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Covered with Soul Vol. 5

January 20th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The fifth instalment in the Covered With Soul series departs from the custom of the previous four which featured mostly covers of non-soul originals. This mix consists of soul covers of soul songs.

One would imagine that soul covers of soul songs would be more frequent than those of non-soul tracks in the genre”s repertoire of the late 1960s and “70s, but I”ve found that this is not necessarily so, at least not as far as reasonably well-known tracks are concerned, and if one ignores the Motown custom of its roster all recording the same songs.

Two song titles included here will at first sight seem unfamiliar: The Rance Allen Group“s Just My Salvation reworks The Temptation”s Just My Imagination, giving it a gospel spin. Change Of Pace change their relationship with the soldiers in Vietnam from that in Freda Payne”s Bring The Boys Home. The buddies of the Change Of Pace title are depicted on the cover of the album, though the rest of the LP is standard soul fare, including a Christmas song I neglected to include on the soul Christmas mixes.

David Ruffin“s version of I Want You Back appeared on an album that was completed in 1971 but remained unreleased until 2004, because Motown saw no commercial promise in it. It”s a pity, because it”s a fine album. Don”t feel too sorry for the former Temptations man; he was not a great man ““ but what a singer!

One performer on this set also provides the original for a song covered here.  The wonderful Marlena Shaw covers Roberta Flack”s Feel Like Makin” Love and provided the original for California Soul, covered here by Brenda & the Tabulations.

Mike James Kirkland is not very well known, though his song Hang On In There (from the same album as Baby I Need Your Loving) was covered last year by John Legend and The Roots. The marvellous Lyn Collins, former backing singer for James Brown, also deserves to be better known. She sang my favourite version of Don”t Make Me Over (featured here in a cover by the likewise superb Barbara Jean English), which featured on my Bacharach mix a couple of years ago.

Philly Soul singer Barbara Mason specialised in cheating songs, and with her cover of Billy Paul”s Me And Mrs Jones she takes on one of the greatest songs of that kind. Billy”s version is unclear whether the two people actually consummate their love; in her eight-minute version Mason ends up coming face-to-face with Mrs Jones (not the one Billy met with; the wife of her Mr Jones), and we learn that she and Mr Jones did have sex, including the intimate noises Mr Jones makes!

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R.

1. David Ruffin – I Want You Back (1971)
2. Mike James Kirkland – Baby I Need Your Loving (1972)
3. Ronnie Dyson – Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely (1973)
4. Betty Wright – Ain’t No Sunshine (1972)
5. Dee Dee Sharp Gamble – Ooh Child (1977)
6. Lyn Collins – Never Gonna Give You Up (1972)
7. Rotary Connection – Respect (1969)
8. Change Of Pace – Bring My Buddies Back (1971)
9. The Rance Allen Group – Just My Salvation (1970)
10. Ernie Hines – A Change Is Gonna Come (1972)
11. Hank Ballard – Slip Away (1969)
12. The Delfonics – A Lover’s Concerto (1968)
13. Brenda & the Tabulations – California Soul (1970)
14. Marlena Shaw – Feel Like Makin’ Love (1975)
15. Sidney Joe Qualls – If You Don’t Know Me By Now (1974)
16. Barbara Mason – Me & Mr. Jones (1973)
17. Maxine Nightingale – Reasons (1975)
18. The Soul Children – Signed, Sealed, Delivered (1978)
19. Zulema – Wanna Be Where You Are (1972)
20. Barbara Jean English – Don’t Make Me Over (1972)
21. Jean Wells – I’ll Drown In My Own Tears (1968)
22. Blossoms – Grandma’s Hands (1972)


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  1. January 20th, 2011 at 01:30 | #1

    Thanks! I heard the Ruffin cover a few months ago and loved it but had no idea where to go looking.

  2. W
    January 21st, 2011 at 19:42 | #2

    Another nice mix! W.

  3. James
    January 23rd, 2011 at 15:15 | #3

    Holy sh – wow, that Rotary Connection cover is incredible.

    Regarding Dee Dee Sharp Gamble’s cover, I don’t mean to disrespect your mix, which I love, but listening to her cover, I can hear why the 5 Stairsteps original was a hit, and hers wasn’t. There just a one-in-a-million dose of magic in the Staristeps’ version that hers doesn’t have, as good as it is.

  4. halfhearteddude
    January 24th, 2011 at 08:09 | #4

    Yeah, the Rotary Connection really rework that song.

    I don’t think all covers in this series are superior to their originals; most probably aren’t. The Five Stairsteps’ Ooh Child is perfect in every way, as you rightly say, but I thought Dee Dee Sharp’s cover was sufficiently different to be of interest.

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