Saturday, December 20, 2008

Joann Garrett: Foolish Me (Chess)

Another pearl from the Windy City. Written by Billy Butler and Andre Williams, it is the indemand track included in Joann's album "Just A Taste" that was issued in 1969 by the legendary Chess label. Superb vocals delivered by a great soulstress.

The Eliminators: Loving Explosion (Brc)

The title track of the only album made by the band, a high school group who re-united years later in a studio to cut this stunning funk & soul LP. An irresistible groove led by guitar and horns, with female backing vocals resulting in a perfect mixture.

Mike James Kirkland: Give It To Me (Bryan)

From his highly rated (and ultra rare) first album "Hang On In There", this 45 epitomises crossover soul. Mike James Kirkland was born in Yazoo City, MS, but eventually went to California where, with his brother, started Bryan Records to release his stuff.

Cecil Shaw: This I've Gotta See (Bil-Mar)

A super soulful number from a pretty well known artist, that started his career touring with Ray Charles and appeared on Soul Train in 1974. Bil-Mar was distributed by T.K. Records. Play it loud in your Sunday afternoon soul sessions.

Mahdi & Tracy Kerr: Who Are You (Indy 5)

George Kerr should not be a surprise for soul collectors being a famous producer, writer and singer (if you want to discover more, refer to the excellent article in issue 7 of There's That Beat! magazine). This duet is set at a slow pace but quality wise is really good. The flip is brilliant too.

Strutt: Funky Sign (Brunswick)

The Strutt were a group of 6 musicians and 2 male vocalists, all hailing from New Jersey. This is the only record they made and contains the classic crossover sound "Said You Didn't Love Him". The selected track is pretty exciting too, with its funkish guitar intro that set the rythm followed by the vibrant lead vocals of Dickie Harman. The band leader, guitarist Carmen Cosentino, was of Italian origin.

Freddie James: In Love For The First Time (Black Sun)

From the cold land of Canada a sweet soul masterpiece by a very young soul boy. The album was produced by Tony Green and recorded and mixed in 1981 between Philadelphia and Montreal. Freddie James was born in Chicago but moved to a small town North of Montreal with his family.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sly, Slick & Wicked: Ready For You (People)

A highly collectable double-sider, written by Jimmy Norman and produced by James Brown. The band formed in Cleveland, Ohio in early 1970. In 1973 they signed for People, a division of Polydor owned by the Godfather of Soul, and recorded this 45. The other side, "Sho' Nuff", reached a decent success.

Wendell Watts: You Girl (Ref-O-Ree)

A record reminiscent of Soul Inc. Pyramid, spun heavily by Dave Flynn at the Capitol Soul Club. The label is definitely Southern but the production is a Northern affair, with plenty of silky strings. Bob Holmes and Ted Jarrett at their best.

Harold Curington: One Day Girl (Tad)

Brilliant midtempo group harmony from the Windy City. This was raved by Brian Goucher in the glorious pages of Derek Pearson's Shades of Soul some years ago. A typical Yarmouth sound, dominated by drums and a light organ.

Our Ladies Of Soul: Let's Groove Together (Kelton)

Theresa Davis, that later joined the Emotions and recorded three albums with them on Stax, was a member of the group. The Single was quite popular in the Chicago area. As far as I know it is the only 45 by these ladies. Nice crossover soul.

Grover Mitchell: What Hurts (Vanguard)

Recorded in Philly at the end of his career, this magic slice of soul harmony was issued in 1976 by New York based Vanguard. It should be featured in the forthcoming Kent CD "Modern Soul Monsters Vol. 2" so demand will definitely increase.

Viola Wills: I've Got News For You (Supreme)

Viola Mae Wilkerson, a.k.a. Viola Wills, started her career in Los Angeles, where she was discovered by Barry White. This 45 was produced by James Gadson, her songwriter partner from the early days, and is a very urgent tune, with fine guitar and horns. A semi-known funky soul gem.

Mighty Pope: If You Want A Love Affair (Rca Victor)

Another Canadian soul gem, this time on the mighty Rca imprint. Somebody prefer it to Jesse James' version but in my humble opinion both are equally good. Earl Heedram, Mighty Pope's real name, was born in Jamaica.

Leon Debouse: Every Fellas Girl (Bold)

From an extremely rare album issued in 1977 by a TK distributed label, a very enjoyable song that was presented for the first time to the masses by Ralph Tee on Soul Togetherness 2000. And also the rest of the LP isn't bad at all!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bobby Taylor: Don't Be Afraid (Gordy)

Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers were a Canadian soul act. They signed for Berry Gordy in 1967 and the following year they issued their debut single. In 1968 Bobby Taylor went solo and published this excellent album that contains also the magic "Oh, I've Been Bless'd".

Gladys Knight & The Pips: It Takes A Whole Lotta Man For A Woman Like Me (Soul)

They need no introduction as we are dealing with the giants of our music. This family band had several hits from the very beginnig of their career. The album is well known for the monster "No One Could Love You More" but the outstanding track is the first on side two, a spine-tangling soulful number.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

TSU Toronados: Please Heart Don't Break (Rampart Street)

And now from Houston, Texas the TSU Toronados! The last single of this fabulous band was issued after they split in two separate groups following Ovide Records closure in 1971. A small quantity of the records were pressed up but soon, due to rights problems, the single was withdrawn from the market and the tracks were never published. For those who want to know more, there is a great CD by these lads on Funky Delicacies.

The Winstons: Ain't Nothing Like A Little Lovin' (Curtom)

Originally from Washington, D.C., the Winstons had one single only on Curtom. Both sides are equally good even if this is the one who got more spins in recent times. Late sixties soul at its best with that Impressions touch all the way through. Later the Winstons had a huge hit with the classic "Color Him Father" on Metromedia.

Penny: Now That I Found You (Kelton)

Written and produced by Detroit legend Don Mancha on a Chicago label, what a nice midtempo is this. Apparently Penny was a member of the girl group Our Ladies Of Soul who had a nice 45 on Kelton called "Let's Groove Together" (a future post?). Another one that should be played more!