and saw the group signed to ABC Records. ABC released two singles from the group in an attempt to break out nationally; while the records were excellent, they didn't catch on for whatever reason.
In line of the old saying "third time's a charmer", ABC went back to the beginning, and had the group re-cut "I Thought You Were Mine", no doubt in an attempt to recapture the song that caught on so strongly in the groups' home base. While the debut recording is fantastic, the remake is a notch stronger, in my opinion. The tempo is upped slightly, and the urgency of the vocals results in a magical recording. While this record has HIT written all over it, chart success was not forthcoming. A pity, as this record is ultra rare; it's known and loved by collectors, instead of being one that's heard everywhere and remembered as one of THE great soul hits of the late '60's.
By the time of Betty Everett's first hit in 1963 ("You're No Good"), Mississippi born Betty had been recording since 1957 (in Chicago, where she moved to pursue a singing career).
Gifted with a voice that possessed amazing pitch control (just MARVEL at how she slides in and around notes here) and power, Betty SHOULD have seen far more hit singles throughout her career. Perhaps this side was a bit too raw (even the slick string arrangement can't cover up the urgency and fire of the backing band), but it's a fantastic showcase for her fantastic voice. It was released twice; once on the tiny Renee label, then picked up for national distribution by One-Der-Ful.
These Commotions (the name has been used by several groups through the years) released two singles, one of which was on the Blue Rock label; this leads me to believe that they may have been a Chicago group. I can't find any other info about them, although producer/ co-writer Clarence Lawton was quite active on the soul/ disco scene in the '70's.
Whoever they were, they hit it HARD on this side, with some OUTTA SITE female vocals, and a groove that's so deep I guarantee you're gonna fall in. Bongos? Yes, please! A great record.
I've had this record sitting in my stack of potential 45's of the day for years, and I had forgotten how AMAZING it is; thankfully, it popped up on shuffle play on the ipod during a long road trip I took last week. Until this morning, I had no idea the story behind it and how HEAVY it actually is (a BIG thank you to Ayana @ darkjive.com and her research on the group).
I strongly recommend reading the whole story at the above link, but, in a nutshell, songwriter/ musician/ civil rights activist Oscar Brown Jr (composer of "Work Song" among other classics) contacted the notorious Chicago gang The Blackstone Rangers in 1967 about the possibilities of life beyond gangs. It turns out that the gang was full of talent, and Brown created a show call Opportunity, Please Knock that showcased the talents of these young people that didn't really have much of a chance in life. The show was a success and there was even a performance from the troupe on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
As for the record, it's extremely powerful stuff even without knowing the back story. Learning what I did this morning makes it even more extraordinary.
THE OPPORTUNITY PLEASE KNOCK CHORUS - ALL THIS TALK ABOUT FREEDOM
A gorgeous record from the waning days of the vocal group revival that happened in the late '60's. This seems to be the only release from this group, and I'm afraid that I don't have any biographical info on who they were or where they were from.
Whatever the story, these dudes could SING, and with a glorious harmony blend. Too bad they didn't have more chances to do their thing.