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Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 2

August 15th, 2013 13 comments

Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 2

Here is the second installment of Any Major Soul 1969, which might actually be even better than the first. Those three opening tracks alone…my, what a year for soul that was!

We previously met The Flirtations on the Christmas Soul Vol. 1 mix with their gorgeous version of “Christmas Time Is Here Again”. “Nothing But A Heartache” (which was actually first released in December 1968) was their big hit, reaching #34 on the US Billboard charts and #51 in the UK. It was revived in Britain in 2007 as part of an advertising campaign for the colonel’s fatty fried battery chicken which will give you nothing but a heart attack. The Flirtations continued releasing records into the 1980s, when they briefly became a Hi-NRG act — you might remember their 1983 song “Earthquake”.

Tina Britt released only one album, titled Blue All The Way. It’s an eclectic mix by a singer who could do the Motown thing as well as the Marlena Shaw thing. She had only one minor hit, a R&B Top 20 song titled “the Real Thing”, composed by Ashford and Simpson.

The best song title on this mix must be “Hip Old Lady On A Honda” by Rhetta Hughes, who has featured a few times (twice on Covered With Soul, the “Light My Fire” song swarm, the Amy Winehouse-inspired mix). Hughes was still a teenager when “Hip Old Lady” came out, having recorded for four years before that. The Chicago singer also has had a career as a part-time actress.

Janice Tyrone’s song here, “I’m Gonna Make It”, apparently features Aretha Franklin. Like Rhetta Hughes, Tyrone had begun as a teenage singer, going by the moniker Little Janice. By the time she was too old to be little, she released the excellent “I’m Gonna Make It”. Alas, it was her final record.

The closing track, by The Ambassadors, is another one of those productions which presaged the rise of Philly Soul, here its funkier side.  The band never had commercial success, but the musicians who played on their 1969 LP, Soul Summit, went on to be big session names in Philadelphia, from the late, great Vince Montana to saxophonist Sam Reed, trombonist Fred Joiner and drummer Earl Young.

I’m not sure whether this series has run its course; the feedback to the last couple of mixes, if measure by the volume of comments, has been unenthusiastic. I have much more soul music to share, but whether to continue I shall leave up to you.

As always the mix is timed to fit on as standard CD-R, and includes covers.

1. Sly and the Family Stone – Stand!
2. The Impressions – Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey)
3. The Flirtations – Nothing But A Heartache
4. The Mad Lads – Make Room (In Your Heart)
5. Sweet Inspirations – Watch The One Who Brings You The News
6. Aretha Franklin – River’s Invitation
7. Tina Britt – Who Was That
8. Clarence Carter – You’ve Been A Long Time Comin’
9. The Chambers Brothers – Girls, We Love You
10. Friends Of Distinction – I’ve Never Found A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)
11. Barbara McNair – The Hunter Gets Captured
12. Ila Vann – Keep On Laughing Baby
13. Tony Clark – Ain’t Love Good, Ain’t Love Proud
14. Rhetta Hughes – Hip Old Lady On A Honda
15. Janice Tyrone – I’m Gonna Make It
16. Solomon Burke – What Am I Living For
17. O.V. Wright – This Hurt Is Real
18. Isaac Hayes – One Woman
19. Linda Carr – In My Life
20. Cookie V – You Got The Wrong Girl
21. Dee Dee Warwick – That’s Not Love
22. Carolyn Franklin – There I Go
23. Sonny Charles & The Checkmates – Black Pearl
24. Stevie Wonder – Angie Girl
25. The Five Stairsteps – We Must Be in Love
26. The Exciters – Fight That Feelin’
27. The Ambassadors – Music (Makes You Wanna Dance)

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Postscript: Turns out that Track 14, Rhetta Hughes’ “Hip Old Lady On A Honda” is missing from the zipped file. You can get it HERE to add to the mix.

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Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 1

July 11th, 2013 3 comments

Could it be that 1969 was the absolute zenith of soul music? It certainly stands as a symbolic year for the transition from the rawer sound of the 1960s to the smoother tunes of the 1970s. So I ended up with such a long shortlist of indispensable tracks that I still had a surplus after making two mixes. Upshot: the year 1969 will run over two volumes.

Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 1

Listen to the brief orchestral backing strings on the opening track, Edwin Starr’s “Soul City”, which in 1969 anticipated the sound of disco amid the funky Motown sound of the time. The track featured on Starr’s epic 25 Miles LP, which was so good, “Soul City” and other deserving tracks were not released on single.

The Winstons are said to have released the most-sampled track in music history, more specifically a drum break on their instrumental funk version of the “Amen” song from the film Lillies Of The Field, which they called “Amen Brother” (get it on the Saved Vol. 1 mix). Featured here is the Grammy-winning a-side, “Color Him Father”.

I’ve featured Erma Franklin on several occasions, but never really introduced her. She was Aretha Franklin’s elder sister. Erma, Aretha and the other recording sister, Carolyn (who has also featured here before and will appear on Any Major Soul 1969 – Vol. 2), performed at their father Cleveland Franklin’s church; when Aretha became a recording artist, Erma became her backing singer. In that role she was part of one of the greatest backing vocal performance ever, on “Respect”. Her solo career never took off, even though she provided the original of the Janis Joplin signature song “Piece Of My Heart”. She left the recording business in the mid-1970s, and died in 2002 of throat cancer, at the age of 64.

We started the mix with a song that hinted at the sound of disco; we end with a group that would become a byword for disco: Kool & the Gang. “Chocolate Buttermilk”, a funk instrumental, appeared on the band’s eponymous debut album on De-Lite Records.

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a CD-R and covers are included. PW in comments.

1. Edwin Starr – Soul City (Open Your Arms To Me)
2. David Ruffin – Pieces Of A Man
3. Isley Brothers – I Know Who You Been Socking It
4. The Winstons – Color Him Father
5. Marlena Shaw – I’m Satisfied
6. Jimmy Hughes – I’m Not Ashamed To Beg Or Plead
7. The Dynamics – Ain’t No Love At All
8. The Originals – Baby, I’m For Real
9. The Temptations – Why Did She Have To Leave Me (Why Did She Have to Go)
10. Gladys Knight & The Pips – The Nitty Gritty
11. Darrell Banks – Never Alone
12. Garland Green – Jealous Kind Of Fella
13. Tyrone Davis – Can I Change My Mind
14. Bobby Womack – Baby! You Oughta Think It Over
15. Laura Lee – Separation Line
16. Doris Duke – Divorce Decree
17. Joe Tex – That’s The Way
18. Peggy Scott & Jojo Benson – Lovers Holiday
19. Mavis Staples – Sweet Things You Do
20. Erma Franklin – You’ve Been Cancelled
21. Hank Ballard – Teardrops On Your Letter
22. Lorraine Ellison – Try
23. Jr. Walker and the All Stars – What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)
24. Ann Peebles – Solid Foundation
25. Baby Washington – Think About The Good Times
26. O.C. Smith – Clean Up Your Own Back Yard
27. Betty Harris – Break In The Road
28. Kool & the Gang – Chocolate Buttermilk

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Any Major Soul 1968

April 18th, 2013 8 comments

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.

Any Major Soul 68

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.

 

Hines_Hines_Dad

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.

TRACKLISTING
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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Any Major Soul 1967

January 10th, 2013 6 comments

And in our series of soul through the 1960s we arrive in 1967, when Southern Soul was still going strong (and King Curtis provides the recipe) and Motown was about to hit its highest heights.


Many artists here are well-known: Four Tops, Carla Thomas, Wilson Pickett (represented with the original of I’m In Love, written by Bobby Womack and recorded to great effect by Aretha Franklin in 1974), Gladys Knight & the Pips, Joe Tex (whose Show Me was release in 1966 but became a hit in 1967), Aretha Franklin, Dee Dee Warwick, Isley Brothers, Lee Dorsey etc.

Others are more or less forgotten or always were pretty obscure. So I know very little about Appolas, other than they recorded some great music. Ila Vann should have been a big star; she worked with the likes of Sam Cooke and Louis Armstrong and recorded a string of fine singles, but success eluded her. Still, Ila is stil performing today.

J.J. Jackson was a songwriter and arranger for Brother Jack McDuff, Jimmy Witherspoon, The Shangri-Las and The Pretty Things. Now 70, he seems to still perform. The Soul Brothers Six actually were five brothers, named Armstrong. The sixth member of the moniker was not a brother, but singer John Ellison, who wrote their Some Kind Of Wonderful (not to be confused with the Drifters song written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin).

Barbara Lynn is not only a singer and songwriter, but also a guitarist. She toyred with some of the brightest names in soul and pop, including Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, James Brown, Al Green and Marvin Gaye.

Jeanne & The Darlings were an Arkansas gospel outfit that recorded as backing singers on Stax. Led by Jeanne Dolphus, they released six singles on Volt (whose label design is one of my favourites), of which their answer to Sam & Dave, written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, was the second. Alas, none of the singles were hits, but Jeanne ha remained in the music business, and has passed the torch on to her daughters.

This mix features a song by Chuck Jackson, who in 1962 recorded the original version of Bacharach/David’s Any Day Now, covered on this mix by Carla Thomas.

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

TRACKLISTING
1. King Curtis & The Kingpins – Memphis Soul Stew
2. Joe Tex – Show Me
3. Bunny Sigler – Let The Good Times Roll
4. Appolas – Seven Days
5. Aretha Franklin – Save Me
6. Wilson Pickett – I’m In Love
7. The Isley Brothers – That’s The Way Love Is
8. Chuck Jackson – Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
9. Lee Dorsey & Betty Harris – Love Lots Of Lovin’
10. Laura Lee – Dirty Man
11. Carla Thomas – Any Day Now
12. Freddie Scott – Where Were You
13. Barbara Lynn – You’ll Lose A Good Thing
14. Mable John – I’m A Big Girl Now
15. Ila Vann – Got To Get To Jim Johnson
16. Jeanne & The Darlings – Soul Girl
17. Brenton Wood – Baby You Got It
18. Gladys Knight & The Pips – You Don’t Love Me No More
19. Dee Dee Warwick – Do It With All Your Heart
20. Tammi Terrell – I Can’t Believe You Love Me
21. Brenda Holloway – Just Look What You’ve Done
22. Linda Carr – Everytime
23. Fantastic Four – I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love
24. Jay & the Techniques – Stronger Than Dirt
25. J.J. Jackson – Sho’ Nuff (Got A Good Thing Going)
26. Soul Brothers Six – Some Kind Of Wonderful
27. Lou Courtney – The Man Is Lonely
28. Four Tops – I’ll Turn To Stone
29. Little Anthony and the Imperials – My Love Is A Rainbow

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Any Major Soul 1966

November 29th, 2012 8 comments

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.

TRACKLISTING
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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Any Major Soul 1965

October 25th, 2012 10 comments

Here is a mix of soul from 1965, though some tracks were released only in 1966. As before, there’s a mix of the well known and the forgotten and relatively obscure.

Cannibal and the Headhunters were the first Mexican-American R&B act to make a wider impression with their hit cover of Chris Kenner’s Land Of A Thousand Dances, to which lead singer Frankie “Cannibal” Garcia added the famous “na, na na na na” line when he forgot the lyrics. The group supported The Beatles during their second US tour.

Another caucasian singer in this lot is Roy Head, who was actually a rockabilly singer. But just as soul singers could do country – think Brook Benton, Joe Tex, Arthur Alexander, even Solomon Burke — so could some country singers do soul, as Charlie Rich proved in the 1960s. Roy Head’s Treat Her Right was a proper soul song; it was kept of the Billboard #1 spot by The Beatles’ Yesterday.

Hollywood-born and Detroit-based Kris Peterson might be best known to Frank Zappa fans for her involvement in the Waka Ja Waka album of 1972. For contractual reasons she was prevented from joining Holand-Dozier-Holland’s Invictus label, which is a pity, because her Just As Much shows an affinity with the Motown sound.

The Astors recorded on Stax, but don’t really sound like it. They recorded only five singles for the label between 1961 and 1967. Candy, co-written by Steve Cropper and Isaac Hayes, was their biggest hit, reaching #12 in the R&B charts.

Betty Harris featured on Any Major Soul 1960-63. By 1965 she recorded on the New Orleans Sansu label, where she was produced by Allen Toussaint. She recorded a lot, and her output is loved by soul fans, though that has not translated to great fame.

Marlina Mars (also known as Marlene Mack) was a member of a few New York-based girl-groups, including The Jaynetts, who had a #2 hit in 1963 with Sally Go ‘Round the Roses. At one point she performed as Peaches in live shows of Peaches & Herb. She released a few solo singles in the mid-‘60s on several labels, without much success.

Rozetta Johnson, who died last year at the age of 68, started out as a gospel singer, tried her hand at secular music, became disillusioned and returned to gospel and jazz. She was later inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

The Charts, a Harlem band, are said to be the only band to be booed off the stage at the Apollo’s amateur night and still go on to have some success. The gang members-turned-doo wop singers were freestyling vocally in ways the crowd did not appreciate that night in 1956, but a talent scout saw something in them and became their manager. They had a hit in the New York area with Everlast, which over the years sold more than a million copies.  Another of their songs, Deserie, was later covered by Laura Nyro as Desirée. A year after Everlast, in 1958, The Charts disbanded for the first time. A reformed version recorded several singles in the 1960s and beyond, but never bothered the hit parade again before disbanding again. In the 1970s they reformed as The Twelfth Of Never and in the ’80s as The Charts again.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes homebrewed covers. Password in the comment section.

TRACKLISTING
1. The Impressions – Woman’s Got Soul
2. The Astors – Candy
3. Willie Tee – Teasin’ You
4. Don Covay – Mercy Mercy
5. Ben E. King – Cry No More
6. Lee Dorsey – Get Out Of My Life, Woman
7. Roy Head – Treat Her Right
8. Cannibal and the Headhunters – Land Of 1000 Dances
9. Joe Tex – Sweet Woman Like You
10. Sam & Dave – You Don’t Know Like I Know
11. Betty Harris – What A Sad Feeling
12. Barbara Mason – Yes I’m Ready
13. Mary Wells – Me And My Baby
14. Marlina Mars – Head And Shoulders
15. Jack Montgomery – Dearly Beloved
16. Dee Dee Sharp – There Ain’t Nothing That I Wouldn’t Do
17. The Contours – First I Look At The Purse
18. The Marvelettes – Don’t Mess With Bill
19. The Gems – He Makes Me Feel So Good
20. Brenda Holloway – I’ve Been Good To You
21. Dee Dee Warwick – We’re Doing Fine
22. Kris Peterson – Just As Much
23. Gerri Thomas – Look What I Got
24. The Sharpees – Tired Of Being Lonely
25. The Charts – Livin’ The Night Life
26. Kim Weston – Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)
27. The Supremes – My World is Empty Without You
28. Rozetta Johnson – That Hurts
29. Billy Prophet – What Can I Do
30. Baby Huey & the Babysitters – Monkey Man

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Any Major Soul 1964

September 13th, 2012 8 comments

In the past I spread my soul selections over two years, or in the last instalment over four. Frankly, by that method, there is too much great stuff that must be left off. So from here on in we’ll run through the 1960s year-by-year.

Many acts here are well-known, though not all were famous at the time the featured song was released. The Supremes’ Run Run Run, in which Holland-Dozier-Holland tried to go for the Phil Spector sound, tanked at #93 when it was released in February 1964. Their next single, Where Did Our Love Go, went to #1, as did the following four.

Lou Johnson’s song would become famous in versions by other singers, especially Britain’s Sandie Shaw; Lou’s was the original (and here a special shout-out to the late Hal David seems appropriate). Meanwhile Hal and Burt’s muse, Dionne Warwick, chips in here with a song that conforms more to the girl-band sound that was already becoming passé. Though it was produced by Bacharach and David, Get Rid Of Him was written by Brill Building team Helen Miller and Howard Greenfield. It was only an album track and therefore not well-known. And lovely as it is, how could it compete with orther siongs from the LP, such as Walk On By, A House Is Not A Home, They Long To Be Close To You or Reach Out For Me?

Talking of girl bands, Earl-Jean used to be the singer of The Cookies, who featured twice in The Originals series, HERE and HERE, while Earl-Jean did the original of the Herman Hermits’ hit I’m Into Something Good. And talking of originals, the Bessie Banks’ song Go Now was later covered by the Moody Blues. Bessie’s version was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

The Radiants were a Chicago group which included Leonard Caston Jr, who not only wrote the Mitty Collier song that follows The Radiants’ wonderful Voice Your Choice, but also hits such as Eddie Kendricks’ Keep On Trucking and The Supremes’ Nathan Jones, and played the piano on Fontellas Bass Rescue Me. The Radiants were once produced by the legendary Billy Davis (who wrote Rescue Me). Davis also wrote the song that precedes that group’s song. Listen to the lead singer of The Gems, who recorded on Chess – it is a young Minnie Riperton.

Linda Carr would go on to become a popular singer in Britain in the 1970s as the frontwoman of Linda and the Funky Boys; featured here is the lovely b-side of her debut solo single Sweet Talk.

Anna King had the distinction of being the only one of James Brown’s backing singers to have an album produced by the self-proclaimed hardest-working man in show business, with his band doing backing duties. Titled Back To Soul, it was also her only one. Come On Home is credited to Ted Wright – one of Brown’s pseudonyms.

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

 TRACKLISTING:
1. Gene Chandler – A Song Called Soul
2. Little Milton – Who’s Cheatin’ Who
3. The Miracles – Baby Don’t You Go
4. The Gems – All Of It
5. The Radiants – Voice Your Choice
6. Mitty Collier – I Had A Talk With My Man Last Night
7. The Impressions – I’m So Proud
8. Lou Johnson – (There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me
9. Jerry Butler – I Stand Accused
10. Lavern Baker – Go Away
11. Irma Thomas – I Wish Someone Would Care
12. Anna King – Come On Home
13. Betty Everett – It Hurts To Be In Love
14. The Velvelettes – He Was Really Saying Somethin’
15. Dionne Warwick – Get Rid Of Him
16. Earl-Jean – Randy
17. Solomon Burke – Stupidity
18. Sam Cooke – Ain’t That Good News
19. Baby Washington – Your Fool
20. Linda Carr – Jackie, Bobby, Sonny, Billy
21. Brenda Holloway – Sad Song
22. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Giving Up
23. Stevie Wonder – Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)
24. The Marvelettes – Too Many Fish In The Sea
25. The Sapphires – Who Do You Love?
26. Bessie Banks – Go Now
27. Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
28. Arthur Alexander – Black Night
29. The Supremes – Run, Run, Run

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Any Major Soul 1960-63

August 23rd, 2012 10 comments

A while ago I compiled a series of mixes covering soul music from 1970 to 1989, all the links of which I’ve updated (till MF zapps them again). So it seems essential to also cover the 1960s – for many people the golden age of soul. We’ll start with 29 songs from 1960 to 1963. Some of them are classics, such as I’m Blue, It’s Raining, Ya Ya, Monkey Time or Fingertips (represented here in its full version). Others are lesser known, or album tracks or b-sides – but all, in my opinion, great songs.

Some of the names are well-known, and a few still at the beginning of great things, such as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Eddie Holland, who’d have much bigger success as a songwriter and producer at Motown, on which his Leaving Here appeared.

Others have been widely forgotten. Among them are The Sapphires, whose debut single Where Is Johnny Now is a firm favourite of mine. The Philadelphia group was among Gamble & Huff’s earliest protégés; the song features Leon Huff as well as Thom Bell on keyboards.

There is no name on this tracklist that sounds more ’60s than Doris Troy. Discovered in New York by James Brown (who doesn’t like his music to be featured on blogs, hence his absence), she had a couple of hits, including a Top 40 hit in the UK in 1964 which The Beatles liked so much that they later signed her to the Apple label.

The Butlers are so obscure that they are a trivia question on Northern Soul pub nights. The group’s claim to fame, and this song’s, is that the lead vocalist is Frankie Beverley, who would become a soul legend as the frontman of Maze.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes front and back covers.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Ray Charles – Sticks And Stones
2. LaVern Baker – Bumble Bee
3. Mable John – You Made A Fool Out Of Me
4. The Ikettes – I’m Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)
5. Arthur Alexander – A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues
6. The Mar-Keys – Last Night
7. Gladys Knight and The Pips – Letter Full of Tears
8. Little Milton – Saving My Love For You
9. Lee Dorsey – Ya Ya
10. Irma Thomas – It’s Raining
11. Bettye Lavette – My Man, He’s A Lovin’ Man
12. Ann Cole – Have Fun
13. Marvin Gaye – Get My Hands On Some Lovin’
14. Aretha Franklin – I’m Wandering
15. Solomon Burke – Go On Back To Him
16. Sam Cooke – Nothing Can Change This Love
17. Dee Dee Sharp – Village Of Love
18. The Marvelettes – Playboy
19. Joe Henderson – Snap Your Fingers
20. Betty Harris – It’s Dark Outside
21. Baby Washington – Who’s Gonna Take Care Of Me
22. Eddie Holland – Leaving Here
23. Doris Troy – But I Love Him
24. The Sapphires – Where Is Johnny Now
25. Stevie Wonder – Fingertips (live, full version)
26. Major Lance – Monkey Time
27. Barbara Lewis – Hello Stranger
28. Betty Everett – Gonna Be Ready
29. The Butlers – She Tried To Kiss Me

GET IT! (link updated)

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Any Major Soul 1988-89

August 27th, 2010 10 comments

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.

TRACKLISTING
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

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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

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Any Major Soul 1986-87

July 16th, 2010 No comments

As the mid-1980s turned into the late-’80s, the Quiet Storm sound, invented by Smokey Robinson and perfected by Luther Vandross, became the genre’s standard. When it was good, it really was good. People like Freddy Jackson, Anita Baker and Jeffrey Osborne were turning out some great music of that type (perhaps even the best); but when Michael Fucking Bolton started to muscle in on it, and Peabo Bryson sang MFB covers, Quiet Storm had to go (even if it had to be replaced by New Jack Swing and the soul-free wailers Boyz II Men). In any case, this mix represents much more than Quiet Storm material.

Southern Soul man Marvin Sease is in a rather restrained mood here. His surname rhymes with an adjective that would accurately describe the general gist of his lyrics (I certainly do endorse the title of his rather good 2001 album, A Woman Would Rather Be Licked). Here, however, he is not proposing the reciprocal performance of lewd acts, but old-fashioned marriage. Success took long to come to Sease: by the time he made his breakthrough as a solo artist in 1986, he already was 40.

One of my all-time favourite soul songs is on this mix, Tashan’s Ooh We Baby. Tashan (pronounced Tay-shon), who was signed on Def Jam, was received well critically, but never broke through commercially. It’s a pity; his 1986 album Chasing A Dream is one of the finest soul albums of the 1980s. The singer, born Thomas Jerome Pearse, is still performing, apparently releasing a new album this year.

Another unusually named singer here is Sherrick, who had a UK hit in 1987 with the excellent Just Call (which is on Any Major 80s Soul Vol 1) . The song featured here, Baby I’m Real, is a cover of the song by The Originals (I’ve always wanted to write that) and appeared on the same LP as Just Call. Sherrick evidently styled his look on DeBarge: dainty moustache and oiled hair just this side of the jheri curl. Like DeBarge, Sherrick (born Lamont Smith) had recorded on Motown, as the singer of the clumsily-named Kagny & the Dirty Rats; in fact, he was discovered by Berry Gordy’s wife Raynoma. His only solo LP, as far as I can ascertain, was released on Warner Brothers. Sadly, Sherrick died in 1999 at 41, just as he was beginning to record new songs.

It’s an injustice that English soul singer Paul Johnson did not have much success. His song When Love Comes Calling should be a soul classic. That and Half A World Away were produced by fellow UK soulster Junior Giscombe (Mama Used To Say). Johnson, who had a mean falsetto, had previously been a singer with the group Paradise. He later duetted with Mica Paris on her debut LP and released a second album in 1989. He has a Facegroup group, on which he writes: “My life is now somewhat removed from the music industry. I am head of a department in an inner city college where I work with young people and adults who despite very difficult circumstances are attempting to improve their lives through accessing education.”

I trust that nobody is going to confuse Shirley Jones with the mom of the Partridge Family. This Shirley Jones was one of the fabulous Jones Girls (who featured on Any Major Soul 1978-79 and 1980-81). I think that Shirley’s 1986 album, Always In The Mood, was her only solo effort. Do You Get Enough Love is the LP’s stand-out track, and topped the R&B charts. Apparently Jones took an extended break from recording after that to raise her son. She still performs on stage (find her on MySpace)

Shirley Jones’ MySpace page reveals that she has lately shared a stage with fellow Philly star Jean Carne (who added the ‘e’ to her name for reasons of numerology in the 1980s). Born in 1947 as Sarah Jean Perkins (Carne is her married name), she has had a long career, starting in the early 1970s — including a stint as female lead on Earth Wind & Fire’s first two albums — and reaching its zenith on Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International label (she featured on Any Major Soul 1978-79). Closer Than Close topped the R&B charts, but further commercial success eluded her. Carne is probably one of very few soul singers fluent in Russian.

Chicago-born Miki Howard launched her career with her Come Share My Love album, which included the hit Imagination. The daughter of gospel singers stepped out with the late Gerald Levert for a while, and played Billie Holiday in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X. She had some success until the mid-1990s, when she retired from recording and became a radio DJ in Atlanta instead. She came out of retirement in the early 2000s and now performs as a jazz singer.

Prince Phillip Mitchell is better known as a successful songwriter than as a singer. He started his career as a teenage member of The Premiers and The Checkmates in the late 1950s. Like Jean Carn, in the ’70s he sang on Norman Connors records. His solo LPs made little impact, and in 1979 he withdrew from recording, reappearing briefly in 1986 with the rather good Devastation LP. He seems like a great guy with a good story. Check out this 2001 interview.

TRACKLISTING
1. Maze featuring Frankie Beverley – Before I Let Go (live)
2. Alexander O’Neal & Cherelle – Never Knew Love Like This
3. Force M.D.’s – Love Is A House
4. Sherrick – Baby I’m For Real
5. Marvin Sease – Let’s Get Married Today
6. Jean Carne – Closer Than Close
7. Tashan – Ooh We Baby
8. Freddie Jackson – Have You Ever Loved Somebody
9. Shirley Jones – Do You Get Enough Love
10. Kashif & Meli’sa Morgan – Love Changes
11. Jeffrey Osborne – You Should Be Mine (Woo Woo Song)
12. Luther Vandross feat Gregory Hines – There’s Nothing Better Than Love
13. Miki Howard – Come Share My Love
14. Paul Johnson – Half A World Away
15. The Winans feat Anita Baker – Ain’t No Need To Worry (12″ version)
16. Prince Phillip Mitchell – I Taught Her Everything

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