Any Major Soul 1966
Soul music in 1966 — throughout the 1960s — was so rich in quality and diversity that one can cheerfully dispense with the year’s great hits of that genre. We need no Reach Out I’ll Be There, Hold On I’m Coming, Knock On Wood, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, B-A-B-Y or When A Man Loves A Woman to serve a feast of mid-’60s soul.
Of course we have many well-known voices on this compilation: Eddie Floyd, Lou Rawls, The Isley Brothers (with their cover of The Supremes’ I Hear A Symphony), Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (with my favourite song of theirs) or Major Lance.
One voice is familiar, but the name is not: Andrea Davis. It was the name under which Minnie Riperton briefly recorded after leaving The Gems (who have featured previously) and joining The Rotary Connection.
The Five Stairsteps appear here with their debut single, a great slice of Curtis Mayfield-penned Chicago soul that served as a double A-side with You Waited Too Long.
The Poets, not to be confused with the Scottish outfit by that name or the forerunners of the Main Ingredient, provide what might well be my favourite track on this mix, She Blew A Good Thing. It was the only hit for the Brooklyn band, reaching #2 R&B and the Top 40 pop charts.
Almost as good is Bobby Sheen’s Dr Love (with that great tempo change halfway through). Sheen never had much success under his own name; he was more famous as Bob B Soxx, the nominal leader of the Phil Spector-produced Blue Jeans (who were Darlene Love and Fanita James). He also provided one of the voices on The Crystals’ He’s A Rebel. Fans of Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You will know Sheen’s voice from the songs The Bells Of St Mary’s and Here Comes Santa Claus. Sheen died in 2000 at the age of 59.
Clarence Reid is better known as the sexually explicit novelty soul singer Blowfly, and as the co-writer of such soul classics as Betty Wright’s Clean Up Woman and Gwen McCrae’s Rockin’ Chair. The Blowfly moniker reportedly had its origins with Reid’s granny. Mishearing Reid’s singing of Do the Twist as “Suck My Dick”, she berated him: “You is nastier than a blowfly.”
There are not many soul singers from a Jewish background (and even Sammy Davis Jr was a convert to Judaism); one of the few is featured here: Ruby Johnson, who recorded on Stax with Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
Darrell Banks is featured here with his sole hit single, Open Your Heart, for which he falsely claimed songwriting credit; after litigation, the real writer, Donnie Elbert, got 50% credit. The singer came to a tragic end in 1970 when he was shot dead when he pulled a gun on a policeman who was having an affair with Banks’ girlfriend.
Fans of The Specials will know Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers’ Sock It To ’Em J.B., a clever song about one JB performed in the style of another JB — it’s a tribute to James Bond as James Brown might have rendered it.
As always, the mix is timed to fit on a CD-R and includes covers. PW in comments.
1. Arthur Conley – Funky Street
2. Eddie Floyd – Things Get Better
3. William Bell – Never Like This Before
4. The Poets – She Blew A Good Thing
5. The Five Stairsteps – Don’t Waste Your Time
6. Bobby Sheen – Dr. Love
7. Fontella Bass – I Surrender
8. The Isley Brothers – I Hear A Symphony
9. Dee Dee Warwick – Lover’s Chant
10. Betty Harris – What’d I Do Wrong
11. Chris Clark – Love’s Gone Bad
12. Martha Reeves & the Vandellas – No More Tearstained Make Up
13. Mable John – Your Good Thing (Is About To End)
14. Jean Wells – If You’ve Ever Loved Someone
15. Lou Rawls – A Whole Lotta Love
16. Don Covay – I Never Get Enough Of Your Love
17. Andrea Davis – You Gave Me Soul
18. Clarence Reid – I Refuse To Give Up
19. Ruby Johnson – I’ll Run Your Hurt Away
20. Baby Washington – Either You’re With Me (Or Either You’re Not)
21. Darrell Banks – Open The Door To Your Heart
22. Major Lance – Investigate
23. Billy Thompson – Black Eyed Girl
24. Roy Hamilton – Crackin’ Up Over You
25. The Sapphires – Slow Fizz
26. The Capitols – Cool Jerk
27. Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers – Sock It To ‘Em J.B., Pt. 1
28. Brenda Holloway – Hurt A Little Everyday
29. Devotions – The Devil’s Gotten Into My Baby
30. The Royalettes – Baby Are You Putting Me On
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