The cycle of soul compilations covering the 1970s and ’80s is coming to an end with this mix, some 13 months after I posted the first (which drew a comment from Jerry Plunk, singer of the Flaming Ember). I have had feedback from a number of people who said they have collected the whole series. One reader told me that he burnt the compilations on CD, printed the covers and gave the set as a present to a soul-loving relative. It’s feedback like this that makes me not ditch this lonely blogging thing.
Of the lot here, I really like Keni Stevens, a British soulster of distinctive style and voice who never made it big. I previously posted my favourite song of his, 24-7-365 (download it here). Somehow he was not marketable because he was not sufficiently upbeat. Soul lost a fine artist, who released only three albums.
A cursory listen to Charlie Singleton’s track will doubtless cause the savvy listener to call to mind Cameo’s 1985 hit Single Life. Singleton was the guitarist of Cameo until the Single Life album. So all he’s doing is to rip off himself. I hear that lately he’s been performing with Cameo again.
Three songs featured here have a tangential link: Mica Paris and Paul Johnson (the latter featured also on Any Major Soul 1986-87) perform a song from Mica’s 1988 debut album. Another singer who duetted with Paris on the album was the greatly gifted Will Downing, featured here with a track from his eponymously titled debut album. And the gorgeous song here by Al Jarrreau from 1989 originally appeared on Mica Paris’ debut.
This mix features a slate of new artists, but also a few singers in the twilight of their careers. Shortly after releasing his Take It To The Streets album, on which the lovely Doo Be Down appeared, Curtis Mayfield suffered the accident that paralysed him. Johnnie Taylor had been a Stax headliner in the early 1970s and made the transition to disco. By the 1980s, he was on the fringes of soul music, though he made a brief comeback in 1996, four years before his death at 62.
New York-born Nicole McCloud never made it big, despite creating a minor soul classic with New York Eyes, her duet with Timmy Thomas (which featured on the New York City Mix Vol. 2). Her 1989 album Rock The House, a mostly poorly produced effort, was Nicole’s second. She released two more, in 1996 and 2002.
1. Womack & Womack – Teardrops
2. Johnnie Taylor – You Knocked My Heart Out Of Line
3. Al Jarreau – So Good
4. Curtis Mayfield – Do Be Down
5. Teddy Pendergrass – 2 A.M.
6. Chuckii Booker – Turned Away
7. BeBe & CeCe Winans – Lost Without You
8. Mica Paris & Paul Johnson – Words Into Action
9. Keni Stevens – Hurt This Way
10. Maze featuring Frankie Beverley – Can’t Get Over You
11. Charlie Singleton – Good Bad Ugly
12. Will Downing – That Good Morning Love
13. Anita Baker – Lead Me Into Love
14. Regina Belle – It Doesn’t Hurt Anymore
15. Brenda Russell – Piano In The Dark
16. Narada Michael Walden – I Belong
17. Nicole – So Lost Without Your Love
Any Major Soul 1970-71
Any Major Soul 1972-73
Any Major Soul 1974-75
Any Major Soul 1976-77
Any Major Soul 1978-79
Any Major Soul 1980-81
Any Major Soul 1982-83
Any Major Soul 1984-85
Any Major Soul 1986-87