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Any Major Soul 1976 Vol. 1

June 22nd, 2017 1 comment

The year 1976 was a great year for soul. Even as disco made its influence felt, there was still a lot of music that built on the foundations of what had come in the years before, the more clinical sounds of the 1980s still in the future.

To exemplify, the opening track, by former James Brown sidekick Lyn Collins, has a vibe that would not have been out of place in 1968. The track that follows it, by the Brothers Johnson, follows Collins’ track quite naturally but also nods vaguely in the direction of disco, in a funky kind of way. Philly Soul, which is richly represented here, was in many ways part of the disco movement, but it always referenced the heritage of soul.

The most bizarre background story of acts featured on this mix concerns Spice, who recorded on the TSG label. Trouble was, TSG wasn’t really into making money, never mind making stars of their signings; their racket was to create tax write-offs. So Spice saw a single — the featured track — released, to no success. An LP was also produced, but it seems the band members didn’t know about it until about seven years ago when the singer’s octogenarian mother heard a track from it on a blog and recognised the voice of her son, Richard Brown Jr.  Brown was mentored by the Main Ingredient’s Donald McPherson in the craft of songwriting and arranging. Before too long they came to the attention of singer and label owner Lloyd Price, whom they also backed. But one night the band threw in the towel after another inadequate pay check. Their pretty good LP was never distributed, so the few copies that were circulation became a sought-after collector’s item — one that not even its singer would be aware of for almost 35 years. It finally was issued on CD in 2013.

Alas, I have virtually no information about Revelation. I can find no biographical detail other than the members’ names and producers, despite their having released five albums between 1976 and 1982. Revelation’s 1976 debut appeared on RSO, but most of the backing musicians where from the Philly Soul scene, and the album certainly sounds like it — which is a recommendation.

The Chi-Lites feature on this mix; a couple of songs later we encounter Maryann Farra & Satin Soul, for whom former Chi-Lites leader Eugene Record did arranging, though not on the featured track. That song is a gender-adapted cover of the Chi-Lites’ Living In The Footsteps Of Another Man, which featured on Any Major Soul 1972 Vol. 1. Farra and her band also covered Stoned Out Of My Mind, a great song which I’ve just realised inexplicably has never featured on any major mix. I really thought it had…

There have been many acts called First Class; the most famous of whom may be the lot that had a hit with Beach Baby (featured on Should Have Been A Top 10 Hit Vol. 3). The incarnation featuring here was from Baltimore, and enjoyed only limited success, mostly on the east coast. Their sound drew from Philly, with falsettos and the works.  By 1980 the band was done recording albums. Don’t be alarmed by the abrupt end to the song, and therefore to this compilation). The lyrics explain why.

As always, CD-R length, home-souled covers, PW in comments.

1. Lyn Collins – Me And My Baby Got A Good Thing Going
2. Brothers Johnson – Free and Single
3. Earth, Wind & Fire – On Your Face
4. The Drifters – You’re More Than A Number In My Little Red Book
5. Archie Bells & the Drells – I Could Dance All Night
6. Lou Rawls – Groovy People
7. Anthony White – Where Would I Be Without You
8. Ronnie McNeir – Selling My Heart To The Junkman
9. Revelation – We’ve Gotta Survive
10. Chi-Lites – Happy Being Lonely
11. The Ebonys – Mr. Me, Mrs. You
12. Maryann Farra & Satin Soul – Living In The Footsteps Of Another Girl
13. G.C. Cameron – Include Me In Your Life
14. Margie Joseph – Hear The Words, Feel The Feeling
15. Tommy Hunt – Loving On The Losing Side
16. David Ruffin – Good Good Times
17. Bo Kirkland & Ruth Davis – I Feel Love In This Room Tonight
18. Terry Huff – I Destroyed Your Love, Pt. 1
19. Spice – Everything Is You
20. Diana Ross – I Thought It Took A Little Time
21. Rose Royce – I Wanna To Get Next To You
22. First Class – Coming Back To You

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Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 2

April 6th, 2017 2 comments

The first Protest Soul mix, posted to coincide with the inauguration of Honest Donald in January, seems to have been quite popular. More than that, I hope it brought some kind of relief from the anguish of seeing that sphinctermouthed spluttermachine being heaved into the presidency — and seeing him wreaking his revenge on common decency without having received a clear mandate.

More should be made of this: Trump lost the popular vote, so his mandate is not unambiguous. He won the presidency legitimately, and therefore occupies his office and nominally exercises its authority legitimately — but his mandate is tainted by having been invested in him against the will of the people. So when he drains the swamp and fills it with sewerage, he is doing so without a clear mandate. The question, again and again and again, should be: “What mandate do you have to do what you do without a majority of the popular vote?” Trump has no answer to that; he knows his mandate is mandate is tainted. That’s why he lies about the supposed voter fraud. So say it loud and say it clear: “President Trump, on whose mandate are you acting?”

But this mix is not about Sphinctermouth. I’m posting it to coincide with the 49th anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The songs here were released in a range of within a year of MLK’s murder to eight years after.

As with the first mix, this is collection of soul songs that make an appeal for social justice, for racial equality and harmony, for black consciousness, or for political activism — some deal with one or two of these issues, some with all of them. There is no party-line, and the sentiments of some songs may clash with those of others. Together, they reflect a conversation in the black politics of the time, even if not comprehensively so — the Black Panthers don’t have an equal voice. These mixes are good companion pieces to the Songs About The Ghetto Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 mixes.

Some of the artists here are well-known for having articulated voices in that conversation — Gil Scott-Heron, Curtis Mayfield, Staple Singers, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye (featuring here with a performance from 1973’s Save The Children concert) — but one who is not widely-known is Bama The Village Poet. Seek out his songs — one, the astonishing I Got Soul, featured on the Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1.

As far as I know, his 1972 Ghettoes Of The Mind album on Chess was his only release. It featured Purdie on drums, Richard Tee on keyboards, Gordon Edwards on bass and Cornell Dupree on guitar. All I know of him is that he was born as George McCord in Birmingham, Alabama (hence, I suspect, the name Bama). Bama’s incisive poetry deals with issues that remain relevant today, but even if one doesn’t dig the black consciousness vibe, the music is magnificent.

I’m adding a bonus track, a funky and much-sampled groove from 1973 by The Honey Drippers who are calling to “Impeach The President”. I’d love to see Trump impeached and, if there is justice, jailed for whatever huckster stuff it is that will get him impeached. But as a pragmatist, I’m not so sure that it is such as good idea. Mike Pence is pretty bad news in his own right. Impeach them both — and clear out the Democratic Party of their lobbyist-beholden, strategy-bereft, courage-eschewing, compromise-making, backbone-lacking deadwood so that the sewerage that holds control of the White House, Senate and Congress can be flushed out.

Fight the Power!

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-fist-raised covers. PW in comments. And feel free to comment, even Trump supporters who provided us with some good laughs in the comments to the last mix.

1. Eddie Floyd – People, Get It Together (1969)
2. Segments Of Time – Song To The System (1972)
3. Marlena Shaw – Woman Of The Ghetto (1969)
4. The Staple Singers – This Old Town (People In This Town) (1971)
5. Brothers Unlimited – A Change Is Gonna Come (1970)
6. The Four Tops – Right On Brother (1974)
7. Funkadelic – If You Don’t Like The Effects, Don’t Produce The Cause (1972)
8. Candi Staton – Clean Up America (1974)
9. Lyn Collins – People Make The World A Better Place (1975)
10. Change Of Pace – People (1971)
11. The Dells – Freedom Means (1971)
12. Bama The Village Poet – Welfare Slave (1972)
13. Lim Taylor – The World’s In A Bad Situation (1974)
14. Johnny Taylor – I Am Somebody (1970)
15. Brother To Brother – Hey, What’s That You Say (1974)
16. Gil Scott-Heron – Whitey On The Moon (1974)
17. Stevie Wonder – You Haven’t Done Nothin’ (1974)
18. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (live) (1973)
19. Curtis Mayfield – Miss Black America (1970)
20. Sounds Of The City Experience – Babylon (1976)
Bonus Track: The Honey Drippers – Impeach The President (1973)

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Any Major Soul: 1960s
Any Major Soul: 1970s
Covered With Soul
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Any Major Soul 1975 Vol. 2

February 16th, 2017 3 comments

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Man, 1975 was a fine vintage for soul. Any Major Soul 1975 Vol. 1 was great; the second mix is no less wonderful. There are so many songs that failed to make the cut. And if you want more 1975 vibes, Any Major Soul 1974/75 is still up.

The mix begins with a time-capsule novelty: The Soul Train Gang preaching colour-blindness, with the late, great Don Cornelius, the presenter of Soul Train, rapping over the backing vocals of the quintet he founded. Flute fans will get something out of the outro.

Most acts on these mixes are North Americans, with the occasional Brit showing up — as Linda Lewis does in this edition with a song that is gospel-tinged soul but influenced, like all of Lewis’ music, by folk-rock. But here we also have a South African, Richard Jon Smith, who had a brief period of international success. As his fellow South African Jonathan Butler, Smith emerged from Cape Town’s vibrant “mixed-race” music scene where the boundaries between jazz, funk and soul are virtually meaningless — and it shows in their music.

By 1975, the heyday of JJ Barnes was over. He’d been an artist on Motown, though none of his songs were released by the label, and he enjoyed a 1967 hit with Baby Please Come Back Home. In the 1970s he moved to Britain, where his catalogue was popular on the Northern Soul scene. He released a few records in the UK, but had no chart success.

Founded in the wake of funk acts like Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang, Memphis band Chocolate Milk were also Allen Toussaint’s backing band. They were versatile, dabbling in funk, disco, soul, ballads and jazz.

In this mix, Clydene Jackson’s song recalls the southern soul of the late 1960s — perhaps not surprising, since she was produced by Ray Charles. Jackson didn’t record much for herself, but did (and still does) a lot of session work for acts like Rick James, Randy Crawford, Teddy Pendergrass, Tom Petty, Neil Diamond, Anita Baker, Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson, Gil Scott-Heron, Patti LaBelle, Michael McDonald, Hugh Masekela, Rod Stewart, Richard “Dimples” Fields, Tom Scott, Idris Muhammad, Neil Young, Muse  and lots others.

Leon Haywood’s seriously sexy I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You was famously sampled by Dr Dre for Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang — and by many other hip hop acts, such as Redman on Rockafella. A word of warning, the female backing vocalist’s contribution to the song, especially towards the end, might be NSFW. Haywood died in April 2016.

As ever, CD-R-length, covers, PW the same as always (amdwhah)

1.  Soul Train Gang – Spectrum
2.  Chocolate Milk – Ain’t Nothing But A Thing
3.  Leon Haywood – I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You
4.  Merry Clayton – Room 205
5.  Linda Lewis – Love, Love, Love
6.  Minnie Riperton – Feelin’ That Your Feelin’s Right
7.  Clydene Jackson – If You Were Mine
8.  Johnny Bristol – Leave My World
9.  J.J. Barnes – I Think I’ve Got A Good Chance
10. Richard Jon Smith – Live For You
11. Smoked Sugar – My Eyes Search A Lonely Room For You
12. Loleatta Holloway – I Know Where You’re Coming From
13. Melba Moore – Get Into My Mind
14. Barbara Acklin – Give Me Some Your Sweet Love
15. Carl Graves – You’re Gonna Be All Alone
16. Curtis Mayfield – So In Love
17. Freddie North – Cuss The Wind
18. Roberta Flack – Mr. Magic
19. Bill Withers – I Wish You Well
20. Vernon Garrett – I Learned My Lesson
21. Impressions – Groove

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Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 1

January 19th, 2017 24 comments

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It was difficult to come up with a name for this mix, and if “protest” implies the kind of angry, black voices that has many whites scared, then that is not quite an accurate reflection of the tone of the songs. Even if some songs are righteously angry and even militant, most are conciliatory, and a few even quite naive.

This is a mix of soul songs that appeal for a social justice, racial equality and harmony, for black consciousness, and for political activism — some deal with one or two of these issues, some with all of them.

It covers roughly the era after the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King and subsequent uprisings, to the decline of the civil rights movement towards the mid-to-late 1970s. So this mix not only addresses the racism and its effects of the time, but also the conversation within black activism between the heirs of MLK and the Black Panthers.

The timing of this post is not by chance. On January 20 — just four days after Martin Luther King Day — the most corrupt and racist US president of modern times will be sworn in. Donald Trump is, of course, a bigot of many badges: he is a xenophobe, a misogynist, a racist and so on. He despises the poor and serves the rich. He mocks the disabled and encourages the bullies. He was endorsed by the Ku Klax Klan and he did not distance himself from them. His impeachment cannot come soon enough, if the venal slimeballs in the GOP can muster enough self-interest to make real what should be inevitable.

Which brings us to 1968, when Richard Nixon was elected president. If we call Trump a racist, then on scale it is fair to describe Nixon in rather more diplomatic terms. Let’s say that Tricky Dick was not an unequivocal friend of African-Americans. There are a few echoes from 1968 in 2016. In both years, right-wing presidents were elected during times of war on the Asian continent; both were elected at a time when the hope for a better future by black Americans — raised by the Civil Rights Act and the election of a black president respectively — was followed by unrest which only the willfully ignorant or the terminally racist would see as unprovoked.

The songs on this mix speak to the Nixon era, but substitute the dated political and cultural references with current ones, and they have application even today. There were plenty more such songs than what will appear on subsequent mixes (to start with, I keep to my usual rule of one song per artist, with a couple of exceptions. I’m guessing there will be three mixes). Since the 1970s, the art of catchy black protest soul songs nearly died out. The corporatisation of music has seen to it. The militant hip hop of the 1980s was a necessary reaction to the jheri-curled soul singers of the age who kept it strictly romantic. But in the 1990s, hip hop became a vehicle for gangsta bling, spinning rims, bustin’ caps in yo ass and rampant misogyny of the kind even Donald Trump would blanche at, rather than to mobilise for social change. Pac died, and Snoop won.

Now Kanye West, that fraudster in charlatan’s clothes, requests an audience with the racist Trump. But we must take courage, there are some artists who do social commentary well — from Eykah Badu, The Fugees or The Roots in the Clinton/Bush era to Frank Ocean, Gregory Porter, Solange or her sister Beyoncé (who did so with Formation, which is no Gil Scott-Heron, though he might have approved anyway) in 2016/17. The protest soul song is making a comeback, in time to stand up to the racists who say racism is dead while revving up the racism. Now it must return to the mainstream, as it did 40+ years ago.

Maybe there is value in reviving the memory of protest and social commentary of the Nixon generation and give it meaning in the Trump era, when it is politically correct again to be racist because the racists have taken off their white hoods or “see no colour”. And if all of the above (other than my empirical views on Donald Trump and his racist pals) is rubbish, take this mix as my contribution to Black History Month.

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-blackpowered covers. PW  in comments.

1. The Temptations – Ball of Confusion (1970)
2. The Chi-Lites – Give More Power To The People (1970)
3. The Main Ingredient – Black Seeds Keep On Growing (1971)
4. Sly and the Family Stone – Stand! (1969)
5. The Impressions – Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey) (1969)
6. Grady Tate – Be Black (1968)
7. Syl Johnson – I’m Talkin’ ’Bout Freedom (1970)
8. Billy Paul – Am I Black Enough For You (1972)
9. Lou Rawls – The Politician (1972)
10. Z.Z. Hill – Think People (1971)
11. James Carr – Freedom Train (1969)
12. Lee Dorsey – Yes We Can (Part 1) (1970)
13. S.O.U.L. – Tell It Like It Is (1972)
14. Jackie Moore – If (1973)
15. Ernie Hines – A Better World (For Everyone) (1972)
16. George Soulé – Get Involved (1973)
17. The Bar Kays – Six O’Clock News Report (1971)
18. Darondo – Let My People Go (1974)
19. Marion Black – Listen Black Brother (1972)
20. Swamp Dogg – I Was Born Blue (1970)
21. The Isley Brothers – Fight The Power (Parts 1&2) (1975)
22. Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1971)

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Any Major Soul: 1970s
Covered With Soul
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Any Major Soul 1975 Vol. 1

August 25th, 2016 5 comments

Any Major Soul 1975 Vol. 1

The first Any Major Soul mix for 1975 — another excellent vintage — has that wonderful sunny feel of Philly soul, even if most of the songs aren’t from Philadelphia. But that is how pervasive the sound was in the mid-’70s.

Of course, a fair number of acts here are Philly Soul exponents, such as Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, The Intruders, Bunny Sigler. The Spinners were on Atlantic but had many of their records, including the present song, produced by Philly soul pioneer Thom Bell.

Sounding much like the O’Jays on the featured track are South Shore Commission, a Chicago band who had a dance hit that year with Free Man.

Defying our expectations, the Chicago Gangsters were actually from Ohio, recording in Cleveland. The song here is a very fine ballad, the title track of their debut album. The album also featured Gangster Boogie, which LL Cool J sampled for Mama Says Knock You Out.

Ronnie McNeir’s track Nothing But A Heartache has the joyful sound of Philly, but it’s very much a Detroit song: Alabama-born McNeir who arranged the album himself, recorded it at Holland, Dozier, Holland Studios in Detroit. On drums is Carl Graves, who’ll turn up in his own right on Volume 2.

Jimmy Ruffin’s track also has that Philly vibe, but that is thanks to Van McCoy producing the album for Motown. McCoy was, of course, the man who brought us the most Philly non-Philly song ever: The Hustle.

Also from Detroit was Sugar Billy, whose joyous Super Duper Love was covered almost three decades later by Joss Stone. There seems to be little known about Sugar Billy Garner.

I have introduced Jim Gilstrap before, but feel duty-bound to repeat: he’s the guy who sings the first verse of Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. The track here is from his debut LP, Swing Your Daddy.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes covers. PW in comments.

1. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Keep On Lovin’ You
2. Sugar Billy – Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin’ On Me)
3. Maxine Nightingale – If I Ever Lose This Heaven
4. James Gilstrap – House Of Stranger
5. The Intruders – A Nice Girl Like You
6. Bunny Sigler – Things Are Gonna Get Better
7. Black Ivory – Will We Ever Come Together
8. South Shore Commission – Train Called Freedom
9. Billy Paul – My Head’s On Straight
10. The Spinners – Honest I Do
11. Ronnie McNeir – Nothing But A Heartache
12. David Ruffin – I’ve Got Nothing But Time
13. Natalie Cole – Needing You
14. Jackie Moore – Make Me Feel Like A Woman
15. Bobby Womack – (If You Want My Love) Put Something Down On It
16. Joe Simon – It’s Crying Time In Memphis
17. Sam Dees – The Show Must Go On
18. Chicago Gangsters – Blind Over You
19. Gwen McCrae – He Keeps Something Groovy Goin’ On
20. Lea Roberts – Loving You Gets Better With Time
21. Maxine Weldon – I Want Sunday Back Again
22. Allen Toussaint – When The Party’s Over

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Prince is your DJ

April 28th, 2016 8 comments

Prince is your DJ

Dig, if you will, a party… with Prince as the DJ.  This playlist was compiled by Prince himself — and seeing as I had most of the songs on it already, I put it together in one mix.

The background to this playlist is the TV sitcom New Girl. According to Steve Welch, an editor on the show, “[w]hen Prince was on New Girl the storyline was that our characters got to attend a party at his house. To that end, he sent us a playlist of songs he would actually play at his parties.”

It would have been a great party; Prince was channeling the 1970s, the period of his formative influences — and in some tracks one can hear the influences on his music. There’s some serious funkin’ going on, but that sequence of slow jams…ooh, babymaking music!

Prince DJ playlist

One must assume that Prince was adept at turning records over at one hell of a speed: the two Spinners songs on his list are from the same album, but are on different sides. Unless Prince was working from MP3s, the side-flipping would have required some dexterity.

The playlist exists also somewhere on Spotify, a service I’ve never used.

Because Prince’s party goes on longer than a standard 80 minutes — he’s giving us 97 minutes of joy — the mix won’t fit on as standard CD-R (and therefore no home-grooved covers). PW in comments.

If you didn’t come to party, don’t bother knockin’ on my door.

1. The Staple Singers – City In The Sky (1974)
2. Allen Toussaint – Country John (1975)
3. Ohio Players – Fire (1974)
4. Shuggie Otis – Happy House (1974)
5. Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground (1973)
6. Chaka Khan – I Was Made To Love Him (1978)
7. The Isley Brothers – Listen To The Music (1973)
8. Eugene McDaniels – The Lord Is Back (1971)
9. Sister Sledge – Lost In Music (1979)
10. Bootsy Collins – The Pinocchio Theory (1977)
11. Bootsy Collins – Rubber Duckie (1977)
12. Parliament – Rumpofsteelskin (1978)
13. Ohio Players – Skin Tight (1974)
14. The Soul Children – We’re Gettin’ Too Close (1974)
15. Curtis Mayfield – Wild And Free (1970)
16. Earth, Wind & Fire – After The Love Has Gone (1979)
17. Allen Toussaint – Back In Baby’s Arms (1975)
18. The Isley Brothers – Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight (1973)
19. The Soul Children – Don’t Take My Sunshine (1972)
20. The Spinners – How Could I Let You Get Away (1973)
21. The Spinners – I’ll Be Around (1973)
22. The Jacksons – Push Me Away (1978)
23. Shirley Brown – Stay With Me Baby (1974)
24. Aretha Franklin – The Thrill Is Gone (From Yesterday’s Kiss) (1970)

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Any Major Soul 1974 – Vol. 2

April 21st, 2016 5 comments

ams1974-2

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

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Saved! Vol. 7 – Soul edition

March 24th, 2016 10 comments

Saved Vol 7

Some years ago I presented a militantly atheist friend with a collection of gospel songs. I thought I was being mischievous, for my friend regarded people with religion as mentally disturbed and their intellect unworthy of his respect. Blaise Pascal? An idiot! Martin Luther King? A fool!

To my surprise, he loved the gospel music. In fact, he said, he prefers listening to singers deliver their lyrics, even if these are misguided, with the authenticity of their convictions. It adds to the listening experience to hear singers express the words they wholeheartedly believe, he said.

My atheist friend would like this seventh part in the Saved! series — which by dint of its subject matter seems to be the least popular of my series of mixes — in which soul singers sing about their faith. As a companion piece to Saved! Volume 2 – The Soul Edition, it is indeed a great listen. Just check out the slow-burning funk of the Bohannon track!

With George Martin’s death this month, the old debate of who the “Fifth Beatle” was resurfaced. There is a really obvious answer: it is Billy Preston, the only non-Beatle ever credited as having played on Beatles records. Preston was a good friend of George Harrison, whose My Sweet Lord he was the first to record. Harrison also produced and played on Preston’s 1969 LP, That’s The Way God Planned It. The title track features here, with Eric Clapton and Harrison doing guitar duties, Ginger Baker on drums, and Keith Richard on bass. Preston obviously does his own organ work. What a supergroup!

Kay Robinson is not famous, though she had a great vocal range and a belting voice. Her 1970 album We Need Time, from where we get This Old World, was produced by James Brown. Also benefitting from a great producer were The Emotions, who Blessed (like many of their sings) was co-written by the late Maurice White, who also features on the opening track by Earth, Wind & Fire.

And if you think all this is getting a bit to pious, look at the title of Marlena Shaw’s track that closes this collection: Who Is This Bitch, Anyway?.

So, for those who believe Happy Easter, and for those who don’t, Happy Feast of the Easter Bunny.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes miraculous covers. PW in comments.

1.  Earth, Wind & Fire – Open Our Eyes (1974)
2.  The Glass House – Heaven Is There To Guide Us (1971)
3.  The Rance Allen Group – God Is Where It’s At (1972)
4.  Bohannon – Save Their Souls (1973)
5.  Billy Preston – That’s The Way God Planned It (1969)
6.  Dorothy Morrison – All God’s Children Got Soul (1970)
7.  The Chambers Brothers – Travel On My Way (1970)
8.  Mitty Collier – I Had A Talk With God Last Night (1972)
9.  Al Green – Glory Glory (1977)
10. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – Come Ye Disconsolate (1972)
11. The O’Jays – Prayer (1976)
12. The Emotions – Blessed (1977)
13. The New Birth – We Are All God’s Children (1976)
14. Stevie Wonder – Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away (1974)
15. Kay Robinson – This Old World (1970)
16. Leon Ware – The Spirit Never Dies (1972)
17. Al Jarreau – Could You Believe? (1977)
18. Marlena Shaw – The Lord Giveth and The Lord Taketh Away (1974)

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Previous SAVED! mixes
Saved! Vol. 1 (Elvis Presley, Carter Family, LaVern Baker, Marvin Gaye and more…)
Saved! Vol. 2: Soul edition (Curtis Mayfield, The Supremes, The Trammps,  Jerry Butler and more…)
Saved! Vol. 3 (Prefab Sprout,  Wilco, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Lyle Lovett and more…)
Saved! Vol. 4 (Sam Cooke, Dixie Hummingbirds, Dinah Washington, Brother Joe May,  Jerry Lee Lewis and more…)
Saved! Vol. 5 (Donny Hathaway, Holmes Brothers,  Steve Earle, The Bar-Kays and more…)
Saved! Vol. 6: Angels edition (Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, Rilo Kiley, Kris Kristofferson and more…)

Categories: 70s Soul, God Grooves Tags:

Any Major Soul 1974 – Vol. 1

September 24th, 2015 7 comments

ams1974-1

If 1972 and ’73 were the zenith years of soul music, then 1974 was not that far behind in quality. This collection has some marvellous songs, as will the second volume. I think only two songs here are well-known, those by Ann Peebles (covered in the 1980s by Paul Young) and Betty Wright’s anthem to virginity-losing Tonight Is The Night, which now is better known in its glorious live version.

It always is a bit of a gamble starting off a mix with a track by an obscure group; here it is justified with Executive Suite’s delicious slice of Philly Soul. There’s not much to tell about this band which never made a breakthrough after having a bit of a disco hit with the featured track, When the Fuel Runs Out, written and produced by Philly Soul notables Norman Harris, Alan Felder and Bunny Sigler. Their lack of success is a pity; the self-titled LP was pretty great. In the early 1970s the group, then still called The Millionaires, had occasional vocal contributions from a young white singer by the name of Darryl Hall, who actually suggested the name-change to Executive Suite.

If the song Goodbye Nothing To Say by The Javells featuring Nosmo King sounds familiar, it is because Maxine Nightingale’s big 1976 hit Right Back To Where We Started From “sampled” heavily from it. Arguably it shouldn’t be on a soul mix: it appeared on the b-side of an English pop record titled Teenage Love by Nosmo King (the name is a wordplay), a pseudonym for one Stephen Jameson, who now plies his trade as a comedian. Apparently Jameson introduced his song to DJs on England’s Northern Soul circuit, which picked it up. So it does belong here.

New York band The Ace Spectrum released only three albums, of which 1974’s Inner Spectrum was the first. It was produced by songwriter, arranger and producer Patrick Adams whom you may know for his co-composition When You Wake Up Tomorrow for Candi Staton or Cathy Dennis’ 1991 hit Touch Me (All Night Long).

If you have not heard her before, you may well find Bettye Crutcher to be one of the discoveries of this set. Her Long As You Love Me album, released on Stax (for whom she was a staff composer), might have felt two years behind the times in 1974, when much of soul was breathed on by the upbeat vibes of disco. That might explain its lack of success, but, my, what an album it is!

Crutcher co-produced and co-wrote most of the songs with Mack Rice (him of Mustang Sally fame). It was her only album, and received barely any promotion from Stax. When Stax collapsed, Crutcher moved to England and became an antiques dealer. Her songwriting credits, alone or with others, include tracks such as Johnny Taylor’s much-covered Who’s Making Love and Somebody’s Been Sleeping In My Bed , Barbara Mason’s From His Woman To You, William Bell’s My Whole World Is Falling Down, and Betty Wright’s (and later Ted Taylor’s) I’m Gonna Hate Myself In the Morning.

As ever, CD-R timed, covers, PW in comments.

1. Executive Suite – When The Fuel Runs Out
2. The Joneses – Hey Babe (Is The Gettin’ Still Good) Pt 1
3. Ace Spectrum – Don’t Send Nobody Else
4. The Javells feat. Nosmo King – Goodbye Nothing To Say
5. Major Harris – Two Wrongs
6. Betty Wright – Tonight Is the Night
7. Ann Peebles – I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down
8. The Soul Children – It’s Out Of My Hands
9. Lamont Dozier – Rose
10. Johnny Bristol – Reachin’ Out For Your Love
11. Grady Tate – I Wouldn’t Have You Any Other Way
12. Bettye Crutcher – Up For A Let Down
13. Lim Taylor – Isn’t It Wonderful
14. William DeVaughn – You Can Do It
15. Margie Joseph – Sweet Surrender
16. Gloria Scott – What Am I Gonna Do
17. The Manhattans – Don’t Take Your Love From Me
18. Blue Magic – Stop To Start
19. Gene Redding – I Can See The Lovelight
20. Candi Staton – Here I Am Again
21. Sidney Joe Qualls – Run To Me
22. The Four Tops – Right On Brother
23. Brother To Brother – Hey, What’s That You?

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Any Major Soul 1973 – Vol. 2

April 16th, 2015 5 comments

Any Major Soul 1973_2

What a great reception the first volume of Any Major Soul 1973 received! Such nice comments. Be assured that your comments — here and on Facebook (become my friend) — keep this blogging gig going.

I think I’ve mentioned most of the artists featured here before, and I’ve got other deadlines to take care off, so here’s part 2 of the 1973 soul mix, which I think might be even better than the first. Plus, there are two bonus tracks I could not squeeze into the CD-R timed playlist. Enjoy! (PW in comments)

1. Joe Simon – Power Of Love
2. Lamont Dozier – Breaking Out All Over
3. Al Wilson – For Cryin’ Out Loud
4. The Intruders – To Be Happy Is The Real Thing
5. The Dells – My Pretending Days Are Over
6. The Ebonys – You’re The Reason Why
7. Tommie Young – You Came Just In Time
8. William Bell – Gettin’ What You Want (Losin’ What You Got)
9. Bobby Powell – I’m Going To Try You One More Try
10. The Sweet Inspirations – Sweet Inspiration
11. 8th Day – I Gotta Get Home (Can’t Let My Baby Get Lonely)
12. First Choice – Newsy Neighbors
13. Kim Tolliver – Learn To Get Along Without You
14. Jackie Moore – Willpower
15. Claudia Lennear – Goin’ Down
16. Gloria Jones – Tin Can People
17. The Temptations – Law Of The Land
18. The Dynamics – She’s For Real (Bless You)
19. The Main Ingredient – I Am Yours
20. Willie Hutch – I Just Wanted To Make Her Happy
21. The Majestic Arrows – Another Day
22. Marlena Shaw – Waterfall
23. Gladys Knight & The Pips – It’s Gotta Be That Way

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