Any Major Soul 1968
The Any Major Soul 1967 mix received one of the most poignant comments yet. Trod wrote: “Listening to soul music takes me back to my days in Viet Nam. The good part anyway.” The incredible power of music, right there.
The soul mix for 1968 includes several legends of the genre doing what they did well: Aretha Franklin, Jerry Butler, Sam & Dave, The Delfonics , The Dells, The Intruders, Clarence Carter, Marvin & Tammi, Supremes & Tempations etc. And then there are The Ohio Players, future legends of uncompromising funk and purveyors in cover art of the pornographic metaphor. This mix kicks off with a track from their debut album, on which Dayton’s finest riffed on a danceable soul vibe.
Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers (as the name suggests, Canadians) had their sole hit, featured here, on Motown. It’s a fine song, but Taylor’s greater contribution to music history was discovering the Jackson 5. So, no, it wasn’t La Ross. Though the other two Supremes did discover the Vancouvers, who previously were known, charmingly, as Four Niggers and a Chink — the Asian component being Tommy Chong (later Cheech’s stoner sidekick) who was half-Chinese, half-Scottish. Chong co-wrote Does Your Mama Know About Me.
The Fantastic Four also had their solitary hit, I Love You Madly, on Motown. It had actually been recorded and issued on the Ric Tic Record label, but when Motown bought that label’s catalogue, they also scored the Fantastic Four’s contract.
Despite having a career spanning almost 50 years, The Masqueraders never really broke through and so are not very well known. In fact, the fine track featured here was a flop when it was released as a single and led to the group being dropped by Wand Records. They kept recording until 1980, and in the late 1960s also did backing vocals for the Box Tops. Another group still performing, though with different personnel, are The O’Kaysions, a blue-eyed soul group.
Mary Jane Hooper might be the most mysterious figure on this set. So little is known about the Eddie Bo protégé that many believe it is just a pseudonym used by soul singer Inez Cheatham, who she sounds like. It is true that Hooper’s name is an alias, but the New Orleans singer’s real name was Sena Fletcher, who previously recorded gospel music and backed Lee Dorsey. Soon after recording for Bo, she disappeared entirely from the music scene.
As far as monikers go, Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations is a rather cumbersome. Their version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is perfectly pleasant, but it is of obvious interest since a few years later Diana Ross recorded her rather more dramatic and utterly fabulous solo version of it.
Maurice & Mac were off-shoots of The Radiants, whose Voice Your Choice is a highlight on the Any Major Soul 1964 mix. The Radiants fell apart when Uncle Sam drafted two members into the army. Alas, although Maurice & Mac’s You Left the Water Running is an astonishing record, Chess Records messed up the promotion of the single, as they did with subsequent releases. Maurice McAllister was so disgusted by that neglect, he left the music industry.
Godoy Colbert might well have the best name on this mix. He was a member of The Pharaos, who backed Richard Berry in the original 1957 version of Louie Louie (his was the bass voice). In the early 1970s, Colbert was a member of The Free Movement, who had some success in 1972 with one of the greatest break-up songs in the canon, I’ve Found Someone Of My Own (featured on Any Major Soul 1972-73). Colbert died of cancer in 2002.
It seemed a bit left-field when actor and dancer Gregory Hines turned up on a Luther Vandross record in 1986 to sing a duet with the great man. In fact, Hines had been recording long before Luther. Gregory and brother Maurice had been a dance act as kids, known as the Hines Kids. In 1963 they were joined by their father, Maurice Sr, on drums, and changed the act’s name to Hines, Hines & Dad. The all-singing all-dancing act became a staple on Johnny Carson’s Tonight show.
Madeline Bell has featured on this blog several times. Her long career included stints with Blue Mink (of Melting Pot fame) and French disco group Space, and an appearance as backing singer at the Eurovision Song Contest. Having moved to Britain in the 1960s, she also was a close friend of and frequent backing singer for Dusty Springfield; the singers influenced one another, as can be heard on the featured track. Bell now lives in Spain and still touring as a jazz singer.
Another singer who has featured on thus blog several times is Grady Tate, who is represented here with a great black consciousness track, before these things became really popular in the early 1970s. To jazz lovers, Tate might be better known as a drummer, though on Grover Washington Jr’s beautiful 1981 track Be Mine (Tonight), Tate took the vocals (it featured on Any Major Soul 1980/81). He was first a drummer for Quincy Jones, then in Johnny Carson’s houseband, and played on records by people ranging from Charles Mingus to Marlena Shaw. He also played drums and percussions on Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park. In between, Tate also released a few albums as a soul singer; 1972’s She Is My Lady and 1975’s By Special Request are particularly good. I’ve drawn several times from the latter in the Covered With Soul series, on Vol 1, Vol 3, Vol 6 and Vol 14.
Also of its time is the track by Archie Bell & the Drells that closes this mix: the lament of a soldier drafted to fight in the Vietnam War *”wait here Uncle Sam, I can’t fight on Sundays…”. Which brings this post to a full circle.
As always, this mix is timed to fit on a CD-R and covers are included. PW in comments.
1. Ohio Players – A Little Soul Party
2. The Dells – Show Me
3. Sam & Dave – Don’t Turn Your Heater On
4. The Masqueraders – Do You Love Me Baby
5. Jay & the Techniques – Strawberry Shortcake
6. The Fantastic Four – I Love You Madly
7. Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers – Does Your Mama Know About Me
8. Mary Jane Hooper – I Feel A Hurt
9. The Delfonics – Break Your Promise
10. The Intruders – Turn The Hands Of Time
11. The O’Kaysions – Love Machine
12. Rita Wright – Can’t Give Back The Love
13. Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
14. Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Come On And See Me
15. Barbara Acklin – Love Makes A Woman
16. Betty Wright – Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do
17. Maurice & Mac – You Left The Water Running
18. Jerry Butler – Hey Western Union Man
19. Aretha Franklin – Since You’ve Been Gone (Sweet Sweet Baby)
20. Jean Wells – Have A Little Mercy
21. Arthur Conley – Put Our Love Together
22. Godoy Colbert – Baby I Like It
23. Freddie Hughes – Send My Baby Back
24. Madeline Bell – I’m Gonna Leave You
25. Mary Wells – Soul Train
26. Hines, Hines & Dad – Hambone
27. Teri Nelson Group – Sweet Talkin’ Willie
28. Clarence Carter – She Ain’t Gonna Do Right
29. Grady Tate – Be Black Baby
30. Archie Bell & the Drells – A Soldier’s Prayer, 1967
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