miércoles, 30 de septiembre de 2009

The Sweet Early Soul from Theola Kilgore (1960-1966)

Theola Kilgore (born 1925, Shreveport, Louisiana — died 15 May 2005, Los Angeles, California) was brought up in Oakland, California, and began singing in church. Her first recording, on which she was billed as Theola Kilgord, was as the featured vocalist on 'Look to the Hills' by the Mount Zion Spiritual Choir, released in 1955. While working as a gospel singer, she befriended J. W. Alexander, Sam Cooke's manager who introduced her to singer/producer/writer Ed Townsend; with Townsend, Kilgore cut her first secular recording, an answer to Cooke's 'Chain Gang,' entitled 'The Sound of My Man (Working on a Chain Gang),' on Candix Records, which attracted attention and some sells. She registered her biggest hit with her next record 'The Love of My Man,' an adaptation of 'The Love of God,' originally done by the Soul Stirrers with Johnny "Disco Lady" Taylor on lead vocals. The plaintive, direct ballad released on Serock Records, a subsidiary of Scepter Records, zoomed to #21 Pop and #3 R&B; its success place Kilgore on the chitling circuit and the R&B theater tours where she shared billings with the top names in R&B. Still with Townsend, Theola followed with my personal favorite, 'This Is My Prayer,' on Serock which was just as good, sold well, but failed to surpass or equal the success of its predecessor. Theola & Ed formed KT Records (Kilgore/Townsend) where she released her next singles, none made much noise; later releases on Mercury Records went unnoticed as well. She also recorded some tracks at Stax which remain unreleased. Of her post hit singles, only 'I'll Keep Trying,' and the Northern Soul favorite 'It's Gonna Be Alright,' garnered any significant plays. http://www.answers.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/. I gathered here as many Theola Kilgore's sides as I was able to find. There are virtually all the aforementioned, though unfortunately I couldn't find 'I'll Keep Trying'. The good news is that, in turn, I got its B-side, 'He's Coming Back to Me'. I also included Theola's fantastic last single 'I Can't Stand It' / 'It's Gonna Be Alright', which was originally released on Mercury, in 1966, plus the flip side of 'This Is My Prayer', 'As Long As You Need Me (Want Me, Love Me)', from 1963. I am sure you are gonna love this as much as I do!!

Pat Lundy: Only Love Spoken Here (1973)

Pat Lundy was a New York-based singer and actress who was apparently a girlfriend of New York producer Buddy Scott. She was originally in a group called the Symbols which she left in 1962. Lundy put out Lps and singles on Deluxe, Columbia, RCA, Toto, Leopard and Heidi labels over a 20 year period, all with slightly different sound and style, and some quite worth sorting out. Only Love Spoken Here is her second album, the only one she issued on RCA, after her Columbia release 'Soul Ain't Nothing But The Blues', from 1967 (which is by the way a very hard to find item I am desperately trying to find ... anyone there who might have a copy??). This one has got her working in a sophisticated soul style that is a lot like Marlena Shaw, with complicated arrangements that match Pat's range of feelings and moods, moving from quiet intimate vocals, to harder rawer funkier sounds. Bert Keyes handled the arrangements and titles include 'Only Love Spoken Here', 'He's the Father of My Children', 'What Is Love', 'Thank Heaven for You', 'Friend of Mine (I Wanna Thank You So Much)', 'Love Child', and 'I've Never Been a Woman Before'. After marrying Chuck Patterson - an actor and Equity advocate for minorities and women - Pat Lundy continued performing and became an SGI member dedicating her life towards peace in the world. She died in 1994 from brain cancer, just before her 52nd birthday. http://mickeynold.blogspot.com/, http://www.dustygroove.com/ Many thanks to JAZZYPIER for sharing this rare album with us ;-)

martes, 29 de septiembre de 2009

Tami Lynn: Love Is Here And Now You're Gone (1972) ... plus

New Orleanian soul singer Tami Lynn had already been in the business for the better part of a decade when her full-length debut Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone appeared toward the end of 1971. In addition to backing up sessions for Dr. John, Sonny & Cher, the Rolling Stones, and Wilson Pickett, she’d made a pair of incredible 45s, one of which became a belated hit on the dance floors of England. A bona fide classic Northern Soul single, the ebullient 'I’m Gonna Run Away From You' had been recorded for ATCO in 1965 after A&R man Jerry Wexler had discovered the young singer at a talent showcase. After the song finally found an audience, it was included – probably unwisely – on an album of songs with which it had very little in common. Predictably, the Northern Soul crowd didn’t care much for the other tracks on the album and refrained from purchasing it, sadly relegating it to three long decades of obscurity. The album was produced by John Abbey, a consultant for Polydor’s Mojo soul subsidiary who, being a big fan of country music, brought Tami to Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi, to record and chose Loretta Lynn’s 'Wings Upon Your Horn' as the opening cut. The first three tracks on Love Is Here and Now You're Gone have a lot in common with the country-influenced soul of Candi Staton and Bettye Swann. Lynn’s version of 'Can't Last Much Longer' by New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint is particularly wonderful. With the exception of the string-drenched 'Ain’t No Soul (Left in These Old Shoes),' the rest of the album is a whole lot funkier. The best of the later tracks is a rousing cover of the Patterson Sisters’ 'That’s Understanding', a song that has more than a passing resemblance to Jean Knight’s 'Mr. Big Stuff,' which had been recorded by a house band at the same studio. 'Never No More,' the only Tami Lynn original on the album, is also pretty great. I have augmented the LP by adding 7 bonus tracks: the B-side of 'Run Away', 'The Boy Next Door' (written by Lynn as Gloria Brown and Melvin Lastie of the Executives); a few earlier cuts, including 'Baby' (penned by jazz saxophonist 'Red' Tyler), 'World of Dreams', 'At the Party' (available for years only on a hideously rare French EP), the impromptu Cotillion single 'Mo Jo Hanna' (which Jerry Wexler produced after he ran into his former protégé at one of her sessions with Dr. John) and 'You My Love' (take this one as a mere sample, for the sound quality is more than poor), plus a super-cool version of 'Light My Fire'. http://www.dustedmagazine.com/
Tami Lynn singing live her Northern Soul classic 'I'm Gonna Run Away from You', (1971):

lunes, 28 de septiembre de 2009

The Sweet Inspirations: Songs of Faith & Inspiration / What the World Needs Now Is Love (1968)

As an Atlantic recording act, The Sweet Inspirations cut some fine sides that rank among the clearest illustrations of the close links between soul music and gospel harmony. Usually sticking to material by famed soul and pop songwriters, they had about a half-dozen moderate R&B hits in the late '60s; the biggest, ‘Sweet Inspiration,’ was a Top 20 pop single in 1968. Within a month of that chart climb, the group began to work on their second album - a gospel record entitled Songs of Faith & Inspiration, which was released under the name Cissy Drinkard & The Sweet Inspirations and included, amongst others, ‘What a Friend’, ‘Swing Low’, ‘Down by the Riverside’ and ‘Without a Doubt’. Shortly after cutting that gospel set, the group was back in Atlantic’s studios to record their third album, What the World Needs Now Is Love. The record was the group's first secular album for Atlantic and it was a gem of female soul, with the same classic sound you'd hear on Aretha's Atlantic late ‘60s LPs, but with a different twist because of the girls' amazing talent for harmony vocals. Tom Dowd produced the album with a sweet southern-ish sound, and Arif Mardin provided some lofty string arrangements that take the girls' voices to the heavens! The late April session yielded a version of The Bee Gees’ 'To Love Somebody', which became the group’s fourth R&B chart hit, and a soulful version of The Righteous Brothers' 'Unchained Melody,' which surprisingly gave the group a charted, though minor hit. It also included some fine numbers written by Cissy Drinkhard Houston, like 'I Could Leave You Alone', 'You Really Didn't Mean It', and 'Where Did It Go', plus pop numbers like 'Alfie' and 'What the World Needs Now Is Love', all completely transformed by the group's style! Both albums are included here in one single set. This really is heavenly soul, don't miss it! http://www.dustygroove.com/, http://www.answers.com/. Once more, I must thank Martin for providing me with such a great record. Cheers, mate!! ;-)

domingo, 27 de septiembre de 2009

Eleanore Mills: This Is Eleanore Mills (1974) ...plus

Anyone remember an LP from 1975 entitled This Is All Platinum containing various artists such as Retta Young, The Moments, Larry Saunders, The Rimshots, and one Eleanore Mills, featuring a killer mid-tempo soul delight entitles 'Stop Accusing Me'? This is the same lady with a straight issue of her 1975 mega rare LP on US Astroscope. The sleeve notes on the original vinyl album finds Moments singer Harry Ray making reference to Eleanore being an original member of the '60s group the DixieCups, which appears to be a mistake as they originated from New Orleans, and apparently always maintained their original line up (?) The plot thickens even deeper when other Moments group member Al Goodman claims that he can’t even remember recording her back in the '70s. Her debut single from 1974 starts with 'Fascinating Devastating Man,' a gentle yet appealing piece of New Jersey soul which really does grown on you with each play. The album finds a collection of sweet soul and beat ballads of the highest order despite the albums poor sales in its day, all backed by the Rimshots who were the All Platinum house band of the day and can be found on all of the labels recordings. 'I’m Gonna Get You' finds Eleanore in fine voice on a song that could have come from the Honey Cone. In 1977 Norman Connors used Eleanore on his Romantic Journey LP, where she can be heard on 'You Are Everything', a song that I have included here as bonus track. I very much hope that soul fans don’t miss the opportunity this time round to add this gem to their collections. Enjoy! http://sixtiesmotown.co.uk/

sábado, 26 de septiembre de 2009

Mary McCreary: The Shelter Years - Butterflies in Heaven / Jezebel ... plus (1973-75)

Mary McCreary, aka Mary Rand/Mary Russell, was born on February 8, 1951 in San Francisco, California. At the young age of 10 she sang with the folk group The Limelighter's on "Run Little Donkey Run" which was featured on the album Through Children's Eye's. As a teenager, in 1963, Mary sang with the gospel group The Heavenly Tones. She recorded an album with the Tones in 1966, that was produced by Reverend James Cleveland in Los Angeles. By 1967 Mary was doing studio work for Sly and the Family Stone, a venture that lead to the formation of Little Sister in 1969. Little Sister, comprised of Vaetta Stewart, Tiny Mouton, and Mary McCreary, appeared on Dick Clark's TV show American Band Stand. Between 1971 and 1972 she toured and recorded with major recording artists. Mary's debut solo album Butterflies in Heaven was released in 1973, when she signed with Shelter Recording Company Inc. 1974 was a busy year for Mary McCreary, as she released her second solo album on Shelter Records, Jezebel and she also recorded with Leon Russell on the album Will o' the Wisp. In 1975 Mary and Leon Russell released The Wedding Album,and were the Musical Guest on Saturday Night Live May 15 1976. Followed by Make Love to the Music in 1977. Mary Russell/McCreary released her third solo album, Heart of Fire, in 1978 on Warner Bros Records. In 1980 Mary accompanied Bob Dylan on the Saved Tour. Mary McCreary released her CD Still Together in 2005. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her upcoming album Love and Praise. Highlights on her two Shelter LPs include 'My Soul Is Satisfied', 'Butterflies in Heaven', 'Jessie and Bessie', 'God Is Always Near', 'Please Don't Go', 'Soothe Me', 'Mighty Clouds of Joy', 'High Flyin' Me' and 'Singing the Blues'. I added as a bonus track one of the songs of Leon Russell's Will o' the Wisp album (1975), 'Laying Right Here in Heaven', where Mary collaborates singing elaborately overdubbed lead vocals. http://www.myspace.com/

viernes, 25 de septiembre de 2009

Quiet Elegance: The Complete Quiet Elegance on Hi (2003)

Quiet Elegance formed in Detroit, MI, with seasoned soul singers Yvonne "Frankie" Gearing, Mildred Vaney, and Lois Reeves. Vaney (aka Mildred Scott) sang with the Glories and Cut Glass with Orthea Barnes (J.J. Barnes' sister) after Quiet Elegance. Reeves replaced Betty Kelly in her sister's group, Martha & the Vandellas, in 1968 and remained until Martha disbanded the group to seek a solo career in 1972. Gearing (the lead singer and catalyst) had sung with the Glories, the Laddins, and the Steinway's. Signed to Hi Records, they were produced by Willie Mitchell and Dan Greer and recorded for Mitchell's Hi Records in Memphis. Acting independently, both producers whip up a batch of hot, tough Southern sounds that were under-performed when released but are getting recognized decades later. Their interpretations of Al Green's 'Tired of Being Alone' and 'Have You Been Making Out O.K.' are pieces of slow Southern brilliance, as are Betty Crutcher and Bobby Manuel's 'Mama Said,' 'I'm Afraid of Losing You' (their first single), and 'How's Your Love Life Baby?' (their final single). Greer is the songwriter, producer, and male lead on 'You Brought the Sun Back Into My Life'. None of Quiet Elegance's seven Hi singles did much except anchor on the lower rungs of Billboard's R&B chart. Hi strung the 45s out over a five-year period - from 1972 to 1977 - and dropped an LP, but they never really surfaced as recording artists. Quiet Elegance toured the world many times with Al Green, the Temptations, Engelbert Humperdinck, and Tom Jones. They disbanded after the Hi contract ran its course. Vaney-Scott and Reeves returned to Detroit. Reeves still gigs occasionally as a Vandella, but mostly works at her full-time day job. After a couple releases with Cut Glass in 1980 for 20th Century Fox Records, Vaney has been quiet. Gearing, however, has stayed active; she cut solo recordings on Beale Street Records before returning to St. Petersburg in 1978 to care for her ailing grandmother and mom and has been an entertaining staple there every since, appearing in nightclubs, concerts, and plays. http://www.allmusic.com/

jueves, 24 de septiembre de 2009

VA: Go Girl! - Soul Sisters Tellin' It Like It Is (1996)

The concept here is made plain in the title: tough female soul singers, singing about the hard bumps of romance with toughness and independence. If that's what you want, there's plenty of straight talking here. If you're primarily after good late-'60s/early-'70s soul, it delivers that as well. Aside from Aretha Franklin's 'Respect,' none of these were big pop hits; many of them didn't even make a splash in the R&B world. It's a good mix of lesser-known tracks by Ann Peebles, Irma Thomas, Betty Wright, and Mable John with ones by singers who are hardly known at all outside of soul aficionados, like Janice Tyrone, Priscilla Price, Jeane & the Darlings, and James Brown protege Lyn Collins. It also has the Velvettes' 'Needle in a Haystack,' one of the least frequently anthologized mid-'60s Motown singles. http://www.answers.com/
The Apollas - Swing Down, Sweet Chariot (1964):
Aretha Franklin - Respect:

The Velvelettes - Needle In A Haystack:

01 I'm Gonna Make It - Janice Tyrone
02 Respect - Aretha Franklin
03 You Did Me Wrong (You Used Me For A Good Thing) - Priscilla Price
04 I'll Get Along - Ann Peebles
05 Your Good Thing (Is About To End) - Mable John
06 Dirty Man - Laura Lee
07 Seven Days - Apollas
08 You're The Dog - Irma Thomas
09 Wedlock Is A Padlock - Laura Lee
10 Soul Girl - Jeanne & The Darlings
11 Women's Love Rights - Laura Lee
12 The Day I Found Myself - The Honey Cone
13 Your Turn To Cry - Betty Lavette
14 Girls Can't Do What The Guys Do - Betty Wright
15 Think (About It) - Lyn Collins
16 Where Would You Be Today - Ilana
17 Needle In A Haystack - Velvelettes
18 Do Right Woman Do Right Man - Aretha Franklin

miércoles, 23 de septiembre de 2009

Patti Austin: The Complete Coral Recordings (1965-1967)

This compilation contains, for the very first time, the entire Coral recordings made by Patti Austin between 1965 and 1967, when she was merely in her mid-teens. Despite no less than ten singles issued by the label, there was no subsequent album. 'Panache', which includes in its definitions "style" and "swagger", certainly fits the bill for Patti's performances on this selection. Young as she was at the time, there is a surety in the vocals which belie her age - due no doubt to her having been a stage and television performer from the age of five - and the selection of material which, though perhaps not too much to the lady's taste nowadays, was indeed "the music of the time and in the upper class of that bracket". These recordings were made over six sessions, the initial results being the pairing of 'He's Good Enough for Me', a number cut by Mary Wells for 20th Century-Fox a few months earlier, and the girl group sound for 'Earl', while her final single coupled the storming 'You're Too Much a Part of Me' with the strong ballad-builder 'I'll Keep on Loving You'. In the interim, her voice matured noticeably and the difference between the first and last sessions is measurable. What we have here then is not just a collection of songs, but evidence of a young girl's growing up, though never less than confident - whether up-tempo or ballad, Patti sings the words like she means them. The British Northern Soul scene, noted for its 100-miles-an-hour-plus stompers, would be all the poorer without 'Someone's Gonna Cry', 'Take Away the Pain Stain' and '(I've Given) All My Love', while those who like things a little more sedate can revel in 'Leave a Little Love' and the lady's version of 'A Million to One', which would chart some six months later for the Five Stairsteps. There is also a tribute to her godmother, Dinah Washington, via a very "grow up" version of 'What a Difference a Day Makes' and even a nod towards the brassy sound of Stax on 'Got to Check It Out', written by the arranger on many of these tracks, Bert DeCoteaux. As for 'A Tisket a Tasket', Ella Fitzgerald's song gets the a makeover Motown-style ... and it works! So, take your time to enjoy this slice of soul music history. Taken from the original liner notes.

martes, 22 de septiembre de 2009

Ike & Tina Turner: The Soul of Ike and Tina Turner / Dynamite! ... plus (1961-62)

The first albums that Ike and Tina Turner recorded for Sue Records in the early-'60s find Tina still determining how much power and sensuality she had in her voice and developing her delivery and presentation, while Ike was honing the backdrop, and his band learning when to push and when to lay out behind Tina. The story had begun in 1957, when 17-year old Annie Mae (Tina) allegedly jumped onstage on a dare from her sister to sing at an Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm gig, and ended up with the band, eventually recording a local single for Ike on Tune Town as Little Anne in 1958. The very first recording credited to Ike and Tina Turner was 'A Fool in Love', from 1959, which charted on both pop and R&B charts. The Soul of Ike and Tina Turner, their first album, was recorded with the fabulous Ikettes while they were on tour with the revue, and comprised almost exclusively Ike Turner compositions. It included follow-up singles 'I Idolize You' and 'I'm Jealous',with its flipside 'You're My Baby' featuring the Ikettes, with Ike on backing vocals. All but three of the tracks also appeared on singles, the exclusive tracks being 'If', 'You Can't Love Two' and 'I Had a Notion' ('Chances Are' is a re-titled 'Puppy Love', a B-side), and there is remarkably little padding on the record. The next album, Dynamite!, duplicated many of the same tracks, tracks 13-17 being the only new ones. 'I Dig You' was the only exclusive track, the other new tracks all appearing on singles, the A-sides being 'You Should've Treated Me Right', 'It's Gonna Work Out Fine' (which I included here as a bonus track), 'Poor Fool' and 'Tra La La'. Four non-album tracks from the period conclude the collection, including the A-side 'Mind in a Whirl'. As a plus, I added two more tracks: a live version of 'It's Gonna Work Out Fine' and 'Prancing', which was initially recorded by Ike as the instrumental B-side to 'It’s Gonna Work Out Fine'. There is a rawness and earthiness in all these recordings that give them a potency and power that remains undimmed. http://www.amazon.co.uk/, http://www.allmusic.com/

Ike & Tina Turner singing 'Fool In Love' & 'Work Out Fine' medley in the TNT Show, 1965:

lunes, 21 de septiembre de 2009

Eloise Laws: Ain't It Good Feeling Good (1977) ... plus

Eloise Laws' soulful, easy-flowing singing voice is a direct representation of her regal, articulate personality. She was born in Houston, Texas as a member of the multi-talented musical Laws family, which also includes vocalist sister Debra, flutist-saxophonist brother Hubert, and soprano saxophonist brother Ronnie. She began recording for Holland-Dozier-Holland's Music Merchant label and had a couple singles released in 1972-1973: 'Tighten Him Up' and 'Love Factory.' When the famous songwriting team folded Music Merchant, they signed Laws to Invictus. They released a few singles and her first LP, 1977's Ain't It Good Feeling Good. Due to mismanagement, Invictus folded and Laws jumped to three different labels between 1977 and 1982. She went inactive as a solo artist until the late '90s, when she released two more albums. She spent part of the time away from the studio to establish herself in the theater, receiving several nominations and awards throughout the years. This first LP recorded for Invictus, with stellar production by Brian Holland, has got loads of strong cuts, all with that great blend of masterfully produced, slick dancefloor soul with more than enough grit and thump to make it all well worth the endeavor for funk fans! 'Ain't It Good Feeling Good' is one of the best songs on the label from the '70s, with some wonderfully spacey keyboards, funky drums and bass grooving, but there are other great tracks here, like 'I Believe in You Baby', 'Where Did We Go Wrong', 'Love Goes Deeper Than That', 'Make It Last Forever', 'Put a Little Love Into It', and 'Camouflage'. I added as bonus tracks the two singles she released for Music Merchant and Invictus between 1972 and 1975, plus the two 12 inch singles from the album. http://www.answers.com/, http://www.soulmusic.com/, http://www.dustygroove.com/

domingo, 20 de septiembre de 2009

Tawney Reed: The Welsh Teenage Bomb

In the mid-'60s, Tawney (sometimes spelt Tawny) Reed issued just two singles on the Pye label – and one on New York’s famous Red Bird label. Though she failed to score a hit, her gutsy vocals have made her a favourite of fans of the Britgirl genre. She was born in Cardiff, Wales. In 1965, the teenager signed to the Pye label. The first, released in October 1965, was a cracking cover of Motown girl group the Velvelettes’ 'Needle in a Haystack'. On the flip was a suped-up version of Baby Washington’s 'I’ve Got a Feeling'. Both sides proved perfect showcases for her energetic vocal style and drew comparisons with Scottish singer Lulu. The single was considered strong enough for release in the US, where it was issued on the Red Bird label. Tawny was the only Brit girl to receive the distinction of having a release on the legendary New York label, arguably the home of the girl group sound. Back in the UK, Pye lifted both sides of a single by US singer Fred Hughes for Tawney’s follow up. 'You Can’t Take It Away', backed with 'My Heart Cries', was released in early 1966 but failed to capture the interest of British record buyers. When it failed, she was dropped by the label. http://www.readysteadygirls.eu/

In my opinion Tawney Reed is one of the most underrated singers of the Brit girl era; such a shame she couldn't make the big time. And here, for the first time ever, you have her only four sides in one go! Don't miss it, this is pure dynamite!! aa

Tawney Reed performing The Velvelettes' classic 'Needle in a Haystack':

Tawney's outstanding rendition of 'I've Got a Feeling':

sábado, 19 de septiembre de 2009

Patti & the Emblems: Golden Classics (1997)

Patty & the Emblems were the contemporaries of acts like the Sapphires, and just as distinctive. They were formed in Camden, NJ, around lead singer Pat Russell; The Emblems were Eddie Watts, Vance Walker, and Alexander Wilde. Russell was a soul belter on a par with any woman who ever stepped up to a microphone for Motown (check out her performance on 'What's the Use'), and her group could harmonize as sweetly as the Miracles. What's more, they had access to the songwriting talents of Leon Huff, who got them their one big hit 'Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl' (#37 on the Billboard Chart) and brought them a lot of other worthy material ('Showdown,' which sounds a bit like 'Heat Wave'; 'You Can't Get Away,' 'The Sound of Music Makes Me Want to Dance' (which sounds a bit like 'Dancing in the street'), usually with clever hooks. Listening to the 20 sides here, it's impossible to fathom why they didn't last. Even where the songs weren't exactly first-rate, the group's style and Russell's voice were capable of carrying the material and making something special out of it. Their sound was not only sweet but bold; Russell projected angst in portions ranging from a trickle to a torrent of emotion, as well as a sultriness that would manifest itself at the strangest, most striking times. The rest of the group were impeccable in their singing, and the backing band always has a great beat and a good, heavy sound - even augmented with strings - that should have made the group a natural for radio play and discotheques. The collection is awesome throughout, and there isn't a bad song here, with the soaring 'I'm So Confused' saved for last. Thanks sooo much to our friend porco rosso for sharing this gem with all of us!! http://www.weblo.com/

viernes, 18 de septiembre de 2009

Barbara Jean English: So Many Ways... (1972)

Classic New Jersey soul from one of the best (and least-known) singers of the early '70s! Barbara Jean English was a member of the popular girl group the Clickettes and recorded many pop-soul sides with them in the late '50s and '60s. Before that, she had been a member of The Gospelettes, The Bouquets, The Ding Dongs and The Avalons. In the early '60 she recorded as Barbara English and The Fashions and, in the mid '60s, she released five singles for Mala, Reprise, Warner Bros. and Aurora under the name of Barbara English (one of them appears here). She returned in the '70s to record two albums for the Althia label (best known as the home of the Escorts) of lushly produced soul with a concentration on sensual ballads. Her first LP, So Many Ways... (1972), has sort of a hard soul feel to it. She has a very engaging, rich voice which is the perfect counterpart to the silky melodies and warm grooves on display here. After a brief hiatus in the late '70s, when she recorded again as Barbara English, she re-teamed with the Clickettes in the '90s to tour the oldies circuit. http://rateyourmusic.com/, http://www.dustygroove.com/, http://www.answers.com/.
A2 I’m Living a Lie
A3 Lil’ Baby
A5 Baby I’m A Want You
B1 So Many Ways to Die
B3 All This
B4 Don’t Make Me Over

jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2009

Barbara Acklin: The Complete Barbara Acklin on Brunswick Records (1968-1973)

Assembling all five of the LPs Chicago Soul diva Barbara Acklin cut for Brunswick between 1968 and 1973 - an output totaling 45 songs - this 2 cd compilation offers the kind of all-inclusive, respectful treatment only afforded to first rate artists. The first cd gathers Acklin's first and finest LPs for the label. Love Makes a Woman immediately establishes the supple, sophisticated sound that separated Acklin from her grittier Windy City rivals. The buoyant title cut would prove her biggest hit, but she also proves herself a skilled interpreter of the Bacharach/David catalog via soulful renditions of the syrupy 'What the World Needs Now' and the sultry 'The Look of Love.' But despite the success of 'Love Makes a Woman,' Brunswick refused to do right by Acklin. With her remarkable 'Am I the Same Girl' poised for chart triumph, the label stripped away her potent vocals, added a piano, and released the track as the Young-Holt Unlimited instrumental 'Soulful Strut,' which proved a massive hit in its own right. The original 'Am I the Same Girl' is the centerpiece of Seven Days of Night, and while it remains a high-water mark of Chicago soul, much of the album maintains a similar level of excellence. Record's nuanced melodies and sublime arrangements fit Acklin's soulful vocals like a glove. The second cd of the set only offers Someone Else's Arms in its entirety (because both I Did It and I Call It Trouble featured performances already available on other LPs), along with the cuts exclusive to the additional albums. Saddled with far too many cover songs, many of them suffering from awkward and overbaked arrangements, Acklin largely fails to recapture the brilliance of past hits, although when she catches fire, as on the sublime 'Someone Else's Arms,' 'I Call It Trouble,' and 'After You,' all co-written by the Chi-Lites' Eugene Record, or on the funny 'I'll Bake Me a Man,' the results are remarkable. Undoubtedly, this is the most comprehensive collection available of Acklin's Brunswick catalogue. For completists. Once again, I must thank Martin for sharing this with all of us. If you would also want her 1975 release for Capitol, A Place in the Sun, go here. http://allmusic.com/

miércoles, 16 de septiembre de 2009

By request: Kim Tolliver - Bonus Tracks

Last Sunday I posted Kim Tolliver's Come and Get Me, I'm Ready, but I decided to remove the download link by request of the label owner who has recently reissued the album. Anyway, I included there 10 bonus tracks which I've been asked to re-post. And ... you know your wish is my command ;-)

Martha & the Vandellas: Heat Wave (1963) / Dance Party (1965)

Martha & the Vandellas began making their first noise on the pop and soul charts with their 1963 album Heat Wave. Martha Reeves had a phenomenally powerful voice, and the Holland-Dozier-Holland title track of the album was a well-deserved Top 10 hit: the instrumental backing is so funky that you hardly mind the long delay before the vocals start. Unfortunately, Motown's music factory wasn't in full gear at this point - H-D-H produced but couldn't be bothered to write any further original material. So the LP does not include any of the Motown standards that the company later recycled as a matter of habit. Instead there are some decent, solidly performed, remakes of vintage tunes ranging from Phil Spector ('Then He Kissed Me') to Wayne Newton ('Danke Schoen'). Two years after their second atempt, the girls issued what is considered to be one of the great party albums of the '60s. Dance Party was, oddly enough, the work of a Motown act that wasn't known for delivering great albums. Martha & the Vandellas had enjoyed some serious hits from 1964 onward, but hadn't quite measured up in the LP department until the release of Dance Party in the spring of 1965. Made up of material from singles that went back to the previous summer, the album benefited from the presence of the group's biggest single, 'Dancing in the Street,' its follow-up, the hypnotically pounding, driving, soaring 'Wild One,' and the classic 'Nowhere to Run,' surrounded by a trio of well-above-average B-sides and covers of such Motown dance standards as 'Mickey's Monkey' and 'Hitch Hike.' Even the rest was hardly filler, however, with Martha Reeves turning in a gloriously impassioned performance on the ballad 'There He Is (At My Door)' and the group acquitting itself beautifully on 'Motoring.' Each side was always good for at least two plays at any self-respecting teen party of the '60s, and it all still holds up today. This comp gathers both albums on one disc for your listening pleasure. Enjoy! http://www.warr.org/, http://www.allmusicguide.com/
Martha & the Vandellas performing their signature song 'Heat Wave':

Another great performance by the girls, introduced by Dusty Springfield on Ready Steady Go, 1965. They sing live 'Nowhere to Run':

And ... last but not least, 'Dancing in the Street':

martes, 15 de septiembre de 2009

VA: Girlstown

This compilation, released by Soul Kitchen, features 23 rare Northern and Early Soul tracks by the likes of Gerri Thomas, Barbara (Jean) English (her only 45 for Mala, from 1964), British singer and actress Joan Regan, the Royalettes, the Gems (Minnie Ripperton was a member of the quartet, though she sing lead vocals on the mid tempo beat ballad included here), the Rouzan Sisters (of 'Men of War' fame), the Mirettes, Janice Christian with Johnny & The Charmers, Goldie Coates and The Blenders, Connie Questell, the lead singer for the Rag Dolls Jean Thomas and Brenda Lee, amongst others.
01. Gerri Thomas - Look What I've Got
02. Barbara English - I Don't Deserve A Boy Like You
03. Millie Foster - Ole Father Theme
04. Joan Regan - Don't Talk To Me About Love
05. Gerri Granger - You Must Be Doing Something Right
06. Demetriss Trap - Let Go Of My Heart
07. The Royalettes - I Don't Want To Be The One
08. The Gems - I Can't Help Myself
09. Eloise - You Should'a Treat Me Right
10. Rickie Page - I Cry Inside
11. The Rouzan Sisters - Dance Every Dance
12. Clara Wilson - My Guy
13. The Mirettes - Ain't You Trying To Cross Over
14. Janice Christian - Just a Bad Thing
15. Goldie Coates - Fisherman
16. Linda Carr - Sweet Talk
18. Connie Questell - Tell Me What to Do
19. Jean Thomas - The Boy That I Want Doesn't Want Me
20. Clara Wilson - Don't Say Nothin' Bad
21. Brenda Lee - Where's the Melody
22. Betty Renne - Bye Bye Baby
23. Carol & Gerri - How Can I Ever Find a Way

lunes, 14 de septiembre de 2009

Lorraine Ellison: Stay with Me - The Best of Lorraine Ellison (1995) ... plus

With an incredible vocal power, range, and intensity that was perhaps too heavy for the record-buying masses, Lorraine Ellison never made it big, except of course in the hearts of committed soul fans-and the occasional rock and pop buyer. Ellison was born in North Philadelphia and began singing gospel with her family at age six. She sang professionally with a local group named the Sylvania Singers before forming the family group The Ellison Singers in the late '50s/early '60s. By 1964, she began recording R&B music, and her first hit was the 1965 R&B hit 'I Dig You Baby' (later made into a pop smash by Jerry Butler). One year later, she released her signature song, the intense, symphonic-drenched ballad 'Stay With Me,' written and produced by Jerry Ragovoy and issued by the Warner label. It hit number 11 on the R&B charts in the fall of 1966. Some of her other singles were 'Heart Be Still,' 'Don't Let It Go to Your Head,' and 'I've Got My Baby Back.' Songs that she wrote with her manager Sam Bell (of Garrett Mimms & the Enchanters) were recorded by Mimms and Howard Tate. Ellison's Warner LPs include Heart and Soul (1966), Stay With Me (1969), and Lorraine Ellison (1974) and the compilation The Best of Philadelphia's Queen (1976). Lorraine Ellison died on August 17, 1985 from ovarian cancer at the young age of 51. This set containing 23 songs from 1966-1973, includes three non-LP singles, three unreleased cuts from an aborted 1970 session at Muscle Shoals, her only two charting singles, and even an Al Kooper song from an obscure 1970 soundtrack. These are among the foremost examples of the collision of soul, gospel, and pop, with the accent on the soul and gospel. The first half of the program, consisting of 1966-70 sides produced by Ragovoy (who also wrote most of those songs), have the edge over the early-'70s sessions. But Ellison's vocals are hard to fault anywhere. It also includes the original version of 'Try (Just a Little Bit Harder),' covered by Janis Joplin. I added 2 extra tracks from the Stay with me album which were omitted from this compilation. You can find her first Lp here. http://www.allmusic.com/, http://www.rhinohandmade.com/

domingo, 13 de septiembre de 2009

Kim Tolliver: Come and Get Me, I'm Ready (1973) ... plus

Kim Tolliver is an obscure name on the rosters of soul greats, but she shouldn't be. In addition to her absolutely riveting voice, she was a fine songwriter in her own right and, in association with husband Fred Briggs, she placed a number of songs with Margie Joseph on a pair of Stax/Volt LPs. Tolliver released just two albums, and only one under that name (she had worked previously for Fantasy as Kimberley Briggs). Recorded for Chess in 1973, Come and Get Me, I'm Ready is a classic deep soul tour-de-force, free of any crossover soul cliches that were really bogging down other artists at the time. Tolliver and Briggs cut part of the album in Cleveland and Memphis, with the biggest bit in Miami, and the horns were cut at the label studio in Chicago. Produced by Briggs, who also served as co-arranger with John A. Brinson, this is a stellar collection of deep soul tracks with a bent toward midtempo searing ballads. The songs are sophisticated and rooted in the Memphis tradition, with echoes of the TK and Detroit modes of the time. But the melodies are as complex as the arrangements are back-to-basics. Standout cuts include the title track, an uptempo soul stomper with big horns, backing vocals, and Tolliver in a fierce growl. But the real measure of a great soul singer is the way she or he treats a ballad. And Kim Tolliver was second to none in this department, as evidenced by ‘The Way He Used To,’ the opening wronged-woman cheating ballad ‘The Other Side of Town,’ the beautiful ‘She Don't Know You (Like I Do),’ and the killer reading of Willie Hale's Gwen McCrae hit, ‘I'm Losing the Feeling.’ I also included here 10 bonus tracks recorded between 1968 and 1981, some of which were issued as singles and became regional hits at the time. Kim Tolliver sadly passed away in 2007 without ever receiving the recognition she so truly deserved. http://www.myreelmusic.com/, http://www.dustygroove.com/, http://www.answers.com/

This video of the song 'I Don't Know What Foot to Dance On' (1975) includes some nice pics of Kim Tolliver:

sábado, 12 de septiembre de 2009

Sunday's Child: Sunday's Child (1970)

Reprise Records let this fantastic album by the female soul trio from Portland, Oregon, Sunday's Child gather dust in warehouses. The band comprised 16-year-old Ilene Anderson (a giant who stood 6 feet 2 inches tall), 14-year-old Mary Lou Anderson, and 13-year-old Renee "Ren" Woods. Ren was a child singing prodigy, appearing on NBC's Soul Special at the early age of 10. Shortly thereafter she formed Soul Five, a pre-teen vocal group influenced by the Jackson Five, which later evolved into Sunday's Child. Sammy Davis Jr., with whom they made an appearance at Carnegie Hall, took them under his wing and was partly responsible for securing them a deal with Reprise Records. The three girls, who released this eponymous album for the label in 1970, alternate between singing harmonies and take solo leads from track to track. The LP takes that '60s Motown sound into a deeper vein - very much like the work of the Sweet Inspirations for Atlantic during the same time - and has got a nice rootsy sound that gives every selection a rich gospel flavor, which excells on a medley comprised of 'I Found a Love' and 'Yes I'm Ready,' as well as on 'You're Good for Me,' and 'Wichita Lineman.' The teenagers show reverence but no fear in tackling 'My Song,' popularized by Aretha Franklin, the Bee Gees' 'To Love Somebody,' and Paul McCartney's 'Maybe I'm Amazed.' Sadly, none of the singles from the LP hit, and the album itself, despite being spirited and heartfelt, went virtually unnoticed, and Sunday's Child disbanded without fanfare. Shortly after, Ren Woods began a solo career, appearing on Bob Hope's Christmas Special, and recording for Elektra and CBS/ARC with little success. She later enjoyed a long acting career in television and movies, being best known for playing the role of Fanta in Roots, and also the girl with flowers in her hair who sang 'Aquarius' in the film version of Hair. Her most recent role was in the 2008 film The Blue Hour. http://www.answers.com/, http://www.dustygroove.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/, http://music.msn.com/

viernes, 11 de septiembre de 2009

Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown - Hold on, We're Coming (1966) ... plus / Billy Vera & Judy Clay - Storybook Children (1968)

Chuck Jackson and Maxine Brown are two of the most cherished artists in '60s soul music, synonymous with quality and distinction throughout all phases of their lengthy careers. Their recordings for Scepter's Wand subsidiary are the ones that collectors of real soul treasure most. Both recorded as solo artists, but in the mid-'60s they teamed up for a couple of duet albums, Saying Something (1965) and Hold on, We're Coming (1966), as well as occasionally performing as a pair. Their cover of Chris Kenner's 'Something You Got' was a Top Ten R&B hit in 1965, and a cover of Sam & Dave's 'Hold On, I'm Coming' made the R&B Top 20 in 1967; they also had a couple of other low-charting singles. Their records were pleasant New York pop/soul, dominated by covers and early material from the pens of Jo Armstead, Valerie Simpson, and Nick Ashford; they even recorded a version of 'Let's Go Get Stoned' before Ray Charles had a hit with it. I included here basically their second album, but one song, plus 4 bonus tracks.
Billy Vera & Judy Clay were as notable for their music as for their historical importance: certainly the first interracial recording duo in soul music, this late-'60s team may have been the first interracial recording duo of any sort. Vera was a New York songwriter with some minor successes when he brought his composition 'Storybook Children' to Atlantic executive Jerry Wexler. Vera initially tried to record it with Nona Hendryx (then with Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles), but when that idea didn't pan out, he teamed up with Judy Clay, who had recorded soul singles throughout the '60s without notable success. 'Storybook Children,' interpreted by some listeners as a fable of interracial romance (although Vera insists it is about adultery), became a modest R&B and pop hit in early 1968, as did the follow-up single, 'Country Girl-City Man (Just Across the Line).' Clay was by far the stronger vocal partner on their material (much of it written by Vera and and noted producer/songwriter Chip Taylor), which was solid easygoing soul with heavy pop overtones. Failing to land another hit single, the duo recorded this LP, Storybook Children, in 1968 before going their own ways.
40 years later, these two albums by these four great artists still come on strong and it still sounds like a great deal of fun was had in the making of both. I hope you enjoy them too! http://www.answers.com/, http://www.acerecords.co.uk/

jueves, 10 de septiembre de 2009

Millie Jackson: Between the Sheets (1999)

Millie Jackson is much more than an entertainment legend. The shapely, charismatic and multi-talented soul diva is without a doubt, a music industry icon whose often criticized career paved the way for many of today's forward female recording artists. Jackson vocal performances are distinguished by her bold sexual content and her honest, often saucy spoken interludes; Between the Sheets however bucks that popular image by compiling 16 tracks of Jackson's more straightforward R&B material. The compilation concentrates on her late-'70s and early-'80s material, balancing hits with lesser-known singles and album tracks. Smooth jams, glossy production, and quiet storm dynamics are the order of the day here, and Jackson's performances hold up surprisingly well without the provocative histrionics, thanks in large part to her beautifully textured, soulful voice. Those seeking a more thorough representation of Jackson's output might want to try some of her studio albums, or Rhino's Totally Unrestricted! anthology, but Between the Sheets is one of the finest Millie Jackson collections ever assembled, largely because it avoids the kitsch of her salacious soul and finds her playing it straight, more or less. Overall, this set offers proof that Millie Jackson is a fine soul singer who doesn't need her bawdy schtick to make an impression and, as such, it's of interest not only to fans, but to doubting Thomases as well. Highlights include 'I Feel Like Walking In The Rain,' 'Loving Arms,' 'All the Way Lover,' 'It Hurts So Good,' 'A Love of Your Own,' 'Special Occasion,' 'If You're Not Back in Love By Monday,' and 'Summer, the First Time.' http://www.cduniverse.com/, http://www.allmusic.com/, http://www.weirdwreckuds.com/

Millie Jackson singing 'If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right.)' Live footage from 1984:

miércoles, 9 de septiembre de 2009

MEGA POST: Irma Thomas - Chronological (1960 - 2006)

The unrivaled Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas ranks among Crescent City R&B's greatest and most enduring musical ambassadors, never enjoying the coast-to-coast commercial success of contemporaries like Aretha Franklin and Etta James but nevertheless breathing the same rarified air in the minds of many soul music aficionados. Born Irma Lee in Ponchatoula, LA, on February 18, 1941, she was discovered in 1958 by band leader Tommy Ridgley. Her early records were popular locally, but an R&B hit came in 1960 with '(You Can Have My Husband But Please) Don’t Mess With My Man'. The following year Thomas rejoined producer/writer Allen Toussaint, with whom she had worked on her first recordings. This reunion resulted in two of Irma’s finest singles, 'It’s Raining' and 'Ruler of My Heart' (1962), the latter a prototype for Otis Redding’s 'Pain In My Heart'. After signing with the Imperial Records label in 1963 Thomas recorded 'Wish Someone Would Care' (her biggest national hit, reaching the US Top 20), with its famous flip side, the dynamic 'Break-a-way', while the follow-up 'Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)' also entered the national chart. This single is better recalled for its b-side, 'Time Is on My Side', which was successfully covered by the Rolling Stones. Thomas continued to record excellent singles without achieving due commercial success. Her final hit was a magnificent interpretation of 'Good to Me' (1968), recorded at Muscle Shoals and issued on Chess Records. She then moved to Canyon, Roker and Cotillion, before appearing on Swamp Dogg’s short-lived Fungus label with 'In Between Tears' (1973). Thomas continued to record fine albums for the Rounder Records label throughout the '80s and '90s and she remains a highly popular live attraction. Her career has continued into the new millennium with regular studio albums. After the Rain, released in 2006, was nominated for a Best Contemporary Blues Album Grammy, and Simply Grand (2008) featured Thomas in an acoustic setting accompanied by a host of piano players, including Dr. John, Ellis Marsalis, Randy Newman, and others. Here's an gargantuan collection of 256 songs, kindly provided by our dear friend Mike from Florida, spanning all five decades of Thomas' amazing work. It includes different mixes of some of Irma's most notable tracks, live performances and a lot of rarities. Enjoy!! http://www.allmusic.com/, http://www.oldies.com/
Irma Thomas singing 'It's raining'. Awesome:

Thomas performs 'I've Been Loving You Too Long' at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, 1989.

martes, 8 de septiembre de 2009

The Shirelles: Happy and in Love (1971)

The Shirelles were one of the first, and among the best, of the female vocal groups of the rock era. Smoothly blending pop, soul and rock influence, their sweet harmonies led to a great deal of chart success. They had plenty of hits during the first part of the '60s, including the classics 'Soldier Boy', 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' and 'Mama Said' but, despite the admiration of British Invasion groups like the Beatles and Manfred Mann, the foreign fad had claimed the Shirelles' thunder by the end of the decade. The group scraped the lower reaches of the charts a few more times, making their last appearance, ironically, with 1967's 'Last Minute Miracle.' Doris Kenner left the following year to concentrate on raising her family, and the remaining Shirelles, Shirley Owens Alston Reeves, Addie "Micki" Harris McPherson, and Beverley Lee, continued as a trio, cutting singles for Bell, United Artists, and RCA through 1973. They released a couple of albums for the latter label, the first of which gives its title to this post. Happy and in Love, from 1971, is a rare LP, which features a decent, if not superlative, collection of songs with a warm Motown-esque feeling, including 'No Sugar Tonight', 'Take Me', 'Go Away and Find Yourself', the outstanding 'Strange, I Still Love You', a version of the Royalettes' 'It's Gonna Take a Miracle', plus a re-recording of their big hit 'Dedicated to The One I Love', among others. It has never been reissued on cd as far as I know, so I am sure you will appreciate it! ;-) For the classic days of the girls, go here.

lunes, 7 de septiembre de 2009

Janice Barnett: Janice (1975)

Nicknamed the Queen of Beach Music, Janice Barnett is a former beauty queen, center fold in Jet Magazine, who has been entertaining for decades many audiences across the USA with her astounding vocal abilities, similar to those of Gladys Knight. In 1971, Janice became the opening act for Tina Turner who, after seeing her perform, sent for Janice to come to her dressing room where she offered her a job to become one of the Ikettes. Janice father Linton said "No Way!"; so she took a record deal instead with Fantasy Records out of New York City opening for Kool and The Gang. She eventually moved to Los Angeles, California, where she met Richard Pryor. Richard heard her and immediately she became his protege'. He introduced her to Joe Hubbard at Maverick Flats, which later spinned off into Soul Train. They sent her to Tokyo, Japan and Geneva, Switzerland to develop her act. After returning to the United States, Joe took Janice to meet Harvey Fuqua, the well-known music producer of Motown Records. He produced an album for her on Fantasy Records, which has become a treasured collector's item among beach music fanatics. Her tunes are also featured on some of the best of collector's sets, including the ever so popular 'I Told You So' on Ripete Records Beach Beat Volume IV. The album, simply titled Janice, was recorded in 1975 and has got a sound which is almost in a Salsoul mode at times - not totally disco, but with some uptempo elements - mixed in with some warmer harmonies provided by Janice and her group, of the sort you might find on records by Double Exposure, although with the obvious female difference. The musicians playing with Barnett are Reggie Sadler: lead guitar & baritone background; Freddie Morrison: bass, second tenor; Norman Ferrington: drums & percussion & William Acosta. Other titles include 'Goody Two-Shoes', 'I Should Have Left You', 'Love on the Line', 'If I Had Known', 'Take Me Away' and 'Wake Up Smiling'. http://janicebarnett.net/, http://www.dustygroove.com/

domingo, 6 de septiembre de 2009

VA: All the Ladies Need Funk - All Girl Funk and Soul Riot (2002)

With no liners or other info of any kind, the purveyors of this collection presumably prefer the music to speak for itself and it does that very well indeed. Any would-be funkster needs to have this on their shelf. Twenty funky soul 45s by largely unknown female artists clearly from the late '60s and early '70s (the most recognizable are Jean Wells, Thelma Jones, Ruby Andrews, Pauline Chivers and Kim Tolliver). These sassy ladies strut their stuff across 54 minutes during which they alternately praise or diss their men. Although dubbed from vinyl, the sound quality is very good throughout. And if none of these numbers hit on the JB 'one', they do all groove with a vengeance! You know what you're in for with tracks like The Genies' 'Know What to Do When You Get It', Martha Turner's 'Dirty Old Man', Kim Tolliver's 'Cop My Stuff' and Gloria Taylor's 'Born a Woman'. Other grooviliceous confections include Rene Faye & The Teddy Bear Company's slinky 'Thank You Baby' and Jenny's Daughters 'Dirty Feet' (as in fishing in more than one pond or any number of other soul metaphors for cheating on your partner) and Thelma Jones's 'Mr. Fix It', guaranteed to make you ride your pony! http://www.shindig-magazine.com/ Here's the complete track list:

01 Yvonne Daniels - Super Soul Music
02 Drummettes - Funky Soul
03 Susan King - I Got a Good Thing
04 Ruby Andrews - Let's Get a Groove Goin' On
05 Martha Turner - Dirty Old Man
06 Rena Faye - Thank You Baby
07 Gloria Taylor - Born a Woman
08 Thelma Jones - Mr Fix It
09 Pauline Chivers - Tough Stuff
10 Kris Peterson - Mama's Little Baby
11 Miss Soul - Payback
12 Sarah Simpson - Never a Dull Moment
13 Katie Briggs - Green Power
14 Kim Tolliver - Cop My Stuff
15 Nancy - Trying to Keep From Crying
16 Franceola - Mighty Good Man
17 Jenny's Daughters - Dirty Feet
18 Jean Wells - Keep Doin' It
19 The Genies - Know What to Do When You Get It
20 Diane Johnson - Queen Bee

sábado, 5 de septiembre de 2009

Honey & The Bees: Come Get It - The Complete Josie Recordings (1970-1971)

Honey & the Bees were a talented soul group out of Philadelphia, originally named the Yum Yums, and comprised of Nadine Felder White, Cassandra Ann Wooten, Jean Davis and Gwen Oliver. They changed their name to Honey & the Bees before signing with Arctic (the great soul imprint that was also home to the Soul Ambassadors). The quartet recorded around five sides with Arctic, including a few choice and expensive Northern soul pieces. In 1970, Honey & the Bees went over to Josie (best known as the home of the Meters' first three albums) and knocked out an LP for them plus another half dozen or so singles. With both labels the group had the backing of musicians that played on classic ‘70s Gamble-Huff productions. These included Leon Huff himself on piano, and Ron Baker, Earl Young, Bobby Eli, and Norman Harris in the rhythm section; Harris and Thom Bell were among those who contributed to the songwriting. As such, though the Supremes are an obvious point of comparison, they had far better production that the vast majority of girl group aspirants from the same era. Honey & the Bees spent years on the club circuit, opening for bigger soul acts in Philadelphia and throughout the East Coast before disbanding in 1973. Group member Gwen Oliver married Fred Wesley of the JB's, whom she met when Honey & the Bees opened for James Brown in 1971 (rumour has it that their headstrong, take-no-b.s. attitude eventually came into conflict with Brown's own strong-armed control over his players and he had Wesley remove the group off tour). This set compiles the material released by Honey & the Bees on Josie from 1970-1971. Most of the thirteen songs here are from their 1970 album Love, the remaining being releases in 1971. Titles include ‘Make Love to Me’, ‘Please Have Mercy Baby’, ‘Now That I Know’, ‘We Got to Stay Together’, and ‘Medley: It's Gonna Take a Miracle/Goin' Out of My Head/Hurt So Bad’ and ‘Help Me (Get Over My Used to be Lover)’. http://soul-sides.com/, http://www.allmusic.

viernes, 4 de septiembre de 2009

Barbara Mason: Yes, I'm Ready (1997)

Barbara Mason came from Philadelphia with a giant hit in the mid-'60s that outsold some of the records made by the Beatles at the height of their popularity. She was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and used to sing in impromptu talent shows as a child. They were held at a playground near where she lived. Barbara could sing well, and her reputation as a good singer began to grow around Philadelphia. Producer/talent scout Weldon Arthur McDougual caught her act and brought her to the studio. She started with a small local label called Charger, then moved on to the Arctic label in Philadelphia, which had a better shot at distributing her records. Jimmy Bishop founded and owned Arctic and was a disc jockey at a large Philadelphia radio station. Barbara wrote all of her own songs while with Arctic and recorded in a small back room there. One of those records, originally titled 'Are You Ready?', would propel her into stardom. Barbara had been a big fan of Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, who were making some good music in Chicago in the late '50s and early '60s. One song that Curtis had written and given to Major Lance, 'The Monkey Time', had particularly impressed her and became her inspiration for her own tune, which was re-titled 'Yes, I'm Ready'. In the Spring of 1965 it was recorded by Barbara in the back room at Arctic in two takes, and the next day Jimmy Bishop began to play it on his radio show. More and more requests came in, and other DJ's that Jimmy knew picked up on the song. Before too long, it reached the top forty and stayed there for ten weeks, peaking at the number five position. With her voice sounding young and innocent in its thinness and flatness, Barbara Mason became an international recording sensation before she was out of her teens. After that, she still cut some excellent follow-ups on Arctic, like 'Sad, Sad Girl' (R&B number 12/pop Top 30, 1965), 'I Need Love' (R&B number 25, 1966) and 'Oh, How It Hurts' (R&B number 11, 1968). This compilation of 27 songs gathers these early sides for the label; it's not complete, but the rest of her Arctic stuff appears on Oh How It Hurts, also on Bear Family, posted here half a year ago. With both volumes you should have everything she recorded at Arctic. She cut as many remakes and originals, some were standards, which suggests Arctic had hopes of crossing her over to the pop market, which never happened to any significant degree. The remakes run the gamut from Archie Bell's 'Tighten Up' to the Supremes' 'Come See About Me', a perfectly suited vehicle for Mason's innocent, sweet, aching voice. Other highlights include 'Come to Me', 'Keep Him', 'Trouble Child', 'Bobby Is My Baby', 'Change Me If You Can', 'Hello Baby', '(You Can) Depend on Me', 'Don't Ever Want to Lose Your Love', 'You Never Loved Me at All', and 'Half a Love'. http://www.answers.com/, http://www.tsimon.com/.