sábado, 31 de octubre de 2009

Joann Garrett: Just a Taste (1969) ... plus

As a 15-year-old student at Chicago's DuSable High School, Joanne Garrett (aka Joann Garrett and Jo Ann Garth) won a recording contract with Chess Records for finishing first in a Regal Theater talent show, no small feat considering Chicago's vast talent pool. The deal produced 'Stand By My Side,' a huge local hit, in 1966. She followed with Dee Clark's 'You Can't Come In' (March 1967) and a remake of the Heartbeats' 'Thousand Miles Away' (1968), with the Dells (uncredited) providing backing vocals on the A-sides. Garrett left Chess in 1968 to record for Duo Records. With Andre Williams producing, she cut 'That Little Brown Letter' backed with 'I've Gotta Be Loved' in 1968; later in 1968 she cut 'I'm a Now Girl (Do It Now)' b/w 'One Woman,' arguably her most popular recording, and and another two singles. In the meantime, Chess emptied their vaults and released 'It's No Secret' and 'Unforgettable' b/w 'We Can Learn Together', which came from her album Just a Taste, released a year before, in 1969. In 1970 she also recorded 'Goin' Man Huntin'', for the short-lived Twinight label. Despite her age, Chi-town producers recorded Garrett in a Dinah Washington-esque vein, but that changed on her sole release for Don Robey's Duke/Peacock setup in Houston, TX, where she waxed Barbara Hammonds' 'I'm Under Your Control' b/w 'Sting Me Baby', in 1973. A final single, 'Don't Abuse Your Faithful Love' b/w 'Charlie Boy (We Got to Love One Another),' credited as The Rock with Joanne Garrett, appeared on Scorpio Records; it flopped, and sadly, after a good start, Garrett rarely saw the inside of a recording studio again. Her tunes became popular Northern soul items. On Just a Taste (1969) Chess omitted Garrett's first three singles but added two excellent replacements: Aretha Franklin's 'Ain't No Way' and Dionne Warwick's 'Walk on By.' Garrett's pretty soprano soars on the Heartbeats' 'Thousand Miles Away' and is spunky on 'Soul Town.' Local hits 'It's No Secret,' 'Depend on Me,' and 'Unforgettable' are tasteful Chicago soul. I included here the three singles Garrett released on Chess between 1966 and 1967, as well as others she recorded for different labels througout her career, EIGHT bonus tracks in all (two of them are just low quality samples, I'm afraid). http://www.allmusic.com/

viernes, 30 de octubre de 2009

VA: Soulful Kinda Ladies Vol.1

This compilation highlights the performances of some of those lesser-known, but nevertheless worthy, R&B female artists from the '60s whose contributions are only now beginning to be fully appreciated by the collector audience. A case in point is Ramona King, whose 1964 recording 'It's in His Kiss' was overshadowed by Betty Everett's version the very same year. Linda Carr's winsome approach has been compared to that of Diana Ross, and her 'Everytime' does nothing to dispel that notion. Complementing this 1965 release by Carr are two slightly earlier efforts, 'Sweet Talk' and 'Jackie, Bobby, Sonny Billy.' (Little) Helen La Rue Lowe's 'The Richest Girl (Ain't Got Nothing on Me)' received airplay on LA's KGFJ when it was released in 1966. She also recorded with the Superbs and Side Effect. Baby Washington is a name well-known to soul aficionados as well as doo-wop fans of the '50s. Her 'Let Love Go By' and 'My Time to Cry' from 1961 are both self-penned efforts which have thus far escaped reissue. Like Washington, Connie Questell emerged from doo-wop origins in the late '50s. Questell's mid-'60s efforts like 'The Girl Can't Take It' and 'Tell Me What to Do' are now achieving the belated recognition they most certainly deserve. Theola Kilgore achieved her greatest success in 1963, when her 'The Love of My Man' peaked at No. 3 on the R&B charts. This moving ballad, along with the follow-up 'This Is My Prayer,' are both included here, as is 'He's Coming Back to Me,' a lesser-known but equally fine example of Kilgore's repertoire. Shirley Gunter made a series of singles with her vocal group the Queens before striking out on her own as a soloist. Her 'Stuck Up' from 1969 gives us an indication of how she might have sounded had she signed a recording contract with Berry Gordy, Jr. After singles for Coral, Jubilee and Atco, Bette McLaurin teamed with pianist/producer Sampson Horton, for whom she cut 'Never' b/w 'As Long as You're Mine' on the Pulse label. Johnnie Mae Matthews' 1961 'The Headshrinker' has got a satirical theme which adds a wryly humorous touch quite rare for an early sixties R&B release. Marcene "Dimples" Harris recorded both as a single artist and with her sisters Beverly and Betty as part of the Harris Sisters in the '50s. Her 'I Just Don't Understand' from circa 1965 is waltz-time blues with a familiar soulish flavor. Another songstress who was no stranger to the blues was Lula Reed, who with husband Sonny Thompson was an oft-recorded member of the King Records rooster of the '50s and early '60s. Her 'Gabbin' Mouth Blues' from 1963 is an updated version of Big Maybelle's R&B classic with (presumably) Ray Charles' orchestra pooviding a simmering instrumental backdrop. As for Benice Swanson, Patience Valentine and Debbie Dovale, I wish I could furnish some biographical info, but in the absence of such let's the music speak for itself! Taken from the original liner notes.
One of the "soulful ladies" featured on this compilation, Linda Carr, singing Sam Cooke's 'You Send Me'. From The Sam & Dave Show, live in Offenbach, Germany, 1967:

jueves, 29 de octubre de 2009

Claudine Clark: Ask the Girl Who Knows - The Best of (1958-1969) ... plus

Long overdue, this fab collection of the mysterious and energetically voiced Ms Clark’s best recordings kicks off with an alternate take of her only chart hit 'Party Lights', and features tracks released under the names Joy Dawn and Sherry Pye. Then there’s the previously unreleased and often speculated upon 'Buttered Popcorn' (yes, it is the pre-hit Supremes track), an as near as dammit Supremes cover in 'Goodbye Mama' and another unissued track, 'A Sometimes Thing'. All of this makes this set a dream come true for girl group fans, as it collects Claudine’s best work from 1958-1969 into one tight, 24-track hour of doo-wop, soul balladry, dance tunes and great and pure fun music. Claudine’s status as a one hit wonder does her a disservice and by track three, aural evidence soon backs up that statement. Clark was born in Macon, Georgia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania raised, and she recorded for the city’s great labels like Chancellor, Jamie, Swan and Fayette. So it’s no real surprise that she was often given (and in fact gave herself, as she had a hand in writing a significant number of her own releases) a similar sound to that great hit-making Philly girl of the early '60s, Dee Dee Sharp. The versions of 'Party Lights' and (its original A-side) 'Disappointed' are previously unissued longer alternate takes, 'Easy to Love' is great slow drag soul and '(The Strength) to Be Strong' is in an extraordinary waltz tempo epic (unsurprisingly it was a Dave Godin favourite). The 1969 title track is closer to Claudine’s Georgia roots, with her sounding wonderfully soulful with a distaff take on a song Otis could have easily recorded. Add in the extremely odd 'Walking Through a Cemetery', the great 'Telephone Game', both sides of her 1958 release on Herald and a handful of tracks plucked from her Party Lights album and the whole package is a winner. I added a few bonus tracks, including the original version of 'Party Lights', and the rest of the tracks from her album which were omitted here. http://www.acerecords.co.uk/

miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2009

Kim Weston: Kim Kim Kim (1970)

One of the most extraordinary singers of her generation, for some strange reason Kim Weston was never properly promoted, even though she made many classic sides throughout her career. After Kim moved from Motown, she continued to record a number of great albums and singles, but radio programmers would not play anything Kim recorded, no matter what. The rumor was that when an artist turned away from Motown they were somehow banned from radio, and this appeared to be the case with Mary Wells and Kim Weston ... too bad as they both continued to grow artistically and made a lot of their finest work after leaving Motown. This masterpiece recorded for the Stax R&B subsidiary Volt Records in 1970 is a perfect example of the level of greatness Ms. Weston achieved, yet never receiving any acclaim for. Kim is in peak form throughout the album, and every song is varied and a complete winner. From the soulful opener 'You Just Don't Know', which blends into the passionate 'The Love I've Been Looking For', you know that you are in for the experience of a lifetime listening to one of the finest voices ever. Her versions of soul classics 'When Something Is Wrong with My Baby' and 'Got to Get You off of My Mind' are definitive. A passionate plea make 'Buy Myself a Man' a classic vocal, while the stunning tour-de-force 'Penny Blues' is so riveting and full of genuine pathos that this is clearly an all-time classic blues performance. A fiery rocking self-penned medley 'Soul on Fire'/'Brothers & Sisters (Get Together)' is wildly exuberant and exhilarating, and the closing gospel rocker 'The Choice Is Up to You (Walk with Jesus)' features Kim at her most brilliant, with a burning passionate delivery, that finishes this masterful set with a compelling performance and leaves one breathless. Anyone who loves a great and powerful singer in peak form in an incredibly arranged and richly varied program of classics should not miss this one. http://www.amazon.com/
Kim Weston singing ‘ Lift Every Voice & Sing' (Black National Anthem) (1972):

martes, 27 de octubre de 2009

Randy Crawford: Everything Must Change (1976) / Miss Randy Crawford (1977) ... plus

Randy Crawford's initial notoriety came from her fiery vocal on 'Street Life,' a song matching her with R&B veterans the Crusaders in 1979. Crawford was born in Macon and grew up in Cincinnati; she worked in clubs as a teen, accompanied by her father. Crawford was lead vocalist in a group that included bassist Bootsy Collins before touring as George Benson's opening act in 1972. Cannonball Adderley invited her to sing on his LP Big Man. She recorded 'Don't Get Caught in Love's Triangle,' a song produced by Johnny Bristol, during a short stay on the label. She soon moved to Warner Bros., and after 'Street Life,' recorded and toured Europe with the Crusaders. Crawford was tabbed Most Outstanding Performer at the 1980 Tokyo Music Festival. She remained with Warner Bros. through the '80s and early '90s, but was unable to score either a big R&B hit or major crossover smash, despite having one of the most readily identifiable voices and distinctive approaches of any contemporary female vocalist. Randy Crawford's first solo album Everything Must Change (1976) was produced by Stewart Levine. Like the albums that followed, it's a virtual masterpiece; the studio was crawling with heavyweights, and Crawford always brings out the best in everyone involved. Her version of 'I've Never Been to Me' bests Charlene's original, and even Dennis Edwards' emotional ordeal. The title track represents nearly five minutes of social drama, and she makes 'I'm Easy,' 'I Had to See Him One More Time,' and 'Don't Let Me Down,' so personal you think she's singing about you. Her second release, Miss Randy Crawford (1977), was produced by Bob Montgomery (Bobby Goldsboro, Billy Sherrill) with some tracks having a slight country-ish/Southern soul feel to them. It's a perfect showcase for Crawford's interpretive skill. The singer makes the Don Henley/Glenn Frey song 'Desperado' and the Mack Gordon/Harry Warren standard 'At Last,' her own. The former and her erotically charged take on Paul Kelly's 'Under the Influence of You' received airplay on R&B/soul-formatted FM stations. I added as bonus tracks the aforementioned 'Don't Get Caught in Love's Triangle,' from 1973, 'Street Life', the grooving classic that scored top slots on the Billboard jazz, dance, and black charts in 1979, and her collaboration on Steve Hackett's album Please Don't Touch, from 1978, 'Hoping Love Will Last'. Never a huge star in her homeland, Randy Crawford is, nevertheless, one of the most talented, experienced, and underrated vocalists in the industry. http://www.allmusic.com/
Randy Crawford singing one of her biggest hits 'Street Life':

lunes, 26 de octubre de 2009

Patti Labelle & the Bluebelles: Over the Rainbow (1966) ... plus

After releasing a bunch of singles, one Christmas album and a couple of live Lps for Newton and Cameo/Parkway Records in the early-'60s, The Bluebelles signed with Atlantic Records in 1965. In 1966 they released the first recording of what later became a Patti standard, the cover of 'Over the Rainbow,' backed by one of the first versions of 'Groovy Kind of Love' (later a hit for the Mindbenders), with only mild success. Along the line, they extended their name to Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles. The group discovered a fan base in England where they headlined a tour at in 1966 performing live on the show, Ready Steady Go!, and performed with Elton John's band Bluesology backing them up. They also contributed background vocals to Wilson Pickett's hit '634-5789 (Soulsville U.S.A.)'. During that year, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles recorded their first studio album, Over the Rainbow, which featured the aforementioned double-sider and the R&B hit, 'All or Nothing', which had been released as a single the year before. Produced by Bert Berns, the album has got a very sophisticated sound which tends to soften their earthy expressions with strings, brass and fancy arrangements that are never too kitschy to get in the way of the group's soulful vocals. It offers a really exciting agenda of songs, including 'Patti's Prayer', 'Who Can I Turn To', 'More', 'People', 'Try To Remember', 'Ebb Tide', 'Unchained Melody', 'He' and 'Yesterday'. I added as bonus tracks 12 songs which were released as singles between 1965 and 1970 on Atlantic and didn't appear on either their two albums for the label. These extra tracks include 'Oh My Love', 'You Forgot How to Love', 'Family Man', 'Dance to the Rhythm of Love', 'Trustin' in You', and 'I Need Your Love', amongst others. (Note: you will find their second release for the label, Dreamer, HERE). This is another great gift from my good friend Martin. Cheers, mate! ;-)
Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles singing 'Over the Rainbow' live:

domingo, 25 de octubre de 2009

Kelle Patterson: Maiden Voyage (1973) / Kellee (1976) ... plus

Born in the midwest just outside Chicago, Kellee Patterson grew up in Gary, Indiana. Her rise into the public eye came in 1971 when she was the first black girl to become Miss Indiana when she entered the Miss America pageant with merits for her singing talents. Her singing started professionally at just 16 and following the sucess in the Miss America pageant she toured the world where she both sung and gave speeches. Kellee broke into TV to host Harambee in Chicago and continued on with her singing career later when she moved to the West Coast. Kelle's debut LP Maiden Voyage is edgier and more challenging than her subsequent soul-oriented sessions, yet at the same time it's also the most mainstream recording ever issued on the Black Jazz imprint, boasting little of the label's signature deep-groove swagger. Produced and arranged by Black Jazz founder Gene Russell, the album's late-night, neon-lit atmosphere nevertheless does right by Patterson's sultry if slight vocals. Though Kelle had the habit of attacking a note just under pitch, she never stayed that way, but hit each note correctly once her vibrato kicked in. True, her voice was on the nasal side, but it worked. She should have made more albums in this vein - not to take away from her other albums (especially her last two, which were more disco than jazz or R&B), but this release was the most cohesive. Even the lyrics were topical (i.e., 'Magic Wand of Love'), but also timeless. Titles include 'Look at the Child', 'Soul Daddy (Lady)', 'Don't Misunderstand', 'You', and 'Be All Your Own', among others. On her second album, simply titled Kellee (1976), she keeps on exploring a little bit more the jazzy soul / soulful jazz territory. There are fine variations on Barry White's 'I'm Gonna love You Just a Little More, Baby', 'Mister Magic' (a song also done by Roberta Flack), 'Stop, Look & Listen to Your Heart' and even Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' (in a funky dancing way). It is always interesting to hear such song stylists, who make something new with something borrowed. I added as as bonus tracks both sides of her 1977 single 'If You Don't Fit, Don't Force It' / 'Be Happy'. http://www.amazon.com/, http://rateyourmusic.com/, http://www.artandpopularculture.com/,

sábado, 24 de octubre de 2009

VA: Mama's Got a Bag of Her Own (2006)

Mama's Got a Bag of Her Own features female acts, both solo and groups, and the twenty five tracks are excellent examples of the diversity to be found in '60s and '70s soul. Anna King supplies the funky title track, obviously a reply to her former employer James Brown's 'Papa's Got a Brand New Bag'. This was her first recording after being part of the James Brown Revue. Soul with a flavour of jazz is represented by three singers. Nancy Wilson covering Ashfords & Simpsons classic 'You're All I Need to Get By', Esther Philips distinctive voice adorns 'Nobody But You' - a fingersnapper written by Chicago soul stalwarts Gerald Sims and Floyd Smith - while Marlena Shaw give us a smooth as silk reading of 'Feel Like Making Love'. One of Dusty Springfield's favourite singers, Baby Washington, chips in with the atmospherically orchestrated 'I'm on the Outside (Looking In)'. Bettye Lavette and Irma Thomas are both represented here with two great classics, 'Let Me Down Easy' and 'Some Things You Never Get Used To', big US hits for the ladies. The same unfortunately can't be said about Tina Britt, who plunges in at the deeper end of the soul pool, with the ballad 'I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know'. Ann Cole's 'Don't Stop the Wedding' and Dee Dee Warwick's 'You're No Good' come from the very early '60s, when soul music was being born out of '50s style R&B. Clydie King has not recorded for many years but, in-between being one of Ray Charles Raelettes and doing session work for the likes of The Rolling Stones, Van Morrisson and Steely Dan, she made records the calibre of 'One of Those Good for Crying Over You Days'. Fans of the soul that was branded Northern by the British are treated to 'Groovin at the Go Go', by the Four Larks. The Southern USA has its own brand of soul and that is represented by Ann Sexton with 'Loving You, Loving Me' and a lady who is still performing great live shows, Gwen McCrae, with 'It Keeps on Raining' recorded in Florida with the great Clarence Reid. Other titles include 'I'm My Own Doctor' by Debbie Dovale, 'You Got 'Em Beat' by the Soul Sisters, 'Hard to Handle' by Patti Drew, 'Beatmaker' by Doris, 'There's So Much Love All Around Me' by the Three Degrees, 'I'm Just Not Ready for Love' by the Ikettes, and 'Just Not Ready' by the Exciters. So Mama's got a very mixed bag of soul by a bunch of female artists, most of whom have deserved their individual posting in this blog (seek and you will find!!). By the way, this is for you, DEE, as you got here Margo Thunder's version of 'Expressway to Your Heart' you requested from my playlist. Enjoy, my friend! http://www.designermagazine.org/
Bettye LaVette on a re-recording of one of the greatest soul songs ever, 'Let Me Down Easy':

viernes, 23 de octubre de 2009

Ruby Johnson meets Pearl Reaves (1993)

Anyone who thrilled to the Stax compilation that gathered Johnson's 3 released singles and 16 superb unreleased tracks, will want to hear these rare pre-Stax recordings. Ruby was born on 19 April 1936 in Elizabeth City near Norfolk VA but made most of her recordings in Washington DC. After gigging around the Carolinas she settled in the capital city where she was spotted by DC entrepreneur Never Duncan who hired the multi-talented Dicky Williams as arranger/producer for her 45s. Included here is Johnson's first release (done for V-Tone in 1960), 'Pleadin' Heart' b/w 'Calling All Boys', as well as 'Stop Wasting Your Tears,' cut for Pledge. But it is via her excellent series of 45s for Neb’s (Duncan’s own label) that she made her considerable reputation, like the fine 'I've Been Hurt', 'Worried Mind', 'Let Me Apologize', 'I Want a Real Man', 'Here I Go Again', and others. The remainder of the songs belong to the obscure Pearl Reaves, a singer originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, who had moved to Rahway, New Jersey in the late '40s. After winning some local talent shows, she started singing at the Palace Blue Room, owned by bandleader/drummer Paul Farano. She not only sang, but played guitar with the Paul Farano Trio there for two years (and ended up marrying Farano). In early 1955, Morty Shad had Pearl Reaves do a couple of songs for Harlem, and used the Concords to back her up. The result is the great up-tempo 'You Can't Stay Here' (aka 'Step It Up and Go') and 'I'm Not Ashamed', wherein Pearl talks about being an "ugly woman". This one was released in April 1955. Considering what a wonderful voice Pearl had, she mostly limited her career to singing with her husband's band. The rest of her sides, including 'Cool with a Groove' and 'Same Old Love', seem to come from her own Pearlsfor label, and probably date from the early to mid '60s. On these, her name is spelled both "Reaves" and "Reeves" (Note: The cover art is very similar to the Stax set I posted last April, but the two albums have not a single track in common. Unfortunately, the sound quality - as it usually happens with all the releases on the Titanic label - is pretty bad, but that's better than nothing!) Thanks again, Martin, for this one!! http://www.rootsandrhythm.com/, http://sirshambling.com/, http://home.att.net/

jueves, 22 de octubre de 2009

Bettye Swann Special - Part III: The Fame & Atlantic Years (1971-1976)

This is the last of the three posts I have dedicated to the great Bettye Swann, spanning her entire recording career for Money, Capitol, Fame and Atlantic between 1964 and 1976. After working for Capitol, Bettye switched to Rich Hall's Fame label while it was being distributed by Capitol, releasing 1971's 'I'm Just Living a Lie' / 'I Can't Let You Break My Heart'. Swann then landed at Atlantic, but still retained the Fame link. During her time at Atlantic in the early to mid '70s she recorded at Muscle Shoals where she cut the #16 soul hit, 'Victim of a Foolish Heart', the first of half a dozen hits for her with the label. Her next Atlantic effort, 'I'd Rather Go Blind,' was notable in large part for its B-side, a reading of Merle Haggard's 'Today I Started Loving You Again,' that proved once more Swann a superb interpreter of country-soul. 1973's 'Yours Until Tomorrow' was backed by another Nashville cover, this time Tammy Wynette's 'Til I Get It Right.' While at Atlantic in the early '70s, some of her Money recordings, including her album Make Me Yours, were re-released on A-Bet, the Nashville-based successor to the renowned Excello blues and R&B imprint. Bettye also recorded at Atlantic in New York City, and at the famous Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, where the Northern Soul biggie 'Kiss My Love Goodbye' was captured. This song found Swann operating firmly in Philly soul territory, its slick, urbane production courtesy of the Young Professionals team of LeBaron Taylor, Phil Hurtt, and Tony Bell. She made a return to the lower rungs of the Billboard Hot 100 with its A-side 'The Boy Next Door,' while 1975's 'All the Way in or All the Way Out' enjoyed minor chart success. Betty's last visit to the charts was a duet with Sam Dees of 'Storybook Children' in 1975 on the Big Tree label, an Atlantic distributed label. A last single 'Heading in the Right Direction' / 'Be Strong Enough to Hold On' was released on Atlantic in 1976, but without commercial success. Her last public performance as Bettye Swann was in 1980, the year her husband and manager, George Barton, died. As Betty Barton, she then worked in the education sector in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, and became a Jehovah's Witness. She is now retired and, according to a 2005 interview, suffers from a degenerative spinal condition. http://www.answers.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/

miércoles, 21 de octubre de 2009

Bettye Swann Special - Part II: The Capitol Years (1968-1970)

The success of Bettye Swann's 1967 single 'Make Me Yours' on Money attracted the interest of Capitol Records, where she recorded what is generally considered her most lasting work. Capitol smartly paired her with veteran R&B producer Wayne Shuler, and together they recorded a series of sides that blended the uptown sophistication of Chicago artists like Barbara Lewis with the earthy grooves then being churned out by southern studios like Stax and Muscle Shoals. This self-titled collection brings together nearly everything Bettye recorded for the label, including the two complete albums The Soul View Now! and Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me (although the tracks are all mixed in together), and a couple of non-Lp B-sides. There is an achingly great southern soul feel to these tunes, which range from fragile soul ballads with sweet harmonies to poundingly righteous stompers. The feel is just loose enough, with roomy arrangements that leave plenty of space for Bettye's sweet vocals, but still with the ability to tighten up and pound at the crack of a whip! Swann is equally adept at slinky, sassy uptown soul like '(My Heart Is) Closed for the Season,' 'Cover Me,' and 'You're Up to Your Old Tricks Again' as well as down-home, heartbroken ballads like 'Little Things Mean a Lot,' the bluesy 'Don't Touch Me,' and Otis Redding's 'These Arms of Mine,' but also unique blends of styles like her Baroque soul take on the Bee Gees' 'Words' and her countrified funk version of Marvin Gaye's 'Ain't It Peculiar.' In fact, she often dipped into country music for material and came up with some impressive songs like her aching version of Patsy Cline's 'Sweet Dreams,' which comes darn close to the original in the heartbreak stakes. Her takes on 'Stand By Your Man' and 'Angel of the Morning' are beautiful and soulful reinterpretations, too. This disc is packed with original, soulful, and exciting music from beginning to end. http://www.allmusic.com/, http://www.amazon.co.uk/, http://www.dustygroove.com/

martes, 20 de octubre de 2009

Bettye Swann Special - Part I: The Money Recordings (1964-1967)

Betty Jean Champion was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on October 24, 1944 and began her singing career at the start of the '60s as a member of The Fawns. As a solo artist under her new stage name, and with a LA-based Money recording contract, she was handed a tune written by Carolyn Franklin, 'Don't Wait Too Long', and saw it go to # 21 R&B and reach # 131 on the Billboard Pop Hot 100 "bubble under" charts in March 1965 b/w 'What Is My Life Coming To?'. This modest beginning was then followed by two flops that same year, 'The Man Who Said No' / 'What Can It Be?' and 'The Heartache Is Gone' / 'Our Love'. There were no Money releases at all in 1966, but in June 1967 she scored her greatest hit ever when 'Make Me Yours' went all the way to # 1 R&B and a quite respectable # 21 on the Hot 100 b/w 'I Will Not Cry'. The follow-up 'Fall In Love With Me' didn't do nearly as well, however, reaching only # 36 R&B/# 67 Hot 100 that October b/w 'Lonely Love'. and this was followed by two more failures, 'Don't Look Back' / 'You Gave Me Love' and 'I Think I'm Falling in Love' / 'Don't Take My Mind'. In between she had her first album released, appropriately titled Make Me Yours, containing the afore-mentioned singles along with 'A Change Is Gonna Come' and something that hinted at future directions as a purveyor of Country soul - the Don Gibson Country classic 'I Can't Stop Loving You', which was a huge hit for Ray Charles. All of the material known to exist by Bettye Swann in the vaults of the Money label is found on this 24-track compilation. It has all of her 1964-1967 singles for the company, as well as a few songs released on her 1967 Make Me Yours LP, and nine previously unreleased tracks, two of which are just remixes, half a dozen of which are alternate versions. Enjoy! http://www.allmusic.com/, http://www.amazon.com/

lunes, 19 de octubre de 2009

Jeannie Reynolds: Discography (1969-1977)

Underground soul diva Jeannie Reynolds is best known for her signature song 'The Fruit Song', though her highest-charting single was the snappy 'The Phone's Been Jumping All Day' on Casablanca Records, number ten R&B on Billboard in summer 1975. The sister of L.J. Reynolds of the Dramatics, Reynolds was actually cutting singles back in 1969 for Mainstream with 'Down on Me' / 'Don't Set Me Free', which she released under the name of Jeany Reynolds (though there are versions as Shirley Jean and the Relations). Following this release 1971 saw 'I Don't Mess Around' / 'People Make The World', issued as Jeannie Reynolds and the Re-Leets on Washington, and then in 1974 came 'I Know He'll Be Back Someday' / 'You Ain't the Only Man,' for Chess. Her only other R&B charting single was also on Casablanca Records, 'Lay Some Lovin' on Me,' number 46, fall 1975. With its "fruitful" cover, the singer's LP Cherries, Bananas and Other Fine Things on Casablanca was issued in June 1976, with detroit talents LJ Reynolds, Tony Hester, and Don Davis producing, save for one song by Michael Henderson. One single from the LP, 'The Fruit Song,' written by Lawrence Payton of the Four Tops and Fred Bridges, became a huge hit, a post-release collectible, and a steppers standard. The song is a sly seductive stepper of a track, with rolling congas, sweeping strings, and a very catchy hook from Jeannie. Another Casablanca LP, One Wish, produced by Don Davis (Johnnie Taylor, the Dramatics, Marilyn McCoo, and Billy Davis, Jr.) was issued in 1977, containing the deep ballad 'I'm Hooked on You', which was subsequently released as a single in 1978. Tragically, Jeannie Reynolds took her two children's lives before committing suicide in 1980; this sad event was, apparently, drug related. Jeannie's vocals were nice and deep, with hints of southern diva phrasing, filtered through some of the heavier soul styles coming out of Chicago and other points north at that time. I gathered here most of her discography, including her two complete Casablanca albums and six cuts she released as 45s between 1969 and 1975. http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/, http://www.soulcellar.co.uk/, http://www.dustygroove.com/

domingo, 18 de octubre de 2009

Jaibi: The Collection (1964-1967)

Jaibi was the stage name of soul singer Joan Banks (February 6, 1943 - September 4, 1984). Born Joan Pulliam, and later known as Joan Bates after her marriage to her first husband Anthony Bates Sr., she first recorded with a group, the Pleasures, but is best known for her solo records, 'You Got Me' and 'It Was Like a Nightmare'. These were issued on Kapp Records in 1967, written and produced by her second husband Larry Banks (previously the husband of singer Bessie Banks). They were not successful in terms of sales and, after a few more recordings (some with her husband as Lawrence & Jaibi), her musical career ended. She and Banks later divorced, and she completed her schooling acquiring her Masters Degree in Computer Programming. Joan continued her life as an accomplished and successful computer programmer analyst for companies such as Polygram Records, IBM and finally reaching a high level position at Trans America Inter corp. She died of leukemia, on September 4, 1984, leaving behind 4 children (Anthony Bates Jr., Brian Bates, Tracey Banks and Corey Banks). Her recordings are now remembered due to the efforts of soul music pioneer Dave Godin, who regarded them as masterpieces, of "almost indescribable beauty and poignancy", the ultimate expression of Deep Soul music. He wrote: "No matter if you have only ever made one record, or written one book, or made one film, if that work is a great work of art then your name deserves to be remembered and your memory thanked equally as if you had produced dozens. For, in the creation of a masterpiece, even if it only touches the lives of a few, you have enriched life itself beyond measure, and in this respect, those who benefit in this way have been given a precious jewel of experience to add to all those other magic moments we collect as we journey through life." http://en.wikipedia.org/ I have gathered here seven of Jaibi recordings, including a song she recorded with the Pleasures in 1964, 'Don't You Know (I Love You)', a duet with husband Larry Banks, a single she recorded as Joan Bates ('We Can Do It'), and an alternate version of her classic 'You Got Me'.

sábado, 17 de octubre de 2009

Linda Hayes: Atomic Baby - Hollywood R&B From The Platters First 'Dish' (1952-56) ... plus

Most of Linda Hayes' singles are on this 21-track compilation, including her number two 1953 R&B hit 'Yes I Know' and her lesser-known 1954 Top Ten 45, 'Take Me Back.' These 1952-1956 recordings don't include every last one of her releases - the 1954 single 'Play It Right'/'Your Back's Out' is missing - but otherwise everything seems to be here. There really isn't much separating the pleasantly full-voiced Hayes from many other singers straddling the early-'50s jump blues/R&B era and the dawn of rock & roll, other than her Platters association, a deeper tone than was customary for female singers in the genre, and those two hits. That makes this collection of almost exclusive interest to '50s R&B specialists, as the songs are on the rather formulaic side, though 'Yes I Know' is a natural standout owing to its semi-novelty as a sassy answer record (to Willie Mabon's number one R&B smash 'I Know'). Like some other vocalists who had a bit of early- to mid-'50s R&B success, she sounds like she might have been better cast as a jazz singer, not coming by the more raucous edge required by the changing times as naturally as some other performers - a greater problem when some of her material edged closer to doo-wop and rock & roll on her later recordings. Platters collectors will want to note the presence of a couple singles (including 'My Name Is Annie,' an "answer" record to the Midnighters' 'Work with Me Annie') with the Platters on backup vocals; she also duets with her brother (and Platters singer) Tony Williams on 'Oochi Pachi.' I added FOUR bonus tracks here: the 1959 single 'Hubba Hubba'/'Take the Hand of a Fool' and the previously undocumented early recordings with The Platters 'I Just Wanna Mambo' and 'Co-Operating Mama', which were hidden at the end of the session reel after 'My Name Ain't Annie'. Thanks, Daniele, for passing me this!! http://www.answers.com/

viernes, 16 de octubre de 2009

The Lovelites: The Lovelite Years (1999) / With Love from the Lovelites (1970) ... plus

It’s a crying shame that the Lovelites, one of the best female groups of the '60s and '70s, never gained the national attention some of their counterparts were privy to. The Chicago high-school trio peaked on the Billboard R&B charts at number 15 with their stunning track 'How Can I Tell My Mom and Dad', - a sad slow tune about teen pregnancy, sung in a strange otherworldly style that's also quite soulful - with a catchy hook and a way of referring to the problem at hand that's vague, and makes for a strange approach to the material. They still recorded some other irresistible sagas about adolescent and young-adult love, much like Martha & the Vandellas, the Marvelettes, Honey Cone, and other luminaries. Patti Hamilton, her sister Rozena Petty, and Barbara Peterman were the original group, with Ardell McDaniel replacing Peterman in 1968. Joni Berlman replaced Petty in 1970, and Rhonda Grayson replaced McDaniel in 1971. 'How Can I Tell My Mom & Dad' did well enough for the group to start its own label, Lovelite Records, in 1970. It continued until 1973, while one single from their label made the R&B Top 40, 'My Conscience,' in 1971. They disbanded in 1973. This wonderful compilation of Lovelites sides, includes the Vandellas-sounding 'Get It off My Conscience', their first hit 'Mom & Dad' and other great songs like 'Love Is Pretty' and 'Love Bandit', which was released in 1972 as Patti & the Lovelites. The remakes are just as good: 'My Baby Loves Me,' 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin',' 'Betcha By Golly Wow,' and 'Got to Be There' are as potent as the originals. I included as bonus the ten tracks from the Lovelites' only full length album on UNI, With Love from the Lovelites, which were omitted from the set, plus an early song from 1967, 'I Found Me a Lover'. 31 tracks in all! These tunes are very different than the usual girl trio material, rougher, more honest, with a quality that's emotive, yet not overly drippy. Part of the thanks for this goes to arranger Johnny Cameron, who handled the tracks on the set, but a lot of the credit should also go to lead singer Patty Hamilton, who co-wrote some of the tracks, and who has a fantastic way of putting over the songs. These extra titles from their album include 'This Love is Real', 'Certain Kind of Lover', 'I'm in Love', 'Shy Boy', 'I've Got Love', 'Gotta Let You Go' and 'Oh My Love'. http://www.dustygroove.com/, http://www.answers.com/

jueves, 15 de octubre de 2009

Spanky Wilson: The Westbound Years (1973-75)

Spanky Wilson’s Specialty from the House Lp, from 1975, was recorded at Westbound Records in Detroit with a crack team of session musicians arranged by David Van De Pitte (the arranger on Marvin Gaye’s 'What’s Going On'), and was produced by Al Kent, veteran of many classic Detroit sessions. The ten tracks on the album included her excellent debut single 'Shake Your Head,' and nine new tracks. The music was a perfect vehicle for Spanky’s vocal style. It is a record that would fit comfortably in anyone’s collection in a space alongside Marlena Shaw’s mid-70s Blue Note and Esther Phillips’ Kudu releases of the same time. Backings penned by David Van DePitte, Paul Riser, and others gave Wilson a nicely mature sound that was a good change from her aging style of previous years, allowing for a nice range of modes. For the most part, the best cuts are actually those that depart a little from the mainstream soul format, like a satisfyingly funky take on Bill Withers' 'Kissing My Love,' the nice crossover 'Easy Lover,' and a chance to revisit her somewhat jazz-poppier origins on 'Home.' Six unissued tracks have been also included here. Harlan Howard’s 'He Called Me Baby' is a great understated funky take on the song, and the same can be said of 'Chokin’ Kind', Mitty Collier’s 'I Had a Talk With My Man' and the jazzy blues of 'Standing Room Only' and 'Spend the Night With Me'. 'Can’t See the Forest for the Trees', the final unreleased cut, would have made a wonderful single. While the Spanky Wilson vocal magic continues to march on with the Quantic Soul Orchestra, the recordings that she made in Detroit over 30 years ago are a wonderful moment in the history of that magic. http://www.systemrecords.co.uk/, http://www.dustygroove.com/

miércoles, 14 de octubre de 2009

Spanky Wilson: The Mother Records & The Snarf Company Years (1969-1975)

Over the last 30 years Spanky Wilson has become established as a successful jazz vocalist. But there is a world of difference between concert hall jazz and the hip beats producers and sweaty night clubs where she has found herself recently. Her collaboration with DJ/producer Quantic have brought her prominence with the same crowd of DJs, collectors and beat-heads that have spent the last decade and a half desperately seeking her 60s and 70s recordings. Following her move in 1967 to Los Angeles Spanky Wilson worked with, amongst others, Marvin Gaye, Sammy Davis and Willie Bobo, but her most important contact was with producer and arranger H. B. Barnum. In the late '60s he founded his own independent record label, Mother Records & The Snarf Company. One of his first signings was Spanky Wilson, and her debut album for the label was the wonderful Spankin’ Brand New (1969). Swingin’ soul, songs written by Howlett Smith, Spanky’s delivery is rooted here in standards ala Dinah Washington but this is soul all the way, with great playing, subtle string parts & killer horn arrangements typical of Barnum. Highlights are 'Mighty Great Feeling,' 'Apartment 101' and 'The Last Day of Summer.' Even if this album was promising, it was the follow-up, Doin’ It (1970) that first alerted clubbers to her work when they discovered its deep funk single 'You' in second-hand bins in the late '80s. The album also included a bad ass cover of 'Sunshine of My Love' and the scorchin’ 'Hurtin’'. On her third and final Mother album, from 1975 (¿), she sings fabulous covers of some current hits, including Bobbie Gentry's 'Fancy' and the Beatles' 'Let It Be'. This three albums Wilson recorded for Mother should appeal to fans of Marlena Shaw, Salena Jones, Dakota Staton, and pretty much any soul jazz crossover vocalists. I included here her first two complete Lps, plus a couple of tracks from the third, Let It Be. http://www.popsike.com/, http://www.systemrecords.co.uk/
Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra in a live performance of Wilson's classic 'You' in Paris, 2006:

martes, 13 de octubre de 2009

Ruby & the Romantics: Our Day Will Come (1963-1966)

Ruby & the Romantics had several pop and R&B chart records during the '60s, but are sometimes considered as a one-hit wonder for topping the charts in 1963 with their first recording, 'Our Day Will Come'. Ruby Nash, the female lead of the group, originally sang with an all-girl group, consisting of her sister and two friends. They sang at record hops, mixers, talent shows and clubs in Akron and surrounding areas. Some of the male members of the Romantics sang with The Embers. Eventually, The Embers became known as The Supremes and then The Feilos. Since they all grew up in Akron and knew each other, Leroy Fann, a member of The Supremes, asked Ruby to sing with them on occasions. After auditioning, the group was signed to New York-based Kapp Records, and the group changed their name to Ruby & the Romantics. An Abraham Lincoln quotation over the stage in the auditorium at Akron Central High School, where the group members attended, may have been the inspiration for 'Our Day Will Come' - "I will study and get ready, and some day my chance will come". Those who attended Akron Central High School in the early '60s will recall hearing that song sung between classes by members of the group. The follow-up, 'My Summer Love', reached #16 on the Hot 100 and a third release, the original version of 'Hey There Lonely Boy' climbed to #27. Several more singles were released by Kapp which generally achieved minor chart status. A short spell with ABC was unsuccessful while one single for A&M in 1969 ('Hurting Each Other', originally recorded by Jimmy Clanton some years earlier) proved to be their final recording before the group broke up in 1971. The group had remained intact throughout their recording career, as confirmed by Ruby in an interview in 2008 with Marv Goldberg (R&B Notebooks). This 42-song set present the highlights of Ruby & the Romantics' career for the Kapp label, 1963-1966. This includes the big number 1 and title track here, the original versions of 'Hey There Lonely Boy/Girl' (a hit for Eddie Holman in 1974), 'When You're Young and in Love' (a hit in 1967 for the Marvelettes and for the Flying Picketts in 1984), 'Hurtin Each Other' (a 1972 hit for the Carpenters), plus their other Pop and R&B chart picks. http://en.wikipedia.org/

lunes, 12 de octubre de 2009

Dee Dee Warwick: The Atco Sessions (1970-71) ... plus Private Stock single (1975)

Dee Dee Warwick always sung in the shadow of her older sister, Dionne Warwick, but she created a body of work that holds up well decades later. Dee Dee's '60s recordings, while much less successful than Dionne's, were good New York pop/soul with a more pronounced R&B influence than her sister's, and a few of them were actually substantial R&B hits. In the early '70s, Dee Dee recorded for Atco with limited success, reaching the R&B Top Ten with 'She Didn't Know (She Kept on Talking),' and gaining a couple of smaller R&B hits with 'Cold Night in Georgia' and a notable cover of 'Suspicious Minds.' She did quite a bit of recording for Atco between 1970 and 1972 in a fairly down-home vein, sometimes with backing by the esteemed Dixie Flyers rhythm section, and backup vocals by the Sweet Inspirations, Cissy Houston, and Judy Clay. These sessions sounded something like a poppier variation on the Stax sound, though none of the songs had the arresting qualities necessary to break her to the pop audience. This 22-track compilation of her Atco work is a typically high-class Soul Classics production, including all the hits, non-LP singles, tracks from her 1970 LP Turning Around, and seven unreleased songs that are just as impressive as her official performances from the era. Dee Dee, incidentally, sounds nothing like Dionne here, favoring far gutsier vocals, material, and arrangements. It's good late-period vintage soul, and more evidence that Warwick was one of the more unjustly neglected soul performers of her time. I have included three bonus tracks here. The first one is a nice version of Fontella Bass' classic 'Rescue Me', recorded by Dee Dee on Atco in 1970, although unreleased at the time. The second and third are both sides of an awesome Modern Soul single Dee Dee recorded for Private Stock in 1975 as Dede Warwick , 'Get Out Of My Life' / 'Funny How We Change Places'. http://www.artistdirect.com/

domingo, 11 de octubre de 2009

June Conquest: The Great Forgotten Lady from Chicago Soul (1964-1969)

June Conquest is both an extraordinary, and extraordinarily (and undeservedly) obscure soul singer. During the early ’60s, she released a pair of singles, 'Almost Persuaded' under her own name, and a duet with a man known only as the Demon on 'The Only Way to Correct a Mistake (Is to Make One).' She was based in Houston around the time of the latter record, which, like its predecessor, failed to chart, and have since become choice collector’s items. By 1966, Conquest was based in Chicago and signed to Curtis Mayfield’s short-lived Windy C label, where she only cut one single, 'Take Care.' Mayfield obviously had a lot of faith in her ability, signing her to Curtom when he organized the company in 1968. Her single 'What's This I See' was the first record ever issued by the new label and became a serious local hit in Chicago. Despite this encouraging start, however, Conquest’s solo recording career never took off. She next appeared a year later in a duet setting. The idea had been to team Conquest with Sam Cooke’s brother L.C. Cooke, who was a pretty formidable soul singer in his own right, but he didn’t make the sessions. Instead, Donny Hathaway, who had never before cut records outside the setting of the Mayfield Singers or as a backup singer on various Windy C and Curtom sides, stepped in. It was the start of an auspicious career, but not for Conquest. Donny & June, as they were billed, didn’t tear the charts up with 'I Thank You,' 'Just Another Reason,' or their remake of 'What’s This I See,' but the sound they got anticipated Hathaway’s subsequent celebrated duets with Roberta Flack. Indeed, the single 'I Thank You,' which went almost unnoticed in 1969, finally came into its own three years later, reaching number 41 on the R&B listings and number 94 pop when it was reissued in the wake of Hathaway’s success with Flack. It wasn’t enough to rescue Conquest’s recording career, however; she never cut another record and later gave up singing. http://www.answers.com/ I collected here six of June Contest sides, all recorded between 1964 and 1969 on Fame, Windy C and Curtom Records, including her duet with Donny Hathaway 'I Thank You'. Enjoy!

sábado, 10 de octubre de 2009

Barbara Lynn: The Crazy Cajun Recordings (1998)

A Beaumant native, Barbara never wanted to be anything but an entertainer. Born January 16, 1942, she started learning her craft on a cheap Arthur Godfrey ukelele and was leading her own regional band before she graduated from high school in 1960. Nicknamed "the black Elvis" by friends, Lynn was nurtured by Clarence "Bon Ton" Garlow, a local bluesman and DJ. By 1962 she and Garlow attracted the attention of Huey Meaux, who saw her perform at the Ten Acre Club outside Beaumont. Meaux brought her to Cosimo Matassa's studio in New Orleans, hustling a deal with various "indie" labels. According to Matassa, Meaux unfortunately failed to connect so Cosimo worked out a deal with Harry Finfer at Jamie Records. The first single, Barbara's own ‘You'll Lose a Good Thing’, topped the R&B charts and raced to #8 on the pop Top Forty in the summer of 1962. She had several additional pop charters that year, in 1963 and in 1964 when the Rolling Stones covered her ‘Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin')’, a modest hit for Lynn though it lasted two months on the charts. It's amazing that, with such credentials established before her 23rd birthday, Barbara Lynn didn't become a superstar, but for some reason she missed her train to glory. Instead of becoming a household name who released an album every year or so, Lynn's recorded output from 1962 to 1986 is limited to her debut album on Jamie and a 1968 "comeback" effort on Atlantic, source of her last pop chart entry, ‘This Is the Thanks I Get’, in 1969. And then, at the age of 27, Barbara Lynn dropped off the radar screen of chart records, major labels, hit singles and national exposure. While living in Los Angeles Lynn occasionally appeared at local clubs before returning to Beaumont, Texas to live and resume her recording career after her husband's death. She was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999. This set presents a good picture of a versatile soul-blues singer on top of her form. In addition to showcasing some of her own material, the Crazy Cajun Sessions from the early '70s also feature Lynn renditions of such hits as The Casinos' ‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye’ and Hank Williams' timeless ‘I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry’ as well as ‘Daddy Hot Stuff’, a selection obviously influenced by Jean Knight's 1971 pop hit. There are also four alternate takes of some of her best known tunes, such as 'I'm a Good Woman', 'Nice and Easy' and 'You Left the Water Running'. Just sit back and enjoy the work of this vastly underrated artist from the fertile Gull Coast! Partially taken from the original liner notes and http://en.wikipedia.org/.

viernes, 9 de octubre de 2009

VA: Chess Soul Sisters (1961-1972)

Mojo invites you to get down with the girls on this 20-track collection featuring some of the most significant female performers on the Chess label. From Marlena Shaw to Fontella Bass, Sugar Pie De Santo to Etta James and beyond. Real singers, backed by real musicians, performing some of the greatest, blazing, knock down bluesy, funkiest tracks ever recorded; classics all. The only downside is that for most long time collectors, you might already have virtually all of the cuts ('Fire' by Etta James, 'Rescue Me' by Fontella Bass... you know, not exactly hard to find tracks), but instead of having to make your own mix CD, Chess/Mojo has done that for you. Enjoy! http://www.amazon.com/
Fontella Bass, backed by The Blossoms, on a live performance of one of the greatest Chess classics, included on this compilation:

01. Seven Day Fool - Etta James
02. Yes It's Good For You - Koko Taylor
03. Liberation Conversation - Marlena Shaw
04. Git Out - Mitty Collier
05. Dirty Man - Laura Lee
06. Take Me For a Little While - Jackie Ross
07. Don't Knock Love - Barbara Carr
08. In Orbit - Joy Lovejoy
09. Cheater Man - Irma Thomas
10. Don't Mess With the Messer - Koko Taylor
11. Fire - Etta James
12. I Don't Wanna Fuss - Sugar Pie De Santo
13. I Surrender - Fontella Bass
14. We Got Something Good - Irma Thomas
15. It's How You Make It Good - Laura Lee
16. My Babe - Mitty Collier
17. Tease Your Man - Koko Taylor
18. Rescue Me - Fontella Bass
19. Sally Go Round the Roses - The Jaynetts
20. California Soul - Marlena Shaw

jueves, 8 de octubre de 2009

Odyssey 5: First Time Around (1975)

Not to many people know about these five beautiful young ladies from the state of North Carolina called Odyssey 5. I could not find any info about them on the net, but what it is for sure is that they recorded a classic Lp titled 'First Time Around'. Originally released in 1975 on Brunswick Records, this Alonzo Tucker produced gem mixes cool laid back soul/funk grooves with fine female group harmonies and a powerful lead vocalist. You will find here absolutely perfect tunes like 'Peace of Mind' and the mellow 'More Ways Than One'. Also nice are the funky 'Everybody's Complaining' and 'Got to Be an Answer'. Many many thanks to Rohto for sharing with us an excellent copy of this hard to find album!! Title Tracks:
A1. Golden Dreams
A2. Master Plan
A3. My Best Friend
A4. Stop, I Don’t Need No Sympathy
A5. What’s It Gonna Be
B1. Got to Be an Answer
B2. Happiness Is Being With You
B3. More Ways Than One
B4. Peace of Mind
B5. Everybody’s Complaining

miércoles, 7 de octubre de 2009

Candi Staton: Candi Staton (2004) ... plus

For many years mega talent soul singer Candi Staton lacked a comprehensive collection of her prime Southern R&B material from her glory years, 1969-1973. While it's true that Staton's chart success continued in the disco era with 'Young Hearts Run Free,' from 1975, that music is in a different universe from her Muscle Shoals-period recording for Fame and other labels. This compilation contains 26 tracks from those hallowed years, when Staton's deep soul tomes rang up no less than 12 consecutive Billboard R&B hits, a pair of Grammy nominations, and a gold album. Like Aretha Franklin, Linda Jones, and Otis Redding, Staton's voice is the sound of emotion being ripped from the human heart and offered, bleeding and broken, pleading and yearning, to the listener. Collected here is every last fantastic song from her debut album I'm Just a Prisoner and her follow up Stand by Your Man. Also from her 1972 self titled album we get 'The Best You Ever Had', 'In the Ghetto', 'I'll Drop Everything and Come Running', and 'The Thanks I Get for Loving You'. There are a few non-Lp tracks, too: the 1973 single 'Love Chain' / 'I'm Gonna Hold On (To What I Got This Time)', 'Heart on a String', which was a B-side from a single released in 1970, and lastly 'Sure As Sin', the B-side for a single released in 1972. Some of the highlights here include the stunning 'I'm Just a Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin')', her amazing read of Redding's 'That's How Strong My Love Is,' the killer 'I'm Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man,' the definitive version of Tammy Wynette's 'Stand By Your Man,' 'He Called Me Baby,' the stellar 'Get It When I Want It,' and one of the few versions of 'In the Ghetto' (other than Elvis') that matters. All of the tracks here warrant their appearance: there isn't a mediocre one in the bunch, as evidenced further by the inclusion of 'Sweet Feeling,' 'Someone You Use,' and 'Love Chain,' as well. To complete the collection I added as bonus tracks the five cuts from her third Fame album which were omitted. Highly recommended. http://www.allmusic.com/, http://rateyourmusic.com/
This is Candi Staton's live version of her 1969 deep soul classic 'That's How Strong My Love Is', that she performed at the Glastonbury Festival in England in summer 2008 before an audience of 50,000 fans:

martes, 6 de octubre de 2009

Debbie Taylor: Anthology (1968-1975)

Debbie Taylor's short recording career produced some of the most impassioned vocal performances ever committed to vinyl. Little is known about her background, date of birth etc, but she has achieved iconic status with fans of soul music due, in the main, to her partnership with producers David Jordan and Patrick Adams. It is believed that Debbie Taylor first came to the attention of Decca records through her church singing. Her first recording with the Decca label in 1968 produced the tracks 'I Get the Blues' / 'The Last Laugh's on the Blues' and 'Check Yourself' / 'Wait Until I'm Gone', none of which achieved much in the way of commercial success. She parted company with Decca and moved to the New York based GWP label. Her 1969 debut single with GWP 'Never Gonna Let Him Know' / 'Let's Prove Them Wrong' was also the launch single for the label. In that year she also recorded the uptempo 'Don't Let It End' / 'How Long Can This Last' and the flip side to a Hesitations' single titled 'Mamma Look Sharp'. Despite having released three records in 1969 between then and 1972 she released only one further recording - 'Don't Nobody Mess With My Baby' / 'Stop' on the GWP subsidiary label GWP Grapevine. In 1972 she left the GWP label and was brought to the Perception/Today label by its then Vice President Boo Frazier and songwriter/producer David Jordan. Taylor's tenure with Today was another short stint, but many regard this as her best period. It was then that she recorded the seminal soul funk album Comin' Down on You, a soul masterpiece wrapped in genuine Patrick Adams' arrangements. Her collaboration with Adams, the then producer and co-writer for label mates Black Ivory, resulted in her covering their track 'No If's, And's or But's'. In 1973 demo recordings on the Polydor label of the Mavis Staples track 'I Have Learned to Do Without You' released on Volt Records in 1970 began to surface. Commercial success still eluded her and by 1975 she'd moved to and was recording with Arista Records, where she recorded 'Just Don't Pay' backed by a phenomenal vocal performance of 'I Don't Wanna Leave You'. This is supposed to be the last recording session of this little-known deep soul sister. http://en.wikipedia.org/. I have compiled here a total of 20 tracks recorded by Taylor between 1968 and 1975 for Decca, GWP, Polydor and Arista, including the entirety of her 1972 album for Today. Enjoy!