Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baby Washington & Don Gardner: Carefree/We're Gonna Make It Big (Master Five)

Issued in 1973, the album is made of duets and tracks sung by each single artist. It was recorded between New York, Philly and Detroit so you know what to expect. Don Gardner's "We're Gonna Make It Big" is hard on 45 and was played at Blackpool Mecca.
we're gonna make it big

Freedom: Can't You See/Sunshine (Freedom)

Freedom had three albums on Malaco between 1979 and 1981. This is the self-produced debut single and it was recorded in Jackson, Mississipi, where the band was formed by lead guitarist Caleb Tyrone Armstrong, a student at Wingfield High School, and bass player Ray Smith, a student at Jackson State College.
can't you see

Tomorrow's Men: Who's That Lady/It's Real (Congress)

Sharing the same backing track with El Anthony's "We've Been In Love Too Long" on La Cindy, I prefer this later version for its better arrangement, made by a certain Donny Hathaway, and superior vocal harmonies. The flip is extremely good too.
who's that lady
it's real

The Vipers: Little Miss Sweetness (Duchess)

The lead vocalist of this side of the record is Al Goodman, best known for his career with The Moments (sadly he passed away in 2010). The song has a powerful start that captures listener's attention immediately and continues with a funkish rhythm. Very, very nice.
little miss sweetness

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Detroit Emeralds: Long Live The King/Holding On (Westbound)

"Do Me Right" is Detroit Emeralds' debut LP and it was issued in 1971. The group was a vocal trio consisting of two brothers (Abrim and Ivory Tilmon) and childhood friend James Mitchell. Willie Michell was involved in the project (the album was recorded between Memphis and Detroit).
long live the king
holding on

Billy Butler & Infinity: Whatever's Fair/Now You Know (Pride)

As written by Jerry Butler in the liner notes Billy Butler & Infinity are a group of people (Phylis Knox, Erroll Bats, Larry Wade, and Billy Butler) who have known each other most of their lives, who grew up in an area of Chicago known as Cabrini-Green, and who have shared one personal dream: to write and perform beautiful music (we must say they reached their goal!).
whatever's fair
now you know

The Summits: I'll Never Say No/Sleepwalking (DC International)

This is the rarest (and best) record the Summits had on the label. Recently a bunch of copies surfaced in the US. Great, great stuff!
I'll never say no

Cory Braverman: I Saw The Light/Beyond The Hurt (Phantom)

Largely unknown, Cory Braverman had an excellent album on this RCA's subsidiary label. Between the others, she worked with Ray Charles and the Band.
I saw the light
beyond the hurt

The Carltons: Keep On Hoping/I'm A Man (Argo)

The Carltons (members James Diggs, Larry Bell and Jerry Norris) were an offshoot of the Knight Brothers. This is the last of the three singles they had on Argo and it is produced by master Billy Davis.
keep on hoping
I'm a man

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gene Townsel: I'm Walking Away/There's No Use Hiding (Dobre)

Gene Townsel started his singing career in Florida. After finishing college he moved to California where, thanks to his technical musical skills, he did a lot of studio work with celebrated stars like Dusty Springfield, Lou Rawls, Ray Charles, Bobby Womack, Jimmy Holidays, and H.B. Barnum. In the early 70s he had enough material for a solo album that was recorded in 1975 at Ray Charles's Tangerine Studios. The record remained in the can for three years and was released by Dobre, a Californian Jazz label started by Ray Lawrence. Commercially it was a failure (only few copies were pressed). Gene produced the album himself and contracted all the musicians involved (between the others, Stevie Wonder's drummer Raymond Pounds and the great Clydene Jackson). Today he's still performing live and conducts singers workshops. For more info follow this link
I'm walking away
There's no use hiding

Brothers Unlimited: Got To Get Over/Take Me Back (Capitol)

As shown in the picture on the back cover of the album, Brothers Unlimited were a 14 piece group (8 musicians, 4 vocalists, the producer and one friend!) based in the deep South of the United States. Their sound was presented as "real fine, funky, hard-driving, up-tempo, contemporary, down-home, nitty-gritty solid soul from Muscle Shoals and Memphis". That's clear enough, right? Despite being on a major label like Capitol Records, original copies are hard to find.
Got to get over
Take me back

William Bostic: What You Do To Me/You Were All I Needed (Sor)

From Richmond, California a nice 80s production that got air plays at both modern soul and boogie clubs. Check out the super funky break before the modulation that will make the crowd go crazy. On the contrary the flip side is a fine ballad.
What you do to me
You were all I needed

Judy Storey: Sun Is Always Shining (Stage Productions)

Judy Storey was a commercial jingle vocalist performing on many national spots for radio and tv advertisers. She recorded this undervalued single, which features the work of famous Chicago producer and arranger Bobby Schiff, with her female trio "Sweetening".
Sun is always shining

Vic Marcel: You Still Got Me (Rca)

This is my favourite single Vic Marcel did for Rca. It was produced by Stroud Productions (Andy Stroud was Nina Simone's husband and recording agent during the 60s) and is a dreamy song with a very emotional crescendo.
You still got me

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thelma Houston: Nothing Left To Give (MoWest UK)

Recorded in 1972, Thelma Houston's second album was released in UK one year later. "Nothing Left To Give" is not present in the US version as it was added for the European market only. That's a true pity because it is a first division stepper and by far the best offer of the whole lot.
nothing left to give

The Chosen Few: Wandering/I'm So Daggone Mixed Up (Trojan)

These are not the same Chosen Few of our previous posts but were a reggae group from Kingston, Jamaica. The album is extremely good and was recorded in Miami by famous Jamaican producer King Sporty. The final result is an irresistible blend of funk, soul and reggae music, ideal for the summer time.
I'm so daggone mixed up

The Foundations: Change My Life (Psycho)

This great piece of midtempo magic is hidden on the B side of the last single of the popular British soul band. On lead vocal is original member Clem Curtis.
change my life

Masterpiece: Love Affair/We're Gonna Make It (Ypsi)

From the Motor City another quality double sider. The actual A side is a fine ballad while the flip is more dancefloor oriented. Even if the name of the group might sound a little bit pretentious, seen the brilliant result we can only clap our hands.
love affair
we're gonna make it

Rick Thompson: What Do I Have To Do/We All Make Mistakes Sometimes (Columbia)

Two fabulous sides from New York City. The single was recorded in 1969 by King Davis and reveals Rick Thompson's vocal talent. Intense and emotional music.
what do I have to do
we all make mistakes sometimes

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Specialties Of The House #1

1. Alfonzo Surrett - Gimmie Your Love (Mca)
2. Soirée - Close To You (Roadshow)
3. Keni Burke - Let Somebody Love You (Rca)
4. Free Life - Say You Do (Epic)
5. Betty Wright - I Like Your Loving (Epic)
6. Jerry Bell - Tell Me You'll Stay (Mca)
7. Future Flight - Dues (Capitol)
8. Bill Summers & Summer Heat - Love's All We Need (Prestige)
9. The Dells - Love On (Private I)
10. G.C. Cameron - Give Me Your Love (Malaco)
11. Greg Perry - I'll Always Be In Love With You (Rca)
12. The Blackbyrds - Love Don't Strike Twice (Fantasy)
13. Lovesmith - Shame On You (Motown)
14. David Oliver - Who Are You (Mercury)
15. Rockie Robbins - You And Me (A&M)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Silk: Call Me (Prelude)

Prelude is considered one of the big names for dance and disco music of the 70s and 80s. Its catalogue is huge, with plenty of LPs and 12" singles. Soul lovers can find something for theirs taste too as in the case of this album produced by David Porter and recorded at Malaco Studio in Jackson, Mississipi (unfortunately on 15th April of this year the company's studio and offices were destroyed by a tornado) and in Memphis.
call me

Yates Brothers & Sisters: Just Can't Fight The Feeling (Ariola)

This beautiful cover version of Clarence Coulter's masterpiece (and super rarity!) comes from the first album of the Yates family, that was recorded in Alabama and on the West Coast (Los Angeles and San Francisco, to be precise). Compared to the original the tempo is faster and arrangments are more exuberant. Well done!
just can't fight the feeling

Arthur Freeman: Played Out Play Girl (Excello)/Chuck Carter: I've Done You Wrong (Bedford)

These two forgotten 45s sound great if played together. Arthur Freeman has a good reputation for the Stafford's monster "You Got Me Up Tight" on Jumbo. "Played Out Play Girl" was originally issued on his first single and then re-arranged in 1971. It came out on Astor Arts and, one year later, on Excello. The song is a fine example of uptempo Southern Soul. The second of our soul men, Chuck Carter, recorded one single for Brunswick but the best track of the sessions, "He's A Lover", stayed in the vaults till Guy Hennigan made it big at Stafford. "I've Done You Wrong" is a competent version of Kip Anderson's classic and saw the light of day in the latter half of the 60s. To add more value, on the official A side you will find a great deep soul ballad. Blue and red labels, two tasty ingredients for a successful recipe. Enjoy your meal!
played out play girl
I've done you wrong

Donny Burks: I Was Satisfied/You Never Know What You Have (Until You Lose It) (Metromedia)

I first heard this record on Colin Dilnot's very informative blog and it was love at first sight. After purchasing the album "The Swinging Sound Of Soul" on Europa at last I succeeded in finding a copy on eBay for a very good price. Both sides are brilliant. "I Was Satisfied" starts off with a harmonica and then it builds up with a spine tingling crescendo while "You Never Know" is rhythmically more consistent and has a rather latin flavour.
I was satisfied
you never know what you have

Chosen Few: Lift This Hurt/You Been Unfair (Bandit)

This is the re-recording of Elvin Spencer's "Lift This Hurt", originally issued by Winner in 1970 and one year later by Twinight, thanks to Syl Johnson who convinced the label to purchase his contract. This version is faster and more danceable while the flip is a fine ballad. Needless to say Elvin was Chosen Few's bandleader. If you want to investigate further Bandit Records' treasures, Numerogroup has published a great compilation dedicated to Arrow Brown's label (
lift this hurt
you been unfair

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Exportations: Fell In Love Too Late (United Artists)

The Exportations were a five member group made up of three brothers (Arthur, Willie and Bernard, The Gibson Brothers), Anthony Pilgrim and Lucian Thomas.
The album was recorded in Detroit under the production of Clarence Rome and is a collection of solid harmonies (favourite tracks are "Strange Sensations", "Main Ingredient" and "You've Been A Long Time Coming").
Clarence Rome was also involved in the highly collectable single "I Want You" on Vir-Ro.
fell in love too late

O'Jays Meet The Moments: Be My Girl/Meeting You Was No Mistake (Stang)

Despite being a commercial failure, there is more than one good reason for searching this album, assembled by Stang with tracks by these two great vocal groups.
Some of the O'Jays sides were cut in Cleveland for Saru Records, and a couple were produced by George Kerr.
the o'jays - be my girl
the moments - meeting you was no mistake

Leno Phillips: Confusion (Dash)

The Miami sound of T.K. is synonymous of classy stuff, as testified by this brilliant midpacer. It is the third single issued by Dash, a T.K. subsidiary that started in 1971.
Leno Phillips actual name was Phillip Wright, Betty Wright's brother. He had two other 45s on Dash, one as Leno Phillips titled "I Like My Birdie" and the other as Phillip Wright. Both have been reissued by Jazzman Gerald.

Leon Thomas: Love Each Other (Flying Dutchman)

Leon Thomas was a soul jazz singer from East St. Louis, Illinois. He played with Pharoah Sanders and released several albums with the legendary Flying Dutchman Records.
This disc is from 1972 and is a great modern soul dancer with that special funky beat so in vogue these days.
love each other

Toe Jam: Freedom In Soul (Buffalo Soldier)

An obscure record from Arizona, that was issued in 1972 on a private label whose name came from the nickname of the famous US Army Afro-American regiment.
Not an immediate sound but after some plays you will be captured by its crystalline melody.
freedom in soul

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Luther: Don't Wanna Be A Fool/Follow My Love (Cotillion) - New York City Band: Got To Have Your Body (American Intl.)

The reason why Luther Vandross disclaimed his early efforts under the name of Luther is a true mistery. After the debut "Luther" in 1976, the year after "This Close To You" delighted all soul fans. The album is full of great songs, including the dance floor winners "Don't Wanna Be A Fool" and "Follow My Love". It's a shame that until now this material has never been reissued.
"Got To Have Your Body" is a superb example of Luther's later recordings. In this particular occasion he lent his magical voice for the soundtrack of an obscure movie titled "Sunnyside".
don't wanna be a fool
follow my love
got to have your body

Freddie Scott: Don't Let Me Fall/Girl I Love You (Probe)

Freddie Scott had a long recording career behind him when he did this album for Abc's Probe. The title track, a rendition of the Bob Dylan's classic, scored a R&B top 40 entry but my favourites are the fine ballad "Don't Let Me Fall" and "Girl I Love You", that was released also on 45. You can find Freddie Scott's complete story here
don't let me fall
girl I love you

Luther Davis Group: You Can Be A Star/To Be Free (Life Time)

This single was originally issued by Luther Davis' own label and has been very indemand between modern soul and deep funk collectors (do the names of Soul Sam and Keb Darge mean something for you?). A perfect example of indie soul (sometimes low budgets do miracles!).
you can be a star
to be free

Marvelle Hampton: I Truly Believe (In Love)/I Know How It Feel (Piggylo)

Blend funk and crossover soul, add a touch of jazz and country, and as a final result you will obtain this catchy double sider. Originally spun by Ian Wright, it is the kind of dish we go mad for. Both sides are written and produced by J. I. Henderson who in 1975 released an entire album on Piggylo titled "Give A Helping Hand". The label was based in Washington, DC.
I truly believe (in love)
I know how it feel

Roy Smith: Don't Go Away (Cutlass)

This is the 70s version of a song originally issued on Chantain, a subsidiary of Delphi (Roy Smith was the main figure behind the label). He was a very busy man and in the 60s he produced, arranged and played keyboards with the Georgia Prophets, that are known in Northern Soul circles for the classic " I Got The Fever". Even if he was white, his voice was very deep as testified by this intense interpretation.
don't go away

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Round Robin Monopoly: I'd Rather Loan You Out/People Do Change (Truth)

Round Robin Monopoly was the band of Robin Lloyd (Round Robin). He was a Los Angeles-based singer who got his start in the early 60’s. This album was produced by Willie Hall, who played drums with The Bar-Kays and Isaac Hayes, and contains a couple of excellent soul tracks ("I'd Rather Loan.." was issued as a single too).
I'd rather loan you out
people do change

Black Nasty: It Must Be Love/I Have No Choice (Enterprise)

Produced and arranged by Johnnie Mae Matthews and Sir Mack Rice, two Detroit soul legends, the album "Talking To The People" was issued in 1973 by the mighty Stax Records and is a good mix of funk and soul. The version of "I Have No Choice" is absolutely brilliant!
it must be love
I have no choice

Floyd Beck: Show Me/For You (Timeless)

This the rarest of the two singles Floyd had on this tiny independent label. Floyd grew up in the Hill District of Pittsburgh and wanted to emulate George Benson, who was a bit older than him. During his career he left Philadelphia and moved to Florida. Unfortunately Rev. Floyd Beck passed away on September 2005.
show me
for you

The Perfections: Can This Be Real/Till I Get Home (Calgar)

An outstanding double sider that deserves much more attention than it has had till now. The official A side is a soulful stepper while the flip is a rousing dancer with falsetto vocals. The latter was included in one of Goldmine Soul Supply's Modern Soul CDs.
can this be real
till I get home

J. Jocko: I'm Gettin' Over (Kama Sutra)

Taken from the album "That's The Song" (looking at the terrible cover you would never guess it contains something of interest for the soul boys!), this is a great piece of modern soul, with an uplifting crescendo. The single version is shorter and the mix is slightly different. Vocalist and drummer Jocko Marcellino was one of the founder of rock and roll group Sha Na Na.
I'm gettin' over