Any Major Soul 1974 – Vol. 2
The second volume of Any Major Soul 1974 is long overdue; Volume 1 ran in September. I still enjoy listening to the first part, and think that the second mix is very much its equal.
This mix has Stevie Wonder’s handprints all over it: he features with a track from his Fulfillingness First Finale album, and he wrote the tracks by Syreeta (by then his ex-wife) and Minnie Riperton.
You might remember The Soul Survivors as a ’60s soul band, especially for their excellent 1969 hit Expressway To Your Heart (Gamble & Huff’s first hit), but here we find the Philly outfit in 1974. Their self-titled LP that year was also their swanswong, other than two singles that followed in 1975 and ’76, which is a shame because one feels they still had something to offer. The founder members later reformed to perform, but never released another record.
Also holding out from the 1960s in this mix is Lou Courtney, who featured on Any Major Soul 1967. And that is exactly the gap between his first two albums, though Courtney released several singles along the way. Only one more LP would follow, in 1976. From 1978-79 he was a member of The 5th Dimension, but his greater success has been in songwriting, arranging and production — fields in which he worked before, during and after his recording career — collaborating with the likes of The Main Ingredient, Ben E King and Bonnie Raitt. His most famous writing credit probably is the hit Do The Freddie for Freddie and the Dreamers, which he co-wrote with the songwriter-producer Dennis Lambert.
The most obscure act here is The Street People about whom I’ve been unable to unearth any useful information. The second-most obscure singer must be Louise Freeman. A couple of singles in 1974, the second of which provided the b-side featured here, another single in 1977, and a couple of sides in the 1980s — and that’s it.
Sandra Wright also should be more famous. A gifted singer, and cousin of the blues great Memphis Slim, she had the misfortune of recording her opus just as the record company which was going to market it, Stax (through the Truth subsidiary, which had just made a hit of Shirley Brown’s Woman To Woman album), went bust. That 1974 album, Wounded Woman, is one of the finest soul LPs of 1974 — but nobody heard it. A couple of singles were released before Stax folded, and with that the yet to be released album sunk into obscurity. It was finally released in 1989 by the British Demon label and finally found an appreciative audience. Wright continued to perform, mostly as a blues singer, but never attained the stardom that Wounded Woman should have brought her. She died in 2010 at the young age of 61.
The soul experts might raise their hand at the inclusion of the Sam Dees song, pointing out that his The Show Must Go On LP came out only in 1975. But the song Worn Out Broken Heart came out first as a single in 1974.
As ever, CD-R timed, covers, PW in comments.
1. The Blackbyrds – Walking In Rhythm
2. The Persuaders – Hold On (Just A Little Bit Longer)
3. Moments & Whatnauts – Girls
4. The Street People – Baby You Got It All
5. Syreeta – I’m Goin’ Left
6. New York City – I’ve Had Enough
7. The Hues Corporation – How I Wish We Could Do It Again
8. Willie Hutch – Try It, You’ll Like It
9. Sandra Wright – I’ll See You Through (I’ll Be Your Shelter)
10. Bobby Bland – Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
11. Laura Lee – We’ve Come Too Far Too Walk Away
12. Millie Jackson – It’s All Over But The Shouting
13. Lou Courtney – I Don’t Need Nobody Else
14. The Soul Survivors – What It Takes
15. The Tymes – Someway, Somehow I’m Keepin’ You
16. The Delfonics – I Don’t Want To Make You Wait
17. Sam Dees – Worn Out Broken Heart
18. Minnie Riperton – Take A Little Trip
19. LaBelle – Nightbird
20. Louise Freeman – How Could You Run Away
21. Stevie Wonder – It Ain’t No Use
22. The Natural Four – Can This Be Real
23. Chairmen Of The Board – Finders Keepers