Any Major Soul 1972-73
I was delighted to see a comment from Jerry Plunk, lead singer and drummer of the Flying Embers, thanking me for including the group’s Westbound #9 in the Any Major Soul 1970/71 mix (and a comment from Jerry Lawson from the Persuasions, appreciating the inclusion of his group’s version of He Ain’t Heavy/You’ve Got A Friend in The Originals Vol. 30). I hope that this series of ’70s soul mixes will create some interest in acts and songs that are not as widely remembered as they ought to be. So this compilation excludes the most obvious picks for the years 1972/73, and includes what I hope are a few great new discoveries, or indeed re-discoveries. As before, it was a struggle to keep the mix down to the standard CD-R length.
As I was playing this collection, my wife heard Jermaine Jackson’s Daddy’s Home. She remembered that in her youth, this song and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Reasons (both by then a few years old) were the clarion call for young guys to ask the girls of their desire for a slow dance. Invariable, according to Any Major Wife With A Big Heart, the hapless girls who’d accept the invitation would feel something hard pressing against their stomachs; sometimes they’d have to fend off slobbering teen boys’ mouths. If they succeeded in their horny designs, the song the boys should have played while making love is Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack’s Be Real Black For Me (sampled to good effect by Scarface for the excellent My Block);
The era under review saw the rise of Philadelphia’s soul scene. The O’Jays, Billy Paul, Three Degrees and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes fell victim to the not-too-obvious rule, but represented here are still a number of exponents of Philly Soul, such as the Delfonics, Futures, Intruders (“She’s choice Grade A beef”!!!) , First Choice, Trammps and soul veteran Joe Simon, an early member of the Gamble & Huff stable.
Denise Lasalle may be better remembered for her disappointing 1985 hit Don’t Mess With My Tutu. Far better to get to know her through her gorgeous self-penned Trapped By A Thing Called Love produced by Memphis soul legend Willie Mitchell, who also produced Al Green in his soul prime, including the second cut on the Let’s Stay Together album, represented here. Sandwiched between the Mitchell-produced tracks is Barbara Jean English’s So Many Ways To Die, which is a bit of a showstopper, I think. Listen to the lyrics!. And talking of lyrics, check out the Free Movement: she tells him tearfully that she’s splitting for another guy; he tells her to calm down because he’s had an affair as well. A dirty, clean split.
Bloodstone supported Al Green on a UK tour before releasing their 1973 debut single and album, both titled Natural High. Their drummer, Steve Ferrone, later joined the Average White Band, which did a very good cover of the Isley Brothers’ Work To Do.
Terry Callier was a friend of Curtis Mayfield’s in the Chicago scene who fused his soul music with folk. He later recorded with Paul Weller and Beth Orton. He should receive credit also for this entirely agreeable cover art. Keep your game UP-tight, Terry.
Bobby Womack’s Harry Hippie, by the way, is named after his brother Harry, who a few years later died in a traffic accident.
1. Joe Simon – Step By Step
2. The Trammps – Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart
3. First Choice – Smarty Pants
4. The Isley Brothers – Work To Do
5. Cymande – The Message
6. Al Wilson – Show And Tell
7. Denise Lasalle – Trapped By A Thing Called Love
8. Barbara Jean English – So Many Ways To Die
9. Al Green – La-La For You
10. Jermaine Jackson – Daddy’s Home
11. Ronnie Dyson – When You Get Right Down To It
12. The Delfonics – Think It Over
13. Free Movement – I’ve Found Someone Of My Own
14. The Futures – Love Is Here
15. Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack – Be Real Black For Me
16. The Four Tops – Nature Planned It
17. Bobby Womack – Harry Hippie
18. The Intruders – She’s A Winner
19. Terry Callier – Ordinary Joe
20. Bloodstone – Natural High
21. Don Downing – Lonely Days, Lonely Nights
22. Jimmy Helms – Gonna Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse
23. Gladys Knight & The Pips – It’s Gotta Be That Way…